The paddle home after a lovely kayak trip and time in the woods getting to know great people.

[If you want the beginning of the story, read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, and part 9 here].

We slept well but all woke early, ready for what lay ahead. Our stuff had mostly dried in the cabin overnight, making for a bit of a refreshed final push during another day of drizzle that would later turn to downpour. After more than a week together, we had our systems down and the three of us efficiently worked as a unit to get fed, prepped, and our gear loaded onto the carts for the final portage.

We loaded boats relatively quickly as well. It is amazing what can fit into a kayak, and yet it also takes some maneuvering to find the best fit. Our gear slightly diminished as we ate through food and started putting other gear into our bear bins, but we had also become more efficient packers over time.

It was a gentle paddle out to the mouth of Oliver’s Inlet and the weather looked great for our crossing, so off we went. Had it looked questionable, we agreed that we would wait it out and had our spot picked out to wait – but with conditions looking good we wanted to get started right away in case they turned.

The wind did pick up. Nothing crazy, and not even to the level that we would not have set out in had it looked like that when we started. But enough weather to require focus (at least for me) and a hint of fear, possibly masked as determination.

Normally when we went from point to point, we always had a landmark. For this crossing, initially there was nothing we could distinguish enough to head towards for reference. Eventually a lighter tree started to distinguish itself and it became our destination.

However, as we got closer to the opposite shore, it seemed that we were not making much headway. We would paddle hard, and yet it seemed to remain about the same distance. And it probably was about the same distance because we were paddling into some pretty strong wind. My intelligent companions decided at some point that we were going to head to a beach that was now easily visible and not far away. It was in the opposite direction we wanted to head in, but once we turned to go more with the wind and waves rather than against, we began to make progress again and reached the beach rather quickly, about 75 minutes after leaving Olier’s Inlet.

From there we hugged the shore. I expected to fight the whole time against the wind, imaging that it would be easier to walk our kayaks if possible! I was wrong. We were tucked close enough in to be out of most wind and we easily made it to the point, where it remained calm and we turned to head into Douglas Channel – our last stretch to home.

It was now pouring, but we were all a bit giddy, excited to meet up with partners and enjoy a warm shower and other foods. The tide was in our favor, and we paddled home with few stops, happily chatting during the final stretch.

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