Keji’s Backcountry Beauty: A Photo Essay

by Brad Donaldson

gear

Some, but not all, of my gear for the three-day trip. Items pictured here: water filter and bottle, dehydrated food, eating utensil, bug net, tent, tarp, headlamp, sleeping pad and bag, butt pad, camera (and lenses), extra camera battery, tripod, waterproof camera case, and extra clothing.

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Our vehicle (a Dodge Journey) packed and ready for the drive from Halifax to Keji.

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Receiving some tips on the backcountry.

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Keji Outfitters, where we rented our canoes.

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20-plus km winds made it tough for pictures on Kejimkujik Lake. I was finally able to bring out the camera when we found some shelter between Little Muise and Big Muise Islands.

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Staying at site 34 our first night, we had four portages to complete to get there. Our list of portages started here, at ‘A’, directly beside site 24.

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Our portaging system was rough at the beginning. At first, we tried to split everything up, with two people trying to individually carry a canoe, and the other two people taking packs. It wasn’t until day two that we realized it was much more efficient (and a lot less painful) to add two people to a canoe and just make two trips.

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Out on the other side of portage ‘A’ and back on the water.

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Although our first day was filled with challenges, it wasn’t hard to lose the sense of frustration and be reminded of the reason we had come: the beauty of it all.

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With the temperature being in the mid-twenties all weekend, filling up our water bottles was a constant.

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Site 34, on the shore of Peskowesk Lake.

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Some colour in the sky.

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The park was close to having to call a fire ban, but we lucked out and were able to make our meals over an open flame.

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Where breakfast began. All backcountry sites are home to a pulley system to hang food overnight.

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After breakfast, we had a short paddle to portage ‘F’, which brought us up to Mountain Lake, not far from where we would be staying that night at site 27.

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Some visuals of portage ‘F’.

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Full discloser of site 27: we actually thought we had booked site 26, and set up there first, only to be informed of our mistake by a couple who have been coming to the park every summer for fifteen years. So this was setup number two of the day.

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After setting up for the second time, it was nice to be able to cool off in the lake.

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The difference of about ten hours. The water was so peacefully still. During the dark hours of night, we could actually see the star’s reflection on the water.

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Breakfast.

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We woke up early on our last day with the notion of a long travel day ahead of us. Here, we’re almost packed and ready to make our way out.

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Still on the park’s smaller lakes (Puzzle Lake in these particular pictures), the wind was nonexistent and created a glass-like scene to paddle through.

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Arriving at our last portage of the trip.

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After three days of cloudless weather, the sky turned grey as we neared our return point.

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Back at Jake’s Landing, tired, sore, and hungry. The meal that followed was a good one.

Thanks for an incredible weekend, Keji.

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