It was the last session of the 2012 summer, and all of the guides were excited, sad, and extremely
exhausted. My co-guide looks at me and says, “Let’s go to Lake of the Bays!”
Naturally, I thought he was kidding. “Yeah… okay,” I replied sarcastically.
“No, I’m serious. Let’s do it!” he replied.
I turned to look at him and saw a glint in his eye that meant he was determined. When I realized
that he would fight to the death for this trip, my stomach clenched and my jaw dropped. All I
could get out was the question, “Why?”
He replied simply, “Why not?”
For those unsure of where Lake of the Bays is located, it is in the middle of the Aulneau
And so began the craziest, most difficult trip I have ever taken. On our first day alone we faced
“hurricane-like” winds, a broken paddle, and a swamped canoe… all within sight of Base Camp.
Once we were saved by Sue and the Hewey, we changed courses… and were once again faced
with “hurricane-like” winds. About a mile from camp, we were forced to wait on a nearby
beach. Coincidentally, half the other trips were trapped there as well.
That was not the most exciting part of the trip for me. Nor were the endless hours (literally) of
bush-whacking our way through the Aulneau Peninsula, or portaging over a waterfall, or
dragging our canoes through a bog and over beaver dams – one of which was taller than me. The
most exciting part wasn’t even when we made it to Lake of the Bays (which ended up not really
being a lake at all because it was so dry that year). No, the most exciting part was night paddling
across Deepwater Bay.
It was the perfect night to paddle. Not a cloud in the sky, and just a slight breeze. The water was
so calm we could see the stars reflected on the surface. I almost felt we were being intrusive in
such a calm and quiet place, so I tried to paddle as softly as possible. As calm as it was, I was
nervous about navigating across a giant bay in the middle of the night. Luckily, my brilliant coguide
kept a cool head, and lead the way.
Hardly anyone spoke; for some reason, even a whisper seemed obnoxiously loud. I had never
before, and have not since, experienced anything so peaceful.
by Erin Woitte, former Camper and Guide