Return to Wolf Lake    The beautiful light surrounding campsite 301 on Wolf Lake in the Kawartha Highlands beckoned us to return only two years after our first visit. For maps and more details about this location visit the  2012 - Wolf Lake  album We left early Monday morning. After a four hour trip, including a half hour breakfast stop at the Fifth Wheel, we arrived at Wolf Lake at 10:15 a.m. The sunshine was encouraging. First load    Forty minutes later we were ready to set out with our first load. Including the three half hour paddles (there, back for a second load, and there again) we needed three hours for transport. By the time of our first supper at 6:45 we had everything set up and had been for a few refreshing swims. A toast to our return to Wolf Lake. At 8:30 on this Monday - our first day - we crossed over the peninsula to catch the last light of the sun. It feels good to be at peace in this beautiful, familiar place.
Looking to the subtle sunset By quarter to six the next morning (Tuesday - Canada Day), the sun was back and I was up - alone as usual - to enjoy it and to capture it with my new wide angle lens adapter. By 8:30 the bacon and eggs were going strong and the sun was growing weak. The lily pad, right below our campsite, glistens in the diffused sunlight. A mid-morning drizzle gathers light and deepens the colours of a host of natural textures. Just before this picture, I enjoyed the experience of swimming in the rain and seeing the rain-drops bouncing off the water, up close, all around me. Positive ID    After a lazy afternoon of swimming, reading and napping we are joined for supper by a butterfly. We saw very little wildlife during our stay: a few loons, one heron, chipmunks, seagulls, a large turtle and this butterfly. After submitting this photo to sightings@butterfliesandmoths.org I got back a positive ID: Limenitis arthemis arthemis - White Admiral (a species of North American brush-footed butterfly, common throughout much of the eastern North America).
Time-lapse    In the evening hours I do my first wilderness time-lapse photographs. This set, taken over eight minutes, is stacked to show the trail of clouds, building up the lightest elements of fifty photographs. This is the same set stacked to build on darkest elements. Tuesday evening the food is hoisted again and Wendy stands underneath to confirm 'bear-proofness'. The red box is a Canadian Tire pop cooler with rigid sides. The orange dry bag is stuffed with miscellaneous, small food coolers. This is my first ever attempt at reeving a double-luff tackle. This block and tackle have been lying around our house unused for fifteen years since we discovered it on buying the house from the offspring of Great Lakes ship Captain Les Bird. Without this tackle, getting the bag up requires one person to lift it overhead, and another to take up the slack in the rope. 'RT' (on the bag) is for Rudy Tismer, the lifelong camper from who gave us much of his camping gear. This is a good view of the food hoist from the trail to the loo and of the dining tent set nicely back in the shade. Our Canada Day ended on the small clearing looking out over the end of the lake and of the setting sun.  Wendy engages the breezer, the book and the dragonfly.
With every sunset comes deepening shadows. On our second day, somewhat rested, we stayed up long enough to enjoy a campfire. Our first few days were  plenty warm enough, even into the evenings, so the fire was strictly for the romance. Time stack    Early Wednesday morning I did another time-lapse, 60 photos over 30 minutes. These are stacked to highlight the sun-lit moving clouds. Time Stack    This stack, from the same time-lapse, builds up the darkest areas, including three snaps of me canoeing through the scene. Early Wednesday morning was calm and sunny for a while. From a canoe, shorelines like this give me more than double the pleasure. As the sun rose further, the clouds came into play.
Clouds were scuttling through the sky all day long. Wendy slept till 8:30, so our breakfast got pushed back to 10:00. Our 5 gallon water box was more than adequate for the four days of drinking and cooking. Washing was done with lake water. We had water purifiers just in case. After breakfast, Henry amuses himself making bubbles. With a late breakfast, coffee time got pushed towards noon. What a life! Coffe 'take out' on the canoe Another refreshing swim. The first few days we were in the water every few hours. We had been worried, after last winter's polar vortex, that the water would be too cold, but it was quite comfortable.
This big rock, submerged in about two feet of water, was our pivot point for getting in and out. Without it, we would have been hard pressed to keep from slipping on the steep incline rising relentlessly and too smoothly from deep to summit. Splash    Wendy makes a splash wherever she goes. A late afternoon jaunt with the canoe was interrupted by distant thunderstorms. We hurried back just in time to avoid the rainfall. We heard a lot of distant thunder this trip. It never came close. After being dissuaded from swimming again in the rain, Henry heads out, under cover, with his camera. I wish now that I'd found some way to get the camera level with the water to photograph the rain drops bouncing off the water's surface. Our much scuffed canoe looks best wet. After the rain, it's still warm and light, so Wendy swims while Henry clicks away.
This lovely stand of white flowers has flourished on the side of a large rock face. Without wind and sun to dry them up, the rain droplets hang around for a while. The umbrella, set out to dry, caught my eye because of its counterpoint to the blue sky. Supper is coming, but first we have coffee. A fishing boat zoomed into our inlet in the early evening and puttered around a while looking for success but failing. I never have that trouble. Dining out, in style    I suppose 7:00 is a civilized time for supper, even in the wild.
After setting up his camera for an hour long time-lapse photo shoot, Henry is forced to read. Note the small dry bag filled with rocks that serves as a tripod counterweight. Time-lapse video    This YouTube video is a 35 second compilation of the three timelapse sequences I did that week, the longest part being the last, this hour long sunset. Time stack    The one hour (240 shots) time-lapse of the setting sun has a great variety of cloud formations. Various selections from this series yield totally different results when stacked. Time stack    This is my favourite stack from the time-lapse so far. Search for time stack in google for a wealth of images. Thursday morning dawned without the sun, and the thick blanket of clouds hovered over head for the whole day. I've discovered that this first-time ploy to support the center point of a cheap dining tent is well worth the trouble. It adds stability in the wind, keeps the roof from puddling in the rain and makes take-down a breeze.
A morning view of our campsite. This is more spacious than anything we've ever had. Coffeescape    An appreciation for the rich colours and texture of steeped coffee leads to a better brew, simply by keeping the maker (me) close at hand to watch. We take our morning coffee to the other side for a change of view. Rain adds so much richness to a landscape, even without the sun to light it. The day was warm, but our swimming shore by the big rock in the water remained unused until just before bedtime, when the need for clean trumped the day's decline in desire. The growth of various grasses, mosses and lichens on the rocks and in the cracks is fascinating to me.
Henry looks for light breaking into darkness. A vein of quartz runs through this granite rock. Getting around on this rock takes sure feet and good soles. First light on Friday morning (our last day) at 5:15 lends a lovely tint to the horizon and livens up the puddles left on the rock by yesterday's rain. The clear sky looks promising. Our bay is still gloomy under the lightening sky. The first rays of the sun find their mark on the dark landscape and its brooding mist.
Before long (by 6:00) the sun has reached in to kiss most of the shoreline. Big lake, little lakes    The sun finally breaks over the tree line to skim the rock at my feet. At 6:15 the sun reaches our tent and I am resolved to wake Wendy. Wendy takes up residence on the rock, while I paddle out into the light. A royal stance    Wendy poses for me on the rock, but at this early hour still finds the need to supplement the sun with her zip-up blanket. After finishing with the canoe, I joined Wendy on the rock to sit awhile.
Peace    My wife has the most beautiful face, especially when it's relaxed by the warmth of the sun and by a peaceful state of mind. The sun grows stronger in a cloudless sky, pictured by Wendy Henry prepares one last pot of coffee. With lawn chairs already gone, we find a rock ledge to sit on and drink. Book Burning    The firewood needs to be finished and we use the opportunity to initiate our very first book burning. Wendy was forced to finish this book for lack of an alternative, but found it be so boring and poorly written that she could not see keeping it or passing it on. And this from a connoisseur of British mystery novels. For the google record: "The Crow Trap", by Ann Cleeves For our last breakfast we are reduced to freeze dried eggs and ham and the remains of our bread.
We take leave of our site at 10:45 and head back up the lake to the parking lot, packed high again with baggage. Voyageurs    On our return tripped we stopped at the Canoe Museum in Peterborough, and confirmed that the canoe is indeed a beast of burden, not firstly of pleasure. Canoe Museum    But there is no doubt that we and many others, like Farley Mowat who used this sail canoe throughout his life, take great pleasure in our crafts.