With the summer rapidly slipping away, we had eliminated a number of stops along the northern shore. One of those cut from the itinerary was CPR Slip (Canadian Pacific Railway). However when we left Woodbine and got out in open waters heading for Loon Harbour we encountered 6 foot waves with some hitting 8 feet or more. After one wave doused the cockpit we decided that it would be prudent to shorten our trip for the day. I had previously created a route for CPR slip so it was simple to switch to the new route.
The entry into CPR is interesting as you need to stay very close to shore along a narrow gravel spit –as in 8 to 10 feet from shore. Gaviidae is 12 feet wide at the rub rail. The write-ups regarding the harbour recommend having flat seas and the sun overhead so the person on the bow could see any obstructions. We had wind, waves, and clouds. With fingers crossed, I stood watch on the bow hoping like hell that I would be able to see the secret path into the harbour area.
CPR Slip is a very popular place and we expected that we would see other boats – wrong. As another clue that the summer season was winding down, we were the only boat in the harbour. There are actually docks, a cabin, an elaborate fire pit, a sauna, three outhouses (one for women only and one with a see-through ceiling so you can appreciate the stars while nature calls and you ponder life). CPR Slip was originally a camp for moneyed folks to spend a few days fishing in the wilderness as a break from their travels as they went through Nipigon, Ontario. To have this whole place to ourselves along with a sunny blue sky that emerged that afternoon was a complete treat. While Dan got the fire started for grilling and hand washed some laundry, I explored the area and found a great supply of raspberries just waiting to be picked.
We treated ourselves to the perfect North woods campfire dinner – bratwurst and baked beans (cooked in the can) and then took a sauna which was scorching hot and wonderful. As no one was around, we took advantage of hanging laundry in the screen porch and essentially acting as though we owned the place.
It was such a great ending after a rough start of a day that we decided we should stay one more day at CPR Slip and we headed off to sleepy land. The next morning we awoke and puttered around the boat listening to piano sonatas on the boat stereo, had a leisurely breakfast of a puff pancake with fresh raspberries, and chatted about which destinations we were going to go to next.
It was about 11:00am when I first went up on deck. To my amazement the entire area in front of the little cabin was filled with brightly colored kayaks, and clothes of all different shapes, sizes and colors hanging on every branch/shrub in the area. Holy shit! Our quiet, serene, private little cove had been invaded! And, we learned, they had paddled right next to our boat and landed their kayaks on the shore by the dock we were tied up to. I know our boat is good for buffering sounds but to drown out the chatter of 10 college students from Lakehead College and their 2 instructors/guides is pretty amazing. And this was not a quiet group as we learned later.
After the shock of the kayak invasion subsided, we headed out for a hike around the bay and up the hills straight across from CPR Slip. The kayakers had more lessons to complete and the lesson for the day was to practice rolls in their kayaks. We heard their shrieks and yelps for most of our entire hike, until it got eerily quiet and we assumed that they had hit the sauna. That was confirmed a short while later as they each jumped off the dock into the icy water after being thoroughly baked in the sauna. The shrieks and laughter resounded through the woods.
While they carried on, we had a beautiful hike through dense woods where the entire floor was bright green and spongy with moss. The trail included a couple of climbs that required pulling yourself up the cliff wall with strategically placed ropes. At the top we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the harbor and the islands beyond.
Along with numerous unusual mushrooms and wild raspberries, we saw evidence of the timid Carimoose but did not see the mythical creature. He/she is still just part of the imagination.
Our dinner at the campfire was joined by the students who each had been required to provide a certain number of meals for the group – they had each taken an entire course on meal planning and nutrition for outdoor treks. While we had pork chops, ginger glazed carrots and potatoes, they had dehydrated ratatouille with rice.
There was much discussion as to their time to get up in the morning with times ranging from 7am to noon. All I can say is when we departed at 11:00am, they were still repacking their kayaks.
August 30 – 31, 2015 48°41.886’N 88°00.526’W 972.7 Nautical Miles