2011 Trip 4: Paddle makes it good...

Lake Opinicon - June 2011

First trip this year with the kayaks. Pulled them out from under the deck Wed night and loaded them up. A little dirty from being under the deck all winter, but we will take care of that this weekend. We find the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is indeed magic. Always thought there was something super toxic in those things to allow them to clean the way they do, but in fact, that assumption is a myth. A little Googling discovered that they are actually a super fine micro pore abrasive. Literally scrapes the dirt off things. On a smooth kayak surface, they work wonders. Sorry, I digress...

Friday night traffic is light. Snacked on our sandwiches, a new routine we have we can just concentrate on getting set up when we arrive, rather than doing it while we are starving for dinner.
Lake Opinicon is part of the Rideau system, about 2 hours south of Ottawa. We have kayaked this lake before, on a rain soaked adventure many years ago. Staying at a private campground called Skycroft.  From the photos on their web site, our site seems to be up high, and overlooking the lake. Sure enough, the site is just as it was in the photos. Site is a little sloped, so it always takes a little longer to find the right spot and get the Alto leveled.

the view from inside...
Based on our experience at Murphy's Point, we are going to pick up a set of those Lynx Levelers. Basically a pack of 10 square plastic lego like pieces that fit together. You put together the number of pieces to build up to the height you need, and they become a ramp for the wheel to drive up. Simple. They of course can be used anywhere, wheels or jacks or even picnic tables. Much easier than driving up on the pieces of composite wood we use now. Just another example of how experience with these issues just seems to evolve.

Got settled in then walked around the place to explore. The vast majority here are seasonals, but the place looks well maintained and the beach, although small, looks well set up. Looking forward to a paddle tomorrow. Cooling off nicely, which will make for a nice sleep. As one side of the Alto faces the lake, with nothing but trees in front of us, we can keep that side glass wide open, which is awesome for letting in the moonlight.  As I was sleeping, I got the sense of a bright light being shone in my eyes...and when I opened them, it was the full moon.  it was shining straight through the trees and into the Alto. It was very much like daylight. Very cool.

Slept in late, well 9:00 is late for us. Feels good to catch up on a few extra hours. Poked around in the morning, then got organized for a paddle. Put the kayaks in at the boat launch, then headed out towards Chaffey's Locks and The Opinicon, a classic old time resort near the locks. Lots of scraggy shoreline and little islands. Weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and little wind. Not crazy hot either. Almost made it to the locks, but decided to head back when we rounded a point, and although we could see the locks and the lodge, it was still quite a hike away. We pulled up to a little island, had a quick dip, then headed back. The paddle felt great...almost effortless, as we just meandered along.

out of the sun for a moment, under some cedars...
A fair number of cottages on the lake, but surprisingly few show any sign of life. One has to wonder why this is, on a beautiful weekend in June. Are the owners no longer with us? Do the kids have no interest? It can be a small step between a maintained cottage and one on a serious downhill slide. This area has an abundance of dense foliage. Everything is lush and green, which is nice, but it also means that you have to keep beating it back from the cottage. The other thing very evident is the overwhelming amount of plant life in the lake. Tons of it. Most right up to the surface. Apparently this is a shallow lake, which probably allows the sunlight to penetrate deep enough to foster this excessive growth. Some of it is just plain icky...huge clouds of bright green algae, just floating there...certainly not conducive to the thoughts of a nice cool refreshing swim.

Got back to the campground, stopped at a small little island and pulled out the magic erasers. Got the kayaks all cleaned up. Those eraser things are amazing. Loaded the boats back up on the Santa Fe and headed back to the site. We both had a shower, Dale using the Alto's outdoor shower, while I walked down to the comfort station. Always nice to wash off the smear of sunblock.

Dinner this evening is shish kabobs on the Q. Simply awesome. Served on a bed of rice we made up before we headed out. Of course, the pre-dinner drink is always a G&T!
Another stellar day shaping up this morning. A little cooler this past night, our trusty temperature gauge tells us a low of 58F. Warming up nicely though. Decided to forego a second paddle and just walk down to the beach for a swim. The beach is nice, but it feels a little silty on the bottom. Not as bad as at the cottage, but close.  Swam (noodled) out to one of the 2 floating docks and just relaxed for a bit, then headed back in. Back at the site, I used the water availability to give the Santa Fe and the Alto a quick wash, nothing serious, just a dust removal. Slowly got things buttoned down for the road, hitched up, and headed out around 2:00.

We spied a chip stand on the way here, and thought we would stop for a bite. A place called Jeannie's, right at Crosby. The fries were excellent, almost on a par with Wes's, which is my gold standard. Dale had a BLT wrap which she said was also quite fine.

                                                           waiting for us to finish our fries...

 In Smith's Falls we stopped at an RV place, where Dale found a cool little folding aluminum side table, just the right size for a couple of G&T's. The staff found the Alto quite intriguing, so we gave them a quick tour. They had not seen anything like it before, which was odd, considering the business they work for. Overall, a great weekend...weather was perfect, site was good and the paddle was fabulous!


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