Mum and dad were visiting from New Zealand. We were on our way back to Sapporo after a week or so of car tripping around Hokkaido with a canoe strapped to the roof of the car. On the way home, we decided to drop by Lake Kanayama, to sample the canoeing there. Haidee and I had already camped at the campground on a couple of occasions, including a short three day cycle tour from Obihiro to Asahikawa. On that particular trip, mum and dad were with us too, in their own rented campervan.
Today, we chose to pay the campground day-use fee, so that at least we could sit down at one of the picnic tables for some lunch. We’d bought a large water melon on the way, and had some convenience store sandwiches.
We’d toyed with the idea of portaging the canoe down to the beach, but the helpful campground warden insisted it’d be much easier to drive around to the large car park area just east of the campground. Indeed, this ended up being the better choice.
By now, a strong breeze had picked up across the lake, but the put in area was sheltered. From the Google Maps satellite view, it seems that this car park sometimes becomes partly submerged when the lake level is high. Today, we had to carry the canoe down to the lake.
We set off, telling mum and dad that we’d be back in a few hours. They were happy to sit and relax in the car.
For the first 15 minutes or so of our paddle, there was very little wind. It soon became apparent, however, that we were in the lee of something. As soon as we started approaching the large steel-girder bridge, we clearly exited the lee, and were catching the wind straight on the beam. The wind was howling down the lake towards the southwest, which was a tailwind for us, so we were not too concerned. We zipped up the spray deck and powered on down the lake.
We really enjoyed the tailwind, but soon gave up on going far down to the southwestern end of the lake. We knew it would be a very slow and arduous paddle back upwind, so we cut across the lake part way down, and started the slog back to the campground. Part way back to the campground, at a put-in location further west from the campground, a bemused fisherman watched us inch our way along the shoreline.
We eventually made it to the beach at the campground. We pulled up and Haidee went to use the campground bathrooms. It felt like the wind was dying down a little, but out in the middle of the lake it was clearly still blowing a stiff wind.
Mum and dad were surprised to see us back so soon. We loaded the canoe back up onto the car, and headed on our way back to Sapporo.