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Hic est September, to paraphrase my poorly retained high school Latin.
In the Yukon, September is fall. Let’s face it, fall starts in August with the change in light, the turning of the leaves, and the descent into cooler, wetter weather.
I grew up on the east coast, where fall was a riot of multicoloured leaves and cool evenings but warm days through into October. I remember walking the Clyburn valley one late October weekend with the temperatures above 28°C.
That extreme a temperature is not going to be found here. By September, we tend to be rainy and cooler. Currently, it’s trying rather hard to rain and 10°C.
This time of year is a reminder that those chores that need good weather are needing to be done soon. Any painting, siding, etc., that you’ve put off should be moved up the to do list rather soon. I will not be going this weekend for Labour Day, since I wouldn’t get a site this late and I have things to do that a long weekend allow me to approach with plenty of time, and according to the forecast, plenty of good weather.
However, I do have a fondness of fall camping. Actually, it’s a fondness for fall lake trout fishing with camping thrown in to season the adventure. It’s rather nice to go a lake close to home and commute this time of year. It’s still relatively light to make early morning drives a lot safer and there are campgrounds within a one-hour commute from home.I have a friend who, along with her husband, doesn’t even start camping until the Thanksgiving Day weekend in October. I’m considering extending my season until the end of October if possible this year, myself. And, with that in mind, I probably won’t miss summer that badly.
So, all things being equal, I’ll probably be out camping the weekend coming after this one. After all, there is wine needing to be consumed around a campfire, marshmallows needing roasting, and fish needing to be caught and fried up. Keep that in mind, since we do like company…
We came out after 5 PM and it was a nice drive. Clara sat on the passenger seat with Furball on her lap as a bit if an experiment to see if he found the trip better that way. Darcy had her seat belt harness on in the back seat. All went reasonably well until the halfway mark when Furball left Clara, headed into the back seat, made a few mournful meows and promptly up chucked.
It took a few minutes on the side of the road to clean up and the poor little guy was pretty clingy at that point. He spent most of the rest of the drive on the console between the driver and passenger seat with his head on my lap. By the time we reached the campground, he seemed much better.
This was a first. He’s normally a road warrior, although he does meow quite a bit on the way. That being said, he normally is rather talkative, since he has a fair bit of Maine Coon in him and they can be rather vocal. I suspect that being on Clara’s lap and being exposed to all of the scenery may have been a bit overwhelming.
We got to the campground and got set up quickly. There were a few things to get done that I hadn’t been able to do at home. We barbecued a quick dinner and settled down for bed at a relatively early hour. First, though, I introduced Clara to the game of Yahtzee. I beat her rather soundly in a few games before we went to bed.
The weather was overcast and it rained a bit. I opted not to set the alarm in hopes of catching some of the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. I’m hoping for better conditions tomorrow night.
Today could be summed up in one word: windy. It was far too rough to take the boat out, so we did a few things around the campsite. We read and I took the cats for a walk on their leads. We barbecued dinner. All told, a rather relaxing day.
I did stay overcast again so there wasn’t much hope of seeing meteors. However, it did get up to 23° so it was shorts weather. I’m not going to complain too loudly. There have been many years where I would have put my shorts away for the year by this point so it’s not that bad a thing.
Before going to bed, we discovered that Clara’s skills at Yahtzee have vastly improved and she won the majority of games from today.
I didn’t sleep well last night, so when 7 AM came around, and it was dead calm, I opted to go back to bed. By 11 AM, it was rather windy.
I did head out with the boat but really only made it as far as the second campground which is still partially sheltered. I trolled in front of it and the first campground loop for two passes, but there were very few fish on the fish finder. The ones I saw were all on the bottom, probably not feeding. I’ll try again after supper if the wind has dropped a bit.
Other than that, we spent the day reading and I took the cats out on their leads. Furball managed get under the motorhome and wrap himself around three struts and brackets before becoming completely stuck. Fortunately, there is enough ground clearance to rescue him easily enough.
I cooked dinner in the motorhome stove rather than barbecuing. It made for a nice dinner and a nice change. The wind did not drop off any over the rest of the day. In fact, it blew a bit harder by early evening. I’m going to have to set the alarm to try for about 6 AM and see if I can get down the lake a bit.
We played five games of Yahtzee. I only won the first one.
Today started with the wind. Over the course of the evening, Darcy became fixated on a moth on the window screen and tried to go out the screen after it. This involved jumping on me in the process. It took over an hour to calm her down and it was 3 hours before I got to sleep. Yes, I set the alarm for early fishing. No, that didn’t happen.
Because of the weather, we hung around the campsite. Much Yahtzee ensued, with Clara whomping me in some horrible example of how wedded bliss is not supposed to work.
That being said, Clara suggested the improbable game of sequential Yahtzee, where you get the required matches in order. I clobbered here, including getting Yahtzee in the allotted roll. Try this sometime. It’s a riot.
By after dinner, the wind had died down in front of the campsite, so I did go out for an hour to try fishing at the point and in front of the first campground. I had a nibble but that was all. I am jinxed this year. It has been almost three years since I caught a fish in Kusawa Lake, where I have almost always been successful.
After fishing, I did put some of the campsite away. I figure that that will let me get away a little earlier, since it is Mom’s birthday and I would like to get home at a reasonable hour to call her.
By 10:15, it was starting to actually get dark. There are some clear patches so we may see a meteor or two before all is said and done. I think it’s been too cloudy to see the Persieds here for four or five years.
No meteors. We get up and headed back. Furball was fine. Darcy rode willingly in her crate along the Kusawa Lake Road. In fact, she walked into it herself. When we got to the Takhini Burn rest area, I let her out and she got into her normal favourite spot on the dash. There she rode like a little sphinx. However, I did learn something just outside of town. Rain landing on the windshield you’re resting against is apparently rather disturbing to little cats…
I finally got to building new leveling blocks for the motorhome. I opted for low-tech, and built them from lumber.
I used three levels, rather than the four I was originally considering, each 6 inches longer than the other. I also used preserved wood, although it’s a bit more than is needed since my blocks tend to break long before they rot.
I went with three levels each, since the highest number of blocks I’ve needed was three. Also, if I was to need more, I could place a single block under the new ones.
Also, to keep me from rolling off unnecessarily, I added the 6″ pieces I was going to use as the top level on the end as a stop. You should feel hitting these if you go too far.
So, with the cut ends treated, here is the finished product. Next week, I get to find out how well the work…
T’was on the marge of Lake Laberge
I cremated Sam McGee.
– Robert Service
I had hoped to have far more done before leaving this morning; however, that did not materialize as it should. For example, there was a bit more cleaning in the house to do before leaving, but I was worried about getting a site. Lake Laberge is a small campground, and many of the sites are not suitable for anything other than a car and tent. There are really only 16 sites at the campground and it is close to town and supposedly rather popular.
I did say supposedly. After all, Clara and I have never camped here before. And, for the first two evenings, it will only be me camping here. Clara is going to a funeral on Friday so probably won’t be coming out until then.
I did find lots of open sites, with the first grouping of campsites open other than one site. I found one after a couple of tries, since the first two I did try made leveling a bit of a chore. I still need to develop some better system for leveling the camper. It’s 25 feet in length, which means it doesn’t take too much of a slope to require quite a few blocks under the wheels.
We chose Lake Laberge since friends were also going there. It’s a rather easy commute to town, about 35 km from our house. One person was working in the daytime so the commute time was an issue.
There are a few things I don’t like about the campground. Sites here are rather small, and I had a choice of leveling the motorhome or putting my awning out fully (see the campsite picture above). I did put it out partially. My other issue is that some of the access roads are quite narrow and sites were harder than usual to back into. The campground was obviously designed for tent camping.
My other big peeve is that there is no wharf for tying up your boat. I have an inflatable and since the lake can blow up quite well, I don’t like it crashing on the shore when it’s just tied up on the beach. The beaches here are quite rocky to add to the problem. The alternative is to launch it every time you want to go fishing and then reload it onto the trailer when you’re done. This would involve breaking down camp since all I have with me is the camper.
However, with the small sites and the small number of places to camp, even though the campground is quite close to town, it should work out to be rather quiet. We’ll see how the weekend progresses.
Weather wise, as I mentioned, today was rather windy. There was no consideration of going fishing.There were whitecaps on the lake and it seemed to have enough energy built up that it wasn’t going to flatten out this evening. The temperature got up to 20° C, so it was pleasant though. And, while the sun came out again after supper, there was light rain in the afternoon.
It was a quiet night, despite the wind. That did die down over the course of the evening. I woke, and made a rather nice breakfast.
The wind blew up again, and was even stronger than yesterday. Around 11 AM, I put the awning back up because I was a little worried about the possibility it may get damaged. I would like to replace the fabric at some point, but not until I have to.
Camping at Laberge has reminded me that I have camped in a fair number of the Yukon Government campgrounds. I did get involved in a “How many campgrounds have you camped at?” thing a few years ago on Twitter. I think I really should review the list again:
- Lake Laberge
- Kusawa Lake
- Fox Lake
- Twin Lakes (first place we camped with the old tent trailer)
- Quiet Lake South
- Yukon River, Dawson (first place Clara and I ever camped together)
- Klondike River (working an archaeology contract)
- Lake Creek (coming back from Homer, AK)
- Watson Lake (easy one to remember since I almost broke my hip when the picnic table collapsed on me)
- Tagish Lake (before it was transferred to the First Nation)
- Wolf Creek
- Squanga Lake
- Snafu Lake
- Kathleen Lake
- Lapie Canyon (another archaeology project)
- Pine Lake
- Tatchun Creek
I should add one or two more, since, if the weather holds like it has the last three years, an October trip to the Takhini River campground sounds like a decent plan. While we’ve passed it numerous times, and stopped to use the bathrooms on the way to Kusawa Lake, we’ve never stayed there. I had wanted to get to Drury Creek campground this year, but the timing never worked out. Marsh Lake is quite close, and we’ve never camped there either. The boat launch is a bit far from the campground, but something may work out.
I went for a walk, about 2.3 km. This was to completely walk around the campground, including the suspicious campsite number 8. This is a nice site, near the boat launch. However, there was a black truck and camper there the other day, although they did leave Wednesday morning. When they left, they seemingly abandoned a Suzuki quad on their campsite. I walked up the Deep Creek Rd. as far as the bakery. I didn’t take my wallet, although I have more than enough baked goods in the camper as is and buying fresh bread to freeze it when you don’t have to makes little sense to me.
It started to warm up a bit during my walk. I’m glad for the wind, since the breeze made it seem a bit cooler. I was breaking a bit of a sweat when I got back to the camper, in spite of the wind.
After supper, I dropped in on our friends and after a bit, the wind did die down enough to try fishing. It was still a bit bumpy, although we kept to the leeward side of the lake. However, as the evening went on, it became obvious the wind and the lake were going to die off a bit. Neither of us had any luck, even though we trolled for a while and then tried or hand at casting for pike. However, we shall see what tomorrow offers, since it looks like the weather will turn nice tomorrow morning,
I woke about 9, when friends came over to visit. We followed that with another round of fishing, this time heading north around Richthofen Island. Fishing was not the most stunning. We did see some on the fish finder but they weren’t biting.
The lake was rough, but there wasn’t any wind. There was still a lot of built up wave energy from the wind the days before. We thought we might try across the lake, on the lee shore, but gave that idea up shortly after starting out. Instead, we decided to try the lee behind the island. On the north point, it was rather sheltered. We fished there for four hours but, as mentioned, had no luck,
Once we came out of the lee, we realised it was somewhat windy and had to deal with up to 3 foot waves on the way back. It was slow, and getting the boat onto the trailer was tricky, but nothing too much to manage.
A quick note on the rest of my weekend. When we were on the lake, between the shore and the island, I could get a bit of cell service and got a text from my Katrina that Clara would not be coming out tonight. I guess I’m on my own, and am now trying to decide if I’ll stay out tomorrow night or come back to town. Hmm. There are advantages to going back, but this is the last weekend of my vacation and I really should be catching fish rather than getting stuff ready for work.
The weather today was cooler, with a high of only 18° C and cloudy most of the day. Hopefully, things settle down and we get a nicer day tomorrow, which would also help me make up my mind about what to do. However, I did get a chance to sit down in front of the campfire finally, although there were a few black flies around. My bug lantern was enough to keep them down and I didn’t need to smother myself in insect repellent. However, I do need someone to explain to me why I brushed my teeth and then made s’mores.
A nice sunny morning, although there is a bit of a breeze. The outside temperature dropped to its lowest I’ve seen in a few months, 6° C. It got down to 10 in the camper. However, it was 17° when I woke so it was actually warmer outside than in. I went out to start the generator to make toast for breakfast and opened the door to warm things up.
Daryl had come to wake me earlier, probably to go fishing, but I had been up a lot last night and just wasn’t into getting up quite that early. I think I was lucky I could haul myself out by 9:30 as it was. I still haven’t looked at the lake so I don’t know how calm it is.
We did go fishing, actually, and it was probably the nicest day on the water this summer. While Daryl caught a single fish, and I only got two nibbles, the water was dead calm and the sun shone. In retrospect, I could have put a bit more sunscreen on; however, it was a nice day to run across the other side of the lake and into Upper Laberge to fish. We came back and tried the side of Richthofen Island as well.
After fishing for four hours, we came back in for supper and then went out again, fishing until 10 PM. It was still calm, and the lake was quite nice. I was really regretting forgetting my camera this trip. After we got back, I sat by the fire for a bit before turning in.
Where has my vacation gone? This is the last day, and I have to celebrate that by cleaning up after a camping trip. I woke at about 8:30. It was, about 13C with a small breeze. I made tea and started getting things ready to drive home. I will admit that the prospect of the short drive home does appeal to me; however, another trip has come to end and that usually isn’t that appealing.
This will probably be the last time I camp here. It’s simply too close to town, which makes it a prime party spot. I don’t know why people go to a campground to drink. It’s easier and safer to just stay and home and be hammered before 10 AM.
And, if rules aren’t your bag, stay out of campgrounds. For example, quiet hours run between 11 PM and 7 AM and you aren’t supposed to run a generator during that time. I saw one person, in a group of partiers that occupied the four sites around me, wait a few minutes after a Park Officer asked him to turn off his generator, and then take it and a long extension cord and put it across the campground boundary where the rules don’t apply. This doesn’t demonstrate your expert legal prowess. It means you’re a jerk…
July 6, 2016
My vaunted hopes of getting started early in the morning were dashed quickly when I realised I only had one complete large jerry can for boat gas. Since we were going to Kusawa, it would probably call for a fair amount of fishing, and gas requirements for that.
When I did pick up fuel for the boat and generator, and a cap for a second jerry can from downtown, Clara wasn’t feeling well. We waited a bit, but the threat of losing out on a campsite drove us to the compromise. I would head out today with the cats, and Clara would come out with the truck tomorrow. This would create one issue, in that launching the boat without help and with the motorhome is not an easy task. Therefore, Clara would come out in the truck, rather than her car, and we would use that to launch the boat.
I started off, and the drive was rather uneventful until we reached the turn off for the Kusawa Lake road. I was rather pleased with the condition of the highway. Although frost heaved in the usual locations, it wasn’t too bad at all. The Kusawa Lake road, however, was a mess. Most of the 25 km to the campground was washboard, and you couldn’t drive much more than 40 kph for the whole road. It took more than half an hour to get to the campground. It is more than time for Parks to get the road graded again.
I did get camp fully set up, though, since the option for fishing was gone. This included setting up the stabilizer jacks under the motorhome, which keep it from moving when you walk from one part to the other. Clara says this will eventually make her sea sick. I also bought a new camping tarp for the first time in four years and put it up. This is a more complete set up than I have bothered with for some time, and certainly the first this year.
The cats were far more at ease this trip, although neither expressed a great deal of happiness with the washboard road coming in. I put Furball in the larger carrier and he seemed OK with that. Like Darcy, he spend most of the run into the campground sleeping.
It was nowhere near as warm and sunny today as it was yesterday. It did climb up to 20° but was cloudy and muggy most of the day. Guessing that rain is coming sometime in the near future is not a huge issue. It did get a bit windy this afternoon, with whitecaps on the lake. This probably would have restricted my fishing anyway. Ah, aren’t the grapes sour? By 8 PM, though, the sun came out and the sky cleared.
I used this as an excuse for a walk. I did a 2.2 km walk around the campground and out to the stream that runs between the first group of campsites and the second. It was a beautiful evening for a walk, with enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes from being a problem. I’ll knock on wood now, since in the three camping trips so far, I haven’t used insect repellent once. It’s been buggy in the back yard, particularly since I need to repair my mosquito vac, but not in the campgrounds. Since I’m looking to go to Lake Leberge at the end of the month, a lack of camping mosquitoes would be deeply appreciated, especially there.
Furball has spent his first camping day at the bottom step, looking out at the world. He really is my worst worry about running away. Darcy is quite the homebody, and she has spent most of the first day on the upper bunk, looking down on the rest of the world. I seriously suspect that, if I left the door open, she’d stay on the upper bunk.
I did take the guys out for a bit of a run, and quickly found a very good spot to put their tie-out stake. Furball, normally, was far more adventurous. He was particularly interested in the birds in the trees above him.
And, a bit after 10 PM, it seemed time to just sit back, watch the fire, and read my book until it was time to go to bed. After all, it’s peaceful and what could there be to worry about?
July 7, 2016
I woke up during the night a few times, since Furball decided it would be a wonderful evening to see how many times he could stop the circulation in my legs by lying on them. Other than that, and some cramping in my poor left hip, I did have a great night.
This was the first night on the new mattress. When I was going for knee surgery, the plan was to sleep downstairs on the sofa bed for the first little while, rather than go up and down the stairs on crutches. However, a quick measurement proved that the sofa bed was far too low for me to comfortably get in and out. This necessitated a quick change of plans and I tried to find a inexpensive mattress that would the double bed and allow me to have a higher place to sleep. I ended up buying a rather nice memory foam mattress.
This quickly led to the consideration of adapting it to the motorhome bed. The corner of the bed is cut off to allow for more access into the bathroom. I was going to cut down the foam mattress and resew the cover, along with finally having the incentive to tailor the bed clothes for the bed. However, it only does stick out about a few inches, since the mattress is a little bit narrower than the bed itself. No modification of mattress, and bed sheets, required.
P.S. The mattress is far more comfortable than the old one that came with the motorhome.
Today started well, with me cooking a nice, but late, breakfast at 9 AM. This does seem to be our traditional wakeup time camping when I’m not getting up really early to go fishing.
After breakfast, I put the cats on their tie outs and did a bit of cleaning up. Then, I made coffee and went to read outside with the cats. They did surprise a vicious squirrel who was probably coming to kill us all and drive him away, or least, that’s Furball’s point of view. However, there are three dogs in the next campsite, and when the neighbours woke up and took the dogs out, Furball was quite frightened of them. He made a beeline for the door, but his line was tangled around a tree and he literally backed out of his harness. I did manage to grab him and pick him up but he was so frightened, he scratched me while I was trying to get him back to the camper. Note to self: time to restock the first aid kit.
This is kind of strange, since the dogs are all quite small and Furball hasn’t really shown any fear of dogs before. Darcy seemed a bit leery of them, as usual, but Furball was genuinely frightened. He probably is bigger than two of them to begin with, and the next campsite is about 50 feet away. I did buy off his consternation with wet food, the favourite treat in the house for both cats.
After a short while, Clara came with Katrina and Ryan. They drove up in their car and my truck. We used the truck to get the boat loaded and I took the kids for a bit of a ride, about 15 km in total. I ran it full out to see how well the boat would run. It was perfect. So, after that, I refilled the fuel tank and headed out to the first point on the other side of the lake to troll back. It did not run very well at all, surging again. If my problem was bad gas, why do I still have the same problem with new gas and fuel system cleaner in it?
I trolled on this side of the lake, therefore, in case it quit on me. I fished along the next bay, past the third campground. There were lots of fish on the fish finder, but they were all sitting on the lake bottom in about 50 feet of water. Not feeding, I’m afraid. So, I decided to see how much sputtering there would be if I ran it wide open on the way back to the campground. It ran without a hitch. I am confused.
Note that one thing was not confusing and ran perfectly. This was the fish finder from the old big boat. Since the boat was going so cheaply, I kept some of the items from it. This included the old Garmin fish finder, which works wonderfully on the little boat. One thing that did not work so well were the two cans of Coke I packed for the trip. The little cooler was still on the floor of the camper when I came back.
We made supper and then had a nap. After an hour, I decided to try the boat again. This was the worst it’s been, before and after being fixed. I had started for the first point again, but decided to come back to the dock since I didn’t think the motor was actually going to last long enough to get back. It simply does not want to run with any load on it. Half of me thought of packing up the camper and taking it back to Checkered Flag first thing in the morning to see if they could actually fix it. I also did consider just heading back with the boat early tomorrow morning, but since I probably wouldn’t get it looked at until at least next week anyway. I am a little bit tired of the motor’s issues this summer, since it hasn’t worked well this year at all.
I did come back and go for my walk. I didn’t get very far tonight, just 1.6 km. I did follow that up with two more smaller walks. Neither Darcy nor Furball were interested in being staked out with dogs on leads 50 feet away, so I took each for a walk individually. At about 9, I put a fire in. It was time for s ’mores anyway.
All told, the weather was nice although it did look like it was going to blow up from the north for a while. It was sunny and got up to 20° again today. The sunset, or as close as you get to it here with the mountains, was lovely, with Mount Vanier being licked by the last rays of the bright sunshine.
As we sat reading a bit before bed, along comes a fox down the campground road. He was quite the size, and a cross fox as well. We don’t normally see foxes in this campground. I wonder if this is the end year of the rabbit cycle, since I haven’t seen many of those this year either.
July 8, 2106
It rained overnight and the wind blew. All of the tent poles blew down on the tarp over the picnic table, which led to the cats being fascinated with the ropes blowing to and fro. There was a great deal of scrambling to determine who would have the best window vantage point to watch things swaying the wind.
Through most of the day, it was quite cloudy. The sun did manage to peek through about 4 PM (for a little while). We did spend some time sitting under the awning, watching the cats on their leads. The people in the site next door with three dogs left around lunch time, so they were quite content to be outdoors.
However, despite the sun, a large black cloud appeared across the lake, followed by several rumbles of thunder. It looked pretty bad, so I battened down the campsite, put away the tarp and much of the cooking things. I also went and pulled the boat up onto shore just in case. When the wind blows out of the north here, it tends to blow quite hard and the lake can get pretty rough rather quickly. However, it usually calms down just as fast.
I had started supper on the barbecue but finished it indoors because of the way the weather was turning.
About 8:30, all was sunny and calm again and the temperature went up to its rather consistent high of 20°. The low last night was only 13°, a nice temperature for sleeping. I went for a walk, about 1.3 km, and then remembered I had some fuel system cleaner in the motorhome. I pulled the boat back out far enough on the wharf to lower the engine and poured some of that in the fuel tank. I sloshed it around and ran the motor at idle for about 10 minutes. This won’t tell me if it works fine, which it has on occasion but not consistently, but will get a bit of the cleaner in the system to sit overnight and work, if, of course, that is the problem.
July 9, 2016
Morning started early, since I looked out the window when Darcy head-butted me awake a bit before 4 AM. This is normal, since she is a bit emotionally needy at times and needs her early morning cuddle to get through the night. However, I looked at the window at a lovely sunrise, so I grabbed the camera and walked down to the beach to get some pictures.
I quickly discovered the memory card was still in the computer, so walked back to get it. When I came back, a woman had set up her tripod on the same spot with much the same idea I had. She laughed and said, “I’m glad I’m not the only wingnut up at 4 AM.” I grabbed a few pictures, so I should throw one in for an example of what the mornings are like.
We did go back to sleep and got up at a more reasonable hour. After breakfast, I got the dishes and got out the gear to try the boat… again. It worked fine. I ran her up under power and there was no power loss, no sputtering and no hesitation. I am confused. I did troll a bit near the campground, since I’m still a bit hesitant to trust going to the narrows, about 9 miles down the lake with a motor that’s been undependable. I did take another speed run after trolling a bit, since the fish were all about 1 or 2 feet off the bottom. They’re sleeping, rather than feeding, when they’re there. I came back in when it looked like the weather was going to blow up a bit. Sure enough, another afternoon thunderstorm came up.
With the storm, the lake was quite rough, although the bay in front of the campground was still quiet flat. The wind was blowing out of the south, and the point where the second and third campgrounds are does block off a fair amount of weather when there are southerlies.
I put a fire in a bit later, and wondered my standard epicurean question. Do marshmallows and chocolate go with a red or white? I read in front of the fire for a few hours, while Clara read inside the motorhome. I also managed to take each cat for a long walk, in spite of Darcy trying to pull a fast one and escape through the door when I was coming in. Both cats were far more adventurous than usual, and both went quite a ways. And, neither asked to come in for a change. They are rapidly becoming advanced camping kitties.
It stayed warm and muggy, even with the thunder. It hit a high of 21°, while the inside of the camper got to as high as 25°. Nighttime temperatures were quite comfortable though, every night.
I went back in, finished working on my log, and enjoyed a hot chocolate. Camping is strenuous.
July 10, 2016
During the evening, the cats raised quite a commotion. About 4 AM, they took turns running over us in the bed to the bedroom window, and then back to the kitchen window a few feet away. The were quite intent on something. This morning, when I was getting the generator started for the toaster (have I mentioned that camping is strenuous), there was a bit pile of fox crap right under our bedroom window. I think I get what the commotion was about.
I went to bed, feeling miserable with a headache and a sore throat. I woke up worse. We did grab a quick breakfast and started getting everything back together to come home. Clara drove my truck while I brought back the motorhome and the boat.
We also shared cats, with Clara taking Furball and me taking Darcy. Furball travelled with his seatbelt harness for the whole trip. He was good but was upset that I wasn’t in the truck with them. We met up at the Takhini Burn rest area, and he was fine after that.
I left Darcy in the carrier to the rest area, but put her in her seatbelt harness from that point on. She tried three time to get onto the dash, her favourite camping napping area, but fell since the lead was too short to let her get up. I succumbed, and reach over and unhooked her. She spent the rest of the trip on the dash in front of the passenger seat, happy as a clam. She sort of looked like a little sphinx, perched with her paws out in front of her, sound asleep…
Wednesday, June 22/2016
It took a while to actually get going. I had been aiming to head out at about 4 PM but things just took too long to get ready and packed and it was a bit after 5 before we headed out. I was worried about getting a decent spot at Fox Lake. We went back to Fox since friends have a cabin right next to the campground and we don’t get to see them often enough.
The drive was rather uneventful, other than Furball not settling down very well and meowing constantly. He really doesn’t like his carrier much. Darcy tends to climb in and fall asleep as soon and the camper starts moving. He did eventually settle into it, or just come to accept his fate as inevitable, after about 20 minutes.
We arrived to find the campground almost full. There were three spots left… a double site and a single right on the turn lane next to the boat ramp. The two at the double would be fine if you only had to level something short like a camper, but a 24’ motorhome is something else. We took the less attractive site, which also required a few attempts to get levelled out as well. I need a better levelling system.
I was surprised to see it as full as it was, but there was a group of large Class A motorhome travelling together, along with a very nice couple who parked their trailer crosswise across a double to take both sites. We aren’t fond of sharing two close sites with someone you don’t know, but it was the best choice had it been available.
I loaded the boat, since I was in a rush to determine how the repairs went. They weren’t much… just a cleaning of the fuel system and new plugs. They figured the gas had gone over. I changed the fuel in the tank. However,with setting up, and the long day, I was in no mood to go out in the boat. I cooked dinner and had a beer to make myself officially camping. After dinner, I was just too tired to go out so left my discoveries to be made for the next day.
We had finally got most of the setting up and unpacking done after a rather rushed job of leaving by about 10 PM. By that point, the promised thundershowers for last evening were obviously not coming and it was 21 degrees. The sun was out and it was a beautiful evening. We took the cats out for a stroll around the site on their leads. Then, I sat down on my new camp chair with a glass of wine, when along comes our friends with the cabin. We had a great visit and will probably head over to their place tomorrow evening. They brought their small dog, who was reasonably friendly towards the cats on the other side of the camper door. Furball was slightly less upset than Darcy. She wanted nothing to do with him.
The cats did settle for a bit overnight, but when the ravens woke at about 5 AM, there was a different story. They went from window to window trying to see what all the commotion is. Eventually, when the ravens gave up, so did they and they want back to sleep for a few hours.
Thursday, June 23/16
We did finally get up around 9 AM and I made breakfast. I got the chance to try my new Polaris generator, which is incredibly quiet compared to the other one. It didn’t seem to add too much of a load to run either the toaster or the microwave when I wanted to reheat my bacon. So far, I’m rather impressed, although it took a week longer than promised.
It’s rated as quieter than a Honda but is a few pounds heavier. And, it was on sale for $200 off the listed price, and the price on the ticket was the same as charged, unlike Honda’s adding more than $200 to the price with fees not on the price tag. That was almost $500 more than the one I went to Honda to see, which is still showing as on sale on their website even though the model is discontinued and no dealers in Canada apparently have it. Suffice to say, I really don’t like Honda’s somewhat unscrupulous practices and don’t see myself buying any of their products in the future.
After breakfast, Clara and the cats opted for nap time while I opted for fishing. I spent about 90 minutes trolling with no luck. There were fish on the finder but they were down rather deep and probably not feeding at the time. I’ll go out again later and try again.
It did start to cloud over by early afternoon. There’s no way to get the forecast out here but the last one we saw did call for sunny with cloudy periods for today.
We spent the afternoon lazily. I eventually decided to put on supper. This was our hot dog night, since you need one simple camping thing on a trip. After that, I thought some fishing was in order. Big surprise. The motor was acting up exactly the way it was on the last trip. In short, the guess of bad gas wasn’t right. Now, I have no boat and I have to take it back to the shop. And, since we came out with the boat and camper, I have no way to bring it back without going back in altogether. I am not happy.
Around 6:30, the wind began to come up out of the north. I don’t see it being bad, since the wind is still quite warm. As you can see in the picture, there are no white caps, but there are a few clouds. I’m thinking rain by morning.
A little rain is OK. It will bring down the dust at the camp site.
So, my new plan is to deal with the boat. Since it can troll, I’m going to have to make do with trolling not too far from the campground. I don’t mind too much, since these are probably best fishing spots anyway. And, I will have to stay close since, if it does break down, I don’t want to paddle too far.
A bit after 11 PM, I cleaned up the inside of the camper and started to get things settled. We turned in about 11:45.
Friday, June 24/16
We finally got going a bit after 9. The cats seemed somewhat less stressed by the exuberance of waking ravens Although there was a bit of wanting to sit on your chest to see out your window when the caws began.
We had a nice breakfast and I went for a walk around the campground. Then , I figured I’d check if the boat was happier or not. I trolled about 750m down from the campground and came back the same distance. After a few passes in front of the campground, I figured it was time to open her up. It ran fine at full throttle for about 1000m, but then started surging a bit at the highest throttle setting. It was okay at about ¾ throttle. Maybe it need more cleaner run through it. (Add something about the cleaner). It trolls fine so I’m not without a method of fishing.
After that, I popped over to visit Kelly and Nita. I’d given her a copy of a play script to look at and get an opinion on. She liked it, by the way, especially the twist. We gabbed for over and hour and then I headed back to sit for a while. It was time to enjoy the little table with drink holder I got for Father’s Day. Camping is very strenuous.
It was when I was doing the mushrooms for the steak when I discovered that I had taken out the cooking sherry it had not packed it. We had steaks but with mushrooms sautéed without sherry. Blasphemy. Camping IS strenuous.
I have had the opportunity to observe one of my biggest peeves over camping here. I do understand why it happens, and I have done it myself. That is the practice of coming early to claim a site, leaving something in the campsite, and then coming out Friday evening. As a result, trying to head out to a relatively popular campsite means you get to turn around an head back home. The problem has expanded in scope.
We came out Wednesday and there were 3 sites left. The one we took was unattractive, but at least we got one. However, of the 50-odd sites, almost all were taken but less than half were occupied. I peaked a bit, and it became obvious that what many people are doing is coming out on Sunday afternoon after people have left for the weekend and setting up their trailer, or a tent, or a boat trailer, or simply a few chairs, filling out a slip, saying they’re staying 7 nights, and coming out the following Friday evening. Further, there were two areas where there were 3 or 4 sites next to each other held with matching chairs. With a yearly permit, it is easy enough for one person to go out and book a large number of sites, just by everyone involved giving him or her their permit number.
The rules do state that, if you are not on a site for 48 hours, it is supposed to be “abandoned.” But, it’s quite an issue to enforce that regulation, and I have talked to park officers about it on occasion. It’s getting so that, if you don’t want crowds and are on vacation, heading out to camp during the week on a Monday may mean you may not get a spot, or not a very good one. I think it’s time that the legal minds at YTG set down some new, and enforceable, regulations.
The wind did come up a bit out of the northwest, but that didn’t last more than an hour. However, it certainly made things dusty for a while. Little dust devils blew across the boat launch, impressing the cats to no end. It became obvious that there was no more fishing for me tonight, since there was no indication that the weather was going to settle down or get worse. So, I settled the boat for the night, bringing in the portable fish finder and safety gear, checked my lines, and put a campfire in. I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to having a fire. Since it’s traditional, and important, we made s’mores, and I did obey the adage of knowing your limit and only eating two. More than that is more than I’m good for now, but I did also roast a few marshmallows by themselves as well.
Saturday, June 25/16
Today was a rather full day, with company coming and doing a bit of visiting. Katrina, Shawna, and Ryan came out along with a rented canoe. They went out twice, as did I in the boat. I did get a chance to take the boat on a bit of a run without any sign of a problem. It seems that it may just need a bit of engine cleaner run through this tank of gas. It finally took until today to use up the first tank of gas in the new generator. I am rather surprised at how little it holds considering it ran about 10 hours on the first tank. The small two gallon jerry can of gas I brought for it is only half empty after refilling the generator.
The generator is still in break in period, which means less than 50% load for the first 20 hours. The biggest thing I did with it is run the toaster (750 w) and the microwave (900 w) and of course, not at the same time. It seems to handle either with no issues, although the microwave is a bit more than half its working load, but I only ran it for 15 seconds to see how it would do.
The generator is quite quiet and I deliberately didn’t bring the generator house or the front cargo rack. This gives me far more space in the cargo hutch, since the Jenny house does take up a fair bit of room. For those curious, I brought the small jerry can of gas in the boat. The front cargo rack is still a necessity if I was going to need more gas than I was planning to use this weekend. Or, I could rig a better way of carrying gas cans in the boat and get a bike carrier for the front trailer hitch.
As you may have guessed, I didn’t fare so well on the fishing front. I did lose one this morning, and while it spit the hook before I saw it, it was probably a keeper biased on weight. However, now that I have a functional boat and am getting a system down, better fishing is probably just ahead. This is my mantra for this evening. And now, it’s time for a glass of wine and bed.
Sunday, June 26/16
We got up at a reasonable hour, again about 9 AM. After a quick breakfast and washing the dishes, we started putting the campsite to bed. It really didn’t take too long, with the longest job waiting for the generator to cool down enough to pack after running it to power the toaster for breakfast. We do like our creature comforts. After that, it was a quick 50 minute drive home. Furball did not cry as much this trip and may be slowly reacquainting himself with driving. I will look at some better way for him to travel and dog seat belt harnesses are the direction I’ve been leaning.
All told, it was a nice trip. The weather held well and the boat, with a few problems at the beginning, behaved itself rather well. I think Kusawa is the next trip. I’m really pleased with the new generator and do have a few projects to do with the boat. We did give away the old boat, but some things aren’t going with it. These include the nice Garmin fish finder, which I will install in the little boat. This calls for the addition of a 12-volt battery, but that should fit nicely under my seat so it shouldn’t be in the way. I also kept the marine radio, but on a boat this size, this may be overkill…
I’m a bit late posting this, but there were a number of chores to do, such as getting the boat fixed, hunting for a new generator, and some general yard work. Now that that’s done, and I printed out the checklist to go camping this weekend, I should get around to dealing with this.
Friday, June 10, 2016
This is my first camping trip in almost a year. It started well but took a bit of an annoyance turn before the end of the day. The temperature has been quite warm today, with sunny weather. However, the boat does not seem very cooperative today. It doesn’t seem to want to run properly. Oh, well. That does allow for having a beer at a reasonable time, rather than having to wait until we came back from fishing and a boat ride or two.
I left just before noon to come out to Fox Lake. I had brought the motorhome out on Wednesday evening, hoping to have the boat ready to come out sooner. However, there were things to get done and I didn’t really get a chance to come until today. Clara did not come out, and she kept the cats, so the motorhome seems a lot emptier. I came out this morning with the boat and launched it when I arrived. I set up the boat, then set up the camper. There were a few things to do, such as make the bed and put the food away. I followed that with taking the boat out for a half hour. It trolled well, but didn’t seem to want to move too quickly. I got back to the dock, lifted the motor, and discovered the trolling plate didn’t want to come up. I fixed that, and then company arrived. Katrina and Ryan, along with Shawna, Hanna, and her parents came.
Katrina and I went out for a quick run after dinner time. However, now the boat didn’t want to run well at all. It’s a tossup between a dirty filter, a dying fuel pump, or bad gas. I will state categorically that the gas does have fuel stabilizer in it and has since late August.
After supper, we gathered for a camp fire and had a few beers, watching it not get really dark. I went down to the dock to get a few pictures, and came back for a last cup of tea before going to bed. I read for a bit and slipped out to get some pictures about 11:30. By that point, it was time for bed. It was 21 degrees most of the day and quite sunny. It was one of those days where the sunscreen didn’t get too far from your hand.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
I didn’t actually wake up until 10 AM, after a nice sleep. The weather wasn’t so bad when I got up, although it wasn’t really shorts weather at that point. The temperature was only 16 degrees, less than it was went I went to bed last night at about midnight.
The wind blew throughout the day, primarily from the southeast. It was windy enough that I didn’t feel like I would have out the boat in. This, by the way, is what I’m telling myself to make the fact the boat isn’t working seem better…
We basically all hang around today. Ryan was going to a party in town so he went back to Whitehorse this morning. I had a nap, since it was just a lazy day at the campground. People found things to do, Katrina and I went for a walk, etc. I did drop over to some friends’ cabin, but they weren’t home. Oh, well.
The evening plan was just sit around the campfire, read, and do very little. I find camping is one of the few times I really get to just sit and read. Maybe, when I retire, it should be a big camping trip.
After barbecuing some chicken skewers for a nice dinner, the weather changed. The sun came out and the wind died. It seemed like a good idea to load the boat now, rather than see what tomorrow weather is would be. It can be a bit of an issue when the wind is pushing against the side of the boat when you’re trying to load it on the trailer. It went rather quickly, and Katrina and I put the travel cover on it and got it ready to pull home tomorrow. Now, time for a nice glass of wine and to sit around the campfire. Camping is so strenuous.
I did go for another walk around the campground and then, back to sitting around the fire. It did get up to 18 degrees at one point, but had fallen to 15 by 9:30. At that point, it was time for me to go back to the camper, get a cup of tea and a snack, and then read a bit before bed.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
My last morning. I got up relatively early and packed up the camper. It’s annoying that the boat didn’t work, but it is the first trip of the year and things usually need tweaking. I guess I do need to take the boat in this week and look at my wish list item, a much quieter generator…