Elk Island Challenge

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Trail 9 of 11 complete!

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We pack quite a lot of gear for longer trails like the Tawayik Lake Trail. Lots of food, a first aid kit, a knife, a change of socks, rain gear, insect repellent, and close to 3 liters of water. On this trip, Freya carried 2 kg of water in a camel pack and dad carried about 10 kg of assorted trappings pictured here.

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Here is Freya at the Tawayik Lake trailhead ready to set out. Just before this photo was taken, we watched a lone bison wander down the trail we were about to take, so we proceeded with caution.

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After abut 800 m of walking, we found the bull that had started out ahead of us. He had decided to sit down in the middle of the trail. He seemed to have no intention of moving so we bushwhacked through the 1.5 m tall underbrush on the left side of the trail. Freya could not see further than the bush in front of her!

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After almost emerging from the underbrush right on top of this wooly beast, we eventually emerged 50 m beyond him. In the end, he did not seem that interested in our presence.

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At two stage on the trail, the mosquitoes reached sufficient ferocity to force Freya into donning her mosquito net hat.

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There had not been any precipitation in the park for a couple of days so the Tawayik Narrows - pictured here - where quite solid. Freya is shown racing to our planned lunch spot on the far side of the narrows.

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After about 7 km, we stopped for lunch. We have found that beef jerky makes an easy to carry and very filling treat.

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Freya looking strong about halfway through the trek.

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Freya at the junction of the trail and the Otter Lake Campground Road.

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The Tawayik Lake Trail joins with the Shirley Lake Trail (the next on our list) for the last 4 km. The mosquitoes came on in full force again here. We pause to reapply insect repellent and to devour a couple of chocolate bars.

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We stumbled across this amazing spider web at the trail side. We could look down the tunnel in the centre of the web - which was about as thick as one of my fingers - and see a rather large spider therein.

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While Freya looks spunky here with about 2 km remaining, the sky had darkened, the rain had started, and Freya's feet began to hurt badly. The rain had also forced us to pack away the printout of Volsunga Saga (pdf) that had been sustaining us on the trail. Freya was particularly taken by the brief appearance of her namesake goddess in the text - she comes to the aid a king and queen with a fertility issue. We completed 11 chapters before the rain forced us to pack it away. Freya loves to listen to and tell stories to pass the time on the trail.

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Sweet victory! By the park wardens' latest measurements, we completed 16.8 km in 7.5 hours. This is a slightly faster rate for Freya. Most of the trails were completed at a rate of almost exactly 2 km/hour.

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