“OK, turning now!” I called out to Rick in the front of the canoe. The strong on-shore wind was howling, and we had to make this tack into the shore between waves. They weren’t quite white-caps, but they were certainly getting there. Had it been any other canoe trip, we probably would have turned back once we got out of the sheltered lee of the wind on the eastern side of Wakoto Peninsula. But we decided it was worth a shot – we’d both only ever seen the steaming geothermal area at this far end of the peninsula from above, on the hiking trail. We were keen to see it up close from the shore.
Our shoreward tack was a success, and we scooted downwind to the beach. On the beach, we were greeted with flurries of steam and sulfur smells. No wonder people bring eggs here to cook on the lake-front – the whole shoreline was a geothermal playground.
Whereas this exposed northern shoreline was windy and noisy with all the waves and steam, the approach on the eastern side of the peninsula had been about as serene as a lake could get. We’d attempted to do the full loop, starting on the western side of the peninsula and paddling around, but soon gave up on that idea – the stiff northwesterly wind was whipping up too much swell for out liking. On the western side we took stock, and decided to portage across the neck of the peninsula to the sheltered eastern side.
The short bash through long, scrappy grass spat us out to idyllic, calm conditions. Worlds away from the chop of the lake just 75m away on the other side.
The autumn colors were putting on a show.
We paddled past the hot spring shack, and on to the more secluded wild onsen a few hundred meters up the shore. This makeshift pool is nothing more than a bunch of rocks plied up on the lake-front, well secluded from both watercraft and the hiking trail just 10m up the bank. If we’d had shovels, we would have cleaned it out a bit for a soak. The temperature of the water felt just right. As we were gazing out at the lake through the trees, a group of about 20 hikers walked past above us, all chattering loudly to each other. Not one of them noticed us below.
From this idyllic spot, we pushed on in the canoe around the head of the peninsula, to face the wind and waves, and the steaming geothermal area.
We returned the same way on this calmer eastern side.