Please see our previous entries here (Day 1), here (Day 2), and here (Day 3).

We began the day with morning prayers (the Divine Mercy chaplet), confessions and Holy Mass (thank you Fr. Matthias!), and breakfast. Most of the second-year Timber Wolves then headed out for an overnight hike at Balsam Lake Provincial Park with Keneu, Bagheera, and two Wayfarers (some of the Timber Wolves, who had been on the hike the previous year, but who were still too young to go on the third-year overnight canoe trip, opted to stay in camp. In the end, 11 Timber Wolves set out – a number which would prove to be Providential).

We arrived at the camp site in the late morning and started to set up camp. The first task of the overnight trip would be to set up our tents. That done, we ate a quick lunch of some ramen noodles (N.B.:apparently in Canada only the ramen flavor instant noodles are called ramen; these were chicken flavor), gathered together a few belongings, and set out on our hike (with plans to go for a swim afterwards).

Setting Out for Our Hike

Stopping to take a picture as we set out on our hike

Hiking the Lookout Trail in Balsam Lake Provincial Park

Hiking the Lookout Trail in Balsam Lake Provincial Park

Keneu lead the way, while Bagheera took the rear to make sure no Timber Wolves stayed behind. We saw some interesting insects along the way (and the Timber Wolves stopped to look as they are taught to do), as well as a dead frog, but nothing bigger. After about an hour’s hike, we reached the top of the trail and Bagheera took a picture:

Keneu and the Timber Wolves at the top of the Lookout Trail

At this point, the clouds started looking ominous (it had been spitting off and on for some time), so we hurried down from our lookout point (the way up was the only moderately difficult part of the hike, and the way down was even easier) to try to get back to camp before the rains came:

Down from the top of Lookout Trail

Timber Wolves hiking down from the top of Lookout Trail

We actually made it back to the camp office (which was on the way to our camp site) before the rain started for real and we took shelter under an overhang. We were not delayed for long, however; it was maybe 15 minutes before the rain stopped and the sun came out again.

We got back to our camp site (the Wayfarers had helpfully stayed behind and procured some firewood for dinner and a campfire), and prepared to change into swim suits for an afternoon swim. The sunny weather would not last, however, and the rain started once more, along with a cool breeze. Too cold for swimming — what to do in the short time before dinner? The weather would answer this question as well, as a downpour started and pinned the Timber Wolves in their tents. The rain would not stop until dinner time rolled around.

Christmas Tree

The “Christmas Tree” overlooking our camp site

Rain falling on our campsite

Timber Wolves pinned in their tents as the rain falls

Dinner was a true feast, marinated beef on skewers cooked over a wood fire, with tzatziki sauce, white rice, and soy sauce on the side. Dusk fell by the time we finished dinner and gathered ’round the campfire for evening prayers and stories. We had forgotten to remind the Timber Wolves to pack their Rosaries, but no matter — there were 11 Timber Wolves, so for each decade one Timber Wolf took the Our Father, and his 10 brothers saw to the Hail Marys. A brief respite for mug-up followed, and then Bagheera related a short (and true) story about what being Catholic might entail (in this case, seeing people praying the Rosary in public and joining in because praying the Rosary is part and parcel of what Catholics do). It was then that our camp began to be invaded by raccoons looking for a quick bite! We chased them away and reminded the Timber Wolves not to leave any candy or food in their tents unless they wanted to be woken by hungry rodents. At this point, the tired Timber Wolves returned to their tents for the night, while the adults stayed up for a while talking about Canada, the U.S., and whatever else struck us. We finally called it a night around midnight.

Sunrise on Balsam Lake

Sunrise on Balsam Lake

Morning came early. Keneu and then Bagheera scouted out the beach, then we all had a simple breakfast of cereal and milk — Corn Flakes or Raisin Bran. After polishing off both boxes of cereal, we suited up for swimming once more and headed out to the lake.

Swimming on Balsam Lake

Keneu and Timber Wolves swimming on Balsam Lake

Some Timber Wolves swam, while others explored along the water. A few mollusks were found (including at least one zebra mussel, an invasive species). A water fight ensued when Bagheera got into the water! Swimming done, and the sweat and dirt of the prior day’s outing washed away, we returned to our camp site for cleanup, packing up the tents (which had been laid out in the sun to dry after the previous night’s soaking) and the rest of our gear to return back to Camp Endobanah.