Wer packed our gear for the kilometer portage, from camp above the climb, to the put in past the dam.
We hung our wet towel to dry as much as possible while we portaged. Once we packed the towel, it would dry no more.
We started with one of the boats, then returned for a pile of gear. A kilometer is a long distance to portage.
A pickup truck towing a motor boat came up the forest road. The driver and his wife talked with us in French and maybe we understood. He wanted to help. We threw our gear in the back thinking that we would meet him at the launch. But after just a few feet the truck turned onto a small side road, U-turned, and left us.
We ran after them! The truck stopped. We climbed into the bed, returned to the rest of our gear, and loaded up. The driver had thought to get it for us.
Before we knew it, our long grueling portage was quick and easy. The truck had dropped us off and we were ready to launch. Except, we’d forgotten the towel. We walked back, got the towel, returned to our boats, and started our day’s paddle.
Our map showed a town to our right, but we saw only wilderness.
But where another river met ours, we found a summer village, complete with children swimming near big inflated water toys.
The river narrowed, but the current never got so strong that we felt, near the edge, like we were struggling.
At the end of our day, tired, we approached the Trenche Dam. Folks waved to us from a motorboat. We waved back. They called out to us and waved a wooden canoe paddle in the air. We approached.
Their boat didn’t work. One of the younger folk in the party leaned way out over the bow and struck at the water pitifully with the canoe paddle, making some splash but otherwise failing to move the boat forward.
I hooked my tow rope up to Erin’s boat and Erin hooked her’s to the motor boat. Towing a motor boat is hard work. But before long, we’d brought it to shallow water and the vacationers were able to get out and push it toward a boat ramp.
We found a dock and took out. Beneath the dam, and signs that said “”no camping” in French, we found a makeshift campground. RVs spread out through the forest. We pitched our tent, joined a party, got our fish wrapped in tin foil and cooked on a grill with lemon, and had a fine evening. We learned the fish we’d been catching recently were pike.
One of our hosts had heard about us on the radio, and soon everyone treated us like heroes.