As Labour Day was approaching, a call to Keji to check out site availability determined if we waited until Sunday, we could get the Wil-Bo-Wil cabin for a couple of nights. What a treat! The scoop on the cabin can be found here http://www.friendsofkeji.ns.ca/Wil_bo-Wil_Cabin.htm but basically the design is based on a hunting and fishing cabin originally built in Keji in the 1930’s.
The reconstruction became a joint project with Parks Canada, Nova Scotia Community College and the Friends of Keji organizations collaborating on this neat venture. The cabin has all the basic amenities: wooden bunks, wood stove, outhouse, table and chairs and a few surprises left behind by folks who enjoyed their stay here.
Donning our backpacks at Eel Weir, we begin our hike into the backcountry around 9:30 AM. It is a sunny, warm day for the relatively easy 7km hike to the cabin. Arriving around lunch hour, we spent the day just unwinding and enjoying our quiet surroundings.
Later that night, around 10 PM, our UNO card game was interrupted by the unexpected arrival of two visitors who we looking for Site 28, which is about 20 minutes back up the trail. It was pitch dark and we were concerned that the two girls were out hiking at that hour – but we showed them the map, they got their bearings and away they went!
With the cabin located about 50 meters from Peskowesk Lake, it was only a short walk to fill the water bucket, filter the water and then cook or enjoy a hot beverage. Hot oatmeal with strawberries, coffee, bacon and eggs for brekkie certainly tasted good. It is amazing how far dried fruits, preserved meats and space food has come for us backpackers. Just because it is the outback doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in the kitchen.
We treated ourselves to a couple of extras: six-pack of beer, a wee nip of scotch and real coffee cream as the hike wasn’t too long. The wood stove kept us super comfy and with a few candles and a couple of LED lights for playing cards – all was good!
Each evening the sunsets were spectacular with water so calm you could see the moon and stars looking back at you.
The following afternoon provided an opportunity to take a walk up the trail a bit and check out the Peskowesk Lake area and nearby portages. Sunny skies prevailed and we saw nobody!
There was even the mention in the cabin log book of a mouse who frequented the place but we did not even catch a glimpse of him.
Keji is large park but you do get the feeling that you have the entire space to yourself. That is a “good thing”. The Will-Bo-Wil is a great weekend destination! You get some exercise, you still have to bring pretty much all your normal backpacking stuff (except a tent) and you get to enjoy the wilderness. But, you are warm, well-fed and you get a sense of what it might have been like back in the 30’s bunking down at the Wil-Bo-Wil.