On this trip there really is no such thing as an average day. Rain, wind, exhaustion and friendly cottagers offering us too many drinks can sometimes play havoc with our schedule.
But we do make an effort to stick to a semblance of a daily routine. Here’s what a good day on the water is like for PACT.
6.00am – Alarm goes off. Alarm gets ignored.
6.15am – Alarm goes off again. The team gets up and slowly packs up tents and sleeping bags. Scott goes off to collect morning firewood.
6.30am-7.00am – The morning fire is lit and water for oatmeal and coffee is heated. Scott freaks out and removes several ticks he got from romping through the woods.
7.00am-8.00am – Breakfast is eaten while the day’s route is discussed, a goal is set and everyone looks at the map to get an idea of where we’re going. The rest of the bags are packed and loaded into the canoe and we’re ready to hit the water.
8.00am-11.00am – The most energetic paddling of the day happens. Everyone is feeling well rested and, if we’re lucky, being warmed by the early morning sun.
11.00am – Someone yells, “Snack break!” and forward momentum immediately ceases. Granola bars and a jar of peanut butter are produced and we take in some much needed nutrition. The jar of peanut butter usually lasts about 5 minutes.
11.15am-2.00pm – More paddling. The best time of the day for us to negotiate tricky portages or other obstacles since everyone is still feeling strong. Plenty of boat conversations happen during this time, usually involving games of trivia, would-you-rather, and obscure sports statistics. Scott spots wildlife far off in the distance. The rest of us are skeptical of its existence.
2.00pm-3.00pm – A point on the distance is chosen for lunch. We pull up and cook a quick meal and take a short rest. Scott removes more ticks after collecting firewood. On busy days when we’re trying to cover a lot of ground, a pre-cooked lunch is eaten in the canoe.
3.00pm-8.00pm – More paddling, more conversation and maybe another quick snack. Later in the evening, fatigue starts to set in and the pace drops a little. Around this time we start looking for a campsite, often choosing a point in the distance for a final push.
8.00pm-11.00pm – The canoe is unloaded, tents are set up, firewood is collected and dinner is cooked. Everybody finds a role and gets the job done quickly. Often, lunch is pre-cooked for the next day. Dishes are washed and packed and a tarp is thrown over our packs and gear to guard against possible nighttime rain.
11.00pm onwards – Much needed sleep is had so we can do it all again the next day.