Day 3 10 am
Despite the late start, the lake remains calm through the morning and afternoon. The long fiord like scenery with layers of headlands would have been more breathtaking with clear skies to reveal the aqua colored water. However, the cloudy days prevent this from being seen clearly. Peter and Marg paddle for 5km to camp 20 and start to eat a leisurely lunch. 5 minutes later, they hear some shouting on the water. They rush out to the shore and see the Germans in their canoe shouting in excitement at a black head swimming across the lake. Peter wonders what all the fuss is about, and soon realizes that it is a black bear, swimming right towards camp 20. Their canoe filled with food, is a likely target for the bear. “Come on Marg – there is a bear heading straight for us!” Marg gulps her food, grabs her gear from the shelter, and heads for the canoe. They push it into the water and start paddling away from the shore. The bear continues swimming and comes ashore 30 yards ahead of where their canoe had been beached, and heads in the direction of the shelter. “That was close!” The Germans are happy; they have seen their first wild animal of the trip.
The day continues without further excitement. Peter and Marg stop at camp 22, two thirds of the way down Isaac Lake. A couple of hours passes, and a canoe pulls in. they are joined by Klaus and Derrick, who are in the middle of completing their Western Canadian Tour by RV and canoe!
Day 4 8:30 AM
Peter and Marg decide that they have to get going earlier than 10AM. Unfortunately, it still takes them three hours to break camp, eat breakfast and pack up. Therefore, they get up at 5:30AM and start their day. This is the first long day of the trip. Camp 31, which marks the halfway point, is their destination. The trip has taken longer than planned, and now they are looking at possibly taking 8 days to complete the circuit. This is not a problem, as they have enough food for 9 days, but the clothes are starting to smell, and five more days of this is not a pleasant thought.
They hit the water at 8:30AM. The weather has cleared after a morning shower and the lake is calm. The sun comes out, and it is positively hot. The lake begins to turn a Rocky Mountain Azure color reminiscent of Maligne Lake.
The weather changes constantly for the next three hours as they paddle south over 15km. A Motrin a day combined with a 5 minute stop at each camp site on the route keeps Peter paddling. A short hail shower followed by another sunny break and then the end is in sight. Which only means one thing – another portage!
Klaus and Derrick are right behind them. Camp 31 is their destination, and it has only two campsites.
Peter and Marg have a quick lunch and then begin the portage along the upper stretch of the Isaac River. This 2 km portage is followed by an 800m paddle down the Isaac River to a take out point 400m above a waterfall. Large signs indicate the pull out point. Another short portage but steep portage to the end of the Isaac River and McLeary Lake- the destination for the day.
Peter and Marg are the first to arrive at McLeary Lake – the pit stop for this leg of the race. As the winners of this leg of the race, they get to stay in the cabin overnight and not in a wet tent. An hour later, Klaus and Derrick arrive, followed by Eric and his daughter from Victoria and Kristina and Jenz from Germany.