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IRNP, Day 8 Moskey Basin to Lane Cove, 10.8 miles

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.

Alice Walker
The view from the fire tower on Mount Ojibwe looking back to what I’d hiked.

Waking up in my private little shelter to the waves gently lapping and reminding me of yesterday’s leech nightmare. No plans to swim this morning. I catch a glimpse of pink in the sky, but since I’m facing south, can only see the extraordinary show when I pop out of the shelter.

Orange, magenta, lavender and pink in a swirl of color, so present and overwhelming, I feel bathed in its glow. I quickly head back to the otter dock and then out onto the big exposed bit of Canadian Shield. The smell of coffee wafts towards me as a screen door slams but no one joins me out here where the view is miraculous.

It’s just a sunrise, but I see them so rarely from our tree lined street. Are they always this good and I am simply not attuned to them? I suddenly remember that the wise old saying about red skies in the morning, sailors take warning. This glorious morning will be followed by rain.

Mr. Otter cleaned himself of leeches, perhaps, on the dock and was soon joined by his pal who also had grooming chores.
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IRNP, Day 7 McCargoe Cove to Moskey Basin, 9.8 miles

If leeches ate peaches instead of my blood, then I would be free to drink tea in the mud!

Emilie Autumn
Mr. Otter cleaned himself of leeches, perhaps, on the dock and was soon joined by his pal who also had grooming chores.
Mr. Otter cleaned himself of leeches, perhaps, on the dock and was soon joined by his pal who also had grooming chores.

I’m up early as the sky begins to lighten. I eat as I pack and wonder if maybe going forward in my backpacking ‘career,’ I forego a stove altogether. I really don’t need it and it adds bulk and weight. 

Stuffing the kitchen in Blueberry (my new Granite Gear pack) I realize I left my pot, filter and water bottle down on the rocks by the dock. The foxes are such thieves, I hope they’re still there. 

I’m awake before anyone and it’s dead quiet, even on the dive boat. I see a bit of bright blue tucked into the rocks, and the kit is right where I left it. And what a gift to come down here since I see the magical sunrise at the end of the long cove, perfect reflections of the boreal forest in still water turning orangey-yellow. 

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IRNP Day 5, South Lake Desor to Todd Harbor, 11.6 miles

Learn to recognize good luck when it’s waving at you, hoping to get your attention.

Sally Koslow
My beat up hiker's feet on a private rocky beach looking towards the Sleeping Giant.
My beat up hiker’s feet on a private rocky beach looking towards the Sleeping Giant.

The day starts with loons calling across the lake, mournful, then in that hysterical yodeling which sounds, frankly, loony. I don’t bother packing quickly since the sky is clear and I feel no pressure to move. 

But I’m out before the boys – one of which wanders into my camp accidentally after using the outhouse, apologetic and embarrassed – and the father and son, who I walked in on as they were changing clothes, but fortunately for all of us, strategically placed overgrown ferns hid any private bits.