I just got back from my trip late last night. Thanks for asking!
The trip went fairly well. As I mentioned, we changed our route and entry point only one week before, and I am sooo glad we did! Even the smaller lakes we paddled and stayed on were "big" in some ways. The first morning we did have some wind and it was a little unnerving paddling but we went directly into the wind and while it was hard work paddling against, it wasn't as unnerving as it would have been if we had a side wind or quarter wind at the canoe. Overall we paddled four lakes totaling 5.5 miles one way and we portaged our packs over 4.5 miles one way. We used to go in six lakes/8 to 10 miles but then we never had a one mile portage right off the bat like we did this time. I was proud of myself for being able to haul a 40 lb pack on my back over the entire mile portage, up and down a rugged trail full of mud, rocks, tree roots, brush etc without once having to stop and set the pack down. Then I returned over the entire trail, picked up the second pack, and carried that one all the way across too. I did not attempt to carry the canoe, but to my credit I carried our fully loaded food pack halfway across the portage to help my husband out who carried the canoe across. So three miles total of carrying heavy packs before we even hit the water. By the time we got to Horseshoe lake we were too exhausted to fight the wind to the next lake over where we wanted to go. Horseshoe lake was a long narrow lake with fingers and it felt less intimidating than Gaskin would have, and I am so glad we stayed on it instead. Amazingly my husband didn't argue with me but was happy to stay on Horseshoe also. We stayed on the smaller lakes for day trips and never did go into Gaskin or Winchell lakes which are bigger, but that was ok with my husband too. More than not we did some hiking/bushwhacking behind our campsite way back in the woods and did lots of exploring. The weather was for the most part very nice. The one day that was really windy was when we hiked in the woods instead of paddling. Thursday we had pouring rain off and on all day with fierce winds kicking up for a few hours and then calming down to dead still and then whipping up again all day. When the wind would blow I would go in the tent and try to read a novel I brought along. My husband had put up a nylon tarp and we hung out under that and had a campfire going most of that day too. It was a struggle that day with my fears, and worse because the next day was our day to head out. I was so worried the weather would be that bad on the journey out. There were thunderstorms all day Thursday too, but we still saw several canoes out there on the water. All were big strong men though. I didn't see too many women out in the canoes but did see a few all during our trip. Thankfully the next day was sunny and calmer but still windy, though the wind was to our backs the entire way out this time which was awesome! It took us only six hours to get out and seven to come in so having the wind at your back makes things easier.
The week before, I ate a LOT to try to gain a few lbs and rev up my metabolism to withstand the weather and build up reserves/stamina for the trip, and I am glad I did because I used a LOT of energy out there paddling, carrying heavy loads, pumping/filtering all our water, gathering firewood etc. I had been worried about dealing with cold weather, but I never once got too cold at all, even when the temps dipped into the mid 40s F at night and when it was pouring rain Thursday. I wore rain gear (pants/jacket) all day that day and didn't allow myself to get too wet. I still felt guilty eating every meal, as I always do when I eat more than I am used to, but I ignored the thoughts at least temporarily. It is always easier to eat more when I am out on adventures like this than at home every day. And I ate a LOT. Surprisingly I only gained a tiny bit of weight, and most of that was my face and arms filling out a little. On a side note, part of my eating disorder involves food hoarding. I have this fear of not having enough food which is odd for someone who has restricted her intake for years. So of course we brought WAY too much food on our trip lol. I planned it all and packed the food. We had a large bear proof food barrel full of food and when we were out on the water, we talked to six men in three canoes who had the same food barrel we had and that one barrel was for all six of them for the same number of days! We did have our dog's food in there too but still. It was a bit embarrassing but also kind of funny. We still had it a third full by the time we went home. We did pack for an extra day of food too in case of being wind bound or something.
I am very very relieved the trip is over and we didn't have any problems. I'm not sure if I will do a trip like that again. I still had a lot of anxiety out there wondering if we would be able to get out safely. I also worried about anything happening to my husband because I don't think I could have hauled all that stuff out on my own. I'm also not as outdoor savvy as he is, and not as strong of a paddler. It took a lot out of me worrying and I did have trouble with food staying in me all through the trip as I had to do number two constantly due to my anxiety...and maybe a little because my body was not used to that much food. On the otherhand, I probably lived in the moment far more out there than I do at home, and I feel so at peace out in the woods exploring like a child. Waking up to a gorgeous lake every morning was awesome, and my husband and I had some bonding time, along with our dog Sable. She was terrified of the thunder/lightning, and me the wind, so we often consoled each other
Another awesome thing. I found a really nice carbon steel knife in the lake someone had dropped, and gave it to my husband. It was still in great shape. Instead of using it to hurt or kill something, he used it to carve wooden spoons while we sat under the tarp by the campfire all day Thursday. My husband is an artist and uses his hands to create beautiful wood projects. He ate almost all vegan with me the whole trip except he did have a few hard boiled eggs for himself. At the end of the trip I asked him how his energy was and he said he felt strong and great and I said, "See, eating veggie all week didn't deprive you of anything did it!"