Once again we had another successful adventure exploring an area we would never had found ourselves in had it not been for a fellow geocacher leading the way.
We often use the geocaching.com website as a trip planner and our success rate has been excellent. Most of the more remote geocaches are well thought out by somebody who knows the area well and has hiked/canoed it many times over the years. They often provide detailed descriptions including trailheads, canoe/boat launches, beaches, and even nearby pubs and restaurants where you can celebrate your success.
Anyhow, Sunday was one such day. I'd spotted this cache describing a lake on the Rideau system with a beach. The cache itself was on an island so I loaded up the van Saturday night and hoisted the canoe on top. The weather forecast was changing hourly but when we woke up to sunshine I quickly rallied the troops and off we went.
During a pitstop at one of the locks in Smith Falls we discoved a huge water snake. After taking some pictures and two failed attempts at catching him (actually I'm not so sure I wanted to land that monster - he was at least 3 1/2 to 4 feet long) we headed back down the road.
We stopped in at the Forfar cheese factory where I had to play the bad guy and tell the kids that ice cream was not a good breakfast item no matter how cheap it was.
We arrived at the Sand Lake beach around lunch time so we ate lunch. Sandwiches, potato salad, and some Pringles chips (Limited Edition Dill). Then the kids swam around while I loaded up the canoe for the paddle out to Rock Island.
Paddling over to Rock Island (visible in the upper left corner).
Enjoying the day...
Finally here's a pic of the wounded crane we found on the other side of the island. His wing was severely mangled and he was hanging out in a crevice where the water was too deep for him to find food.
Playing our part as the outdoor enthusiasts we informed some nearby powerboaters if they wouldn't mind calling a bird santuary to come get him. We then headed down to the canoe to get our fishing rod and score him a little something to eat while he waiting to be rescued. That didn't take long as there were about 40 small rock bass and perch feasting away on all the (g'damn) zebra mussels we has broken up while climbing in and out of the water. My oldest caught the fish (or as she put it, "the lucky contestant") and I quickly whacked him on the head and we tossed him to the crane. He didn't exactly gobble it down, I think he had other things on his mind. Oh well, we did out part.
I celebrated by having a Grolsch and some salty snacks.
Finally we left our little rocky island in a bit of a rush as we realized that a storm was fast approaching. Luckily everyone made it back to the van and was safe inside just moments before the downpour... everyone except for me that is. I was caught in it full force as I scrambled to tie down the canoe. Oh well, we came here for the water, right?