A Trip to the East Coast

A Long Drive for a Small Boat

May, 2011

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Ouch! These images are way oversharpened, I now realize because my script for generating them is based on starting with raw images and these were jpeg files from my old Nikon D80 which were already sharpened in the camera. I'm not going to take the time to redo them; just fuzz up your eyeballs a bit.

Dona's back has been giving her trouble for a long time, and it is difficult and painful for her to paddle a canoe. But she likes rowing, so we decided to buy or make some kind of rowable boat we could take some trips in. We spent a lot of time checking out boats and boat designs, but finally decided what fit our desires best was a Vermont Fishing Dory. As it turns out, Dona's brother Bob, who lives in New Hampshire, had bought one a few years earlier, and we had tried it out briefly when we were visiting them a few years earlier.

My thought originally was that we would build whatever boat we decided to get, but after some reflection I figured we would be too old to use the dang thing by the time we got it built, and if we wanted to actually use the boat, we had better buy it. We wanted to use it this year, and unfortunately the folks from Adirondak Guide Boats weren't going to be out our way any time soon. It was also the year of my 45th college reunion, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and drive east, see the Canadian coast along the great lakes, visit Bob and Ann in New Hampshire, pick up the boat, and search out my Grandpa Aitken's fishing camp on Partridge Lake in Ontario.

We loaded up the car and headed east on highway 200.

Just traveling through eastern Montana and North Dakota was a surprise. It was spring, and this was a year of big runoff. We ran into six inches of snow late at night someplace in eastern Montana, and the cheap motel we stopped at was barely above water. The next morning as we continued on, there were places where the only thing above water was the highway and the railroad tracks. Wow! I kept thinking how if you lived in this area, there was no place you could head to in order to avoid being flooded. Everything was under water. I've always lived in places where there was a lot of relief, at least once we left Kansas when I was eight or so.

We had some good camping in northern Michigan, then crossed into Canada at Sault Ste Marie. That was sort of comical in itself, as the Canadians separated us from the car and searched everything. They wanted to know why Dona had a lighter in her purse if she didn't smoke (we were camping, duh); they wanted to know all sorts of irrelevant stuff. They brought out some dogs to give the car the once over. I guess everyone with a beard is an old hippie who can't give up the habit.

Once we were done with that indignity we could sit back and enjoy the scenery. We took a leisurely pace around the north shore of Lake Huron, with a detour south to spend the night and do some short hiking at Killarney Provincial Park.

We decided to hike up to "The Crack," a big crack in the precambrian rock that covers this part of the world. It was really cool!

Killarney Crack Hike Woodpecker Tree Killarney Crack Dona Max
Woodpecker Tree on the Way Up Looking up to Killarney Crack
Killarney Crack Killarney Crack Killarney Crack Killarney Crack
Killarney Crack
Killarney Crack Hike panorama
View from above the Crack in Killarney Provincial Park

Killarney Crack Hike Dona Max Killarney Crack Hike Dona Max
Dona and Max

Killarney Crack Dona Max Killarney Crack Dona Gary Max
Dona and Max The Whole Crew

Killarney Crack Dona Gary Max Killarney Crack Dona Gary Max
Dona, Gary and Max Dona, Gary and Max

Killarney Crack Dona Gary Max
Dona, Gary and Max above Killarney Crack

Killarney Crack Hike Killarney Crack
Heading Back Down Killarney Crack
Killarney Crack Hike Dona Cairn Killarney Crack Hike Dona Max
A Dona Sized Cairn It's kinda flat except for what's left of this uplift ...

Killarney Crack Hike Killarney Crack Hike
Nice Lake along the Way Killarney Crack Hike

There were some great birch groves along the way, and we thought we should educate our grandkids a bit so we found a piece of birchbark and sent them a note on it.

Killarney Crack Hike Dona Bridge Killarney Birch Grove Killarney Birchbark
Bridge at the Lake Outlet Birch Grove Birchbark

Killarney Camp George Lake 1
From Camp at George Lake

Killarney Camp George Lake Killarney Geese
George Lake Geese on George Lake

Then we headed on east towards Union College, for my 45th reunion.