Canadian Odyssey – Part Nine

Steve crosses a footbridge over waterfalls between Harness and Pardee lakes.

Steve crosses a footbridge over waterfalls during a portage between Harness and Pardee lakes.

I hated to leave Kirkwood Lake behind, but it was time to wend our way back through the lakes. Our next base camp would be on an island on Harness Lake, where we’d spend a couple of nights.

This is where Steve’s vast experience at Algonquin Provincial Park pays off; he knows where the best campsites are and tries to set up our itinerary so we get there ahead of others who might be vying for those spots.

It was a lovely spot and would have been much better if our predecessors hadn’t left it such a mess. In addition to toilet paper all over the ground and worse, someone had painted an eyeball and the word “Bye” on a rock. So much for leaving only footprints. (While I’m on my soapbox — OK, women, I understand that, for you, peeing outdoors is a little more involved. But would it be too much to ask that, when you pee, you either put your toilet paper in the fire ring and burn it or pack it out in a plastic bag?)

During our stay, I took it on myself to remove the graffiti. I used a combination of crumpled foil, rocks and elbow grease. Crumpled foil is good for cleaning pans and grills, by the way.

Harness Lake doesn’t offer much in the way of solitude. However, we were graced with a visit from a youth group — girls in their early teens — who camped across the way from us. Part of what they did involved plein-air sketching. It was quite a sight to see them all sitting out on the rocks at sunset, pads and pastels in hand. It’s always great to see young people doing something constructive, especially in the outdoors.

Once again, I’ll let the photos do the talking. Most of these were taken on Harness Lake; some were taken on Pardee and Lawrence lakes and, as I recall, an unnamed lake.

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A sundew plant at Pardee Lake. This carnivorous plant traps insects that mistake it’s sticky droplets for dew. If you look closely, you can see a little bugger in there.

A sundew plant at Pardee Lake. This carnivorous plant traps insects that mistake its sticky droplets for dew. If you look closely, you can see a little bugger in there. (Near the center of the frame.)

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On the rocks — Steve and Ken at Pardee Lake. While exploring other lakes, we often check out the campsites for future reference. Or Ken looks for found objects to incorporated into his art.

On the rocks — Steve and Ken at Pardee Lake. While exploring other lakes, we often check out the campsites for future reference. Or Ken looks for found objects to incorporate into his art.

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Ken’s collection of found objects from this trip.

Ken’s collection of found objects from this trip.

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Sun King Squarepants — one of Ken’s campsite creations. On every trip, he makes one of these out of abandoned grills.

Sun King Squarepants — one of Ken’s campsite creations. On every trip, he makes one of these out of abandoned grills and other found items.

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After I’d pitched my tent at Harness Lake, Ken told me that was the spot where they planned to put up the bear rope. It was too good a spot to give up and I decided that, if the bear wanted it, he’d have to fight me for it.

After I’d pitched my tent at Harness Lake, Ken told me that was the spot where they planned to put up the bear rope. It was too good a spot to give up and I decided that, if the bear wanted it, he’d have to fight me for it.

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This guy was hanging out among the rocks near my tent.

This guy was hanging out among the rocks near my tent.

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Darner flies at one of the lakes we explored. They got the name because people used to tell their kids that, if they didn’t behave, these little buggers would come along at night and sew their eyelids shut.

Darner flies at one of the lakes we explored. They got the name because people used to tell their kids that, if they didn’t behave, these little buggers would come along at night and sew their eyelids shut.

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We saw this juvenile yellowbellied sapsucker at Lawrence Lake.

We saw this juvenile yellow-bellied sapsucker at Lawrence Lake.

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A sunset on Harness Lake. It would have been fun to see how the group of plein-air artists across the lake interpreted it.

A sunset on Harness Lake. It would have been fun to see how the group of plein-air artists across the lake sketched it.

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Another Harness Lake sunset — this one on a rainy evening. Beautiful just the same.

Another Harness Lake sunset — this one on a rainy evening. Beautiful just the same.

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Sphagnum moss growing on a rock outcropping on Harness Lake. Steve said it gets its red hue from overexposure to sunlight. I thought it just looked that way because my eyes were bloodshot.

Sphagnum moss growing on a rock outcropping on Harness Lake. Steve said it gets its red hue from overexposure to sunlight. I thought it just looked that way because my eyes were bloodshot.

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It’s always a joy to see Steve botanizing on our trips. Talk about a man in his element.

It’s always a joy to see Steve botanizing on our trips. Talk about a man in his element. If you look carefully, you can see all three of us in this shot.

Next: We return to Head Lake

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