Brief April Solo
There is frost on the tarp and ice in my water when I rise. It is dead calm and silent except for a bit of birdsong (robins, chickadees, crossbills), the pounding of woodpeckers and the occasional drum of grouse. No loons, no white throated sparrows, no spring peepers.
I break camp as the first hints of a breeze puff down the lake. This Man goes on and on. The water on Other Man is cloudy, but light in color. The portage from Other Man towards Bit (crossing the divide [from Basswood River to Maligne]) is tough but short, a steep climb, swamp, naked rock and then a steep drop. I see northerns basking in the shallows on Bell, am impressed by the elevation change (going down) on the portage to Fran. Slate is beautiful with tall rocky shores. The water on Saganagons is shockingly low for this time of year, the paddle down the swampy bay that holds the portage to Lilypad slowed by “bottom suck”.
I set up camp on an island on Jasper. The island is very dry, the campsite high above the water, decent views and one good tent site. It is warm and windy; I change to shorts and a t-shirt and slowly put up camp. Like yesterday the wind reaches a peak near six o’clock, tossing spray up on the windward side of the island.
At dusk the wind dies and clouds slowly cover the sky. I am forced to kill a couple of mosquitoes. When I turn in for the night it is again too quiet to sleep, every dry rustle of leaf clear and impossibly loud.