Cold rain came down over Shabbat, and continued into Sunday morning. Simone’s shelter had a wood stove, so we hung our tent, sleeping bags, and wet clothing up to dry and sat by the warm fire.
Our clothing dried out. Our bodies warmed. We left Simone a thank you note and twenty dollars for the use of his wood and cabin.
Around a sharp corner of the river, just a few feet away on the water’s edge, a bear fled up into the woods. Both we, and the bear, were quite startled.
With the late start, we made it five miles to the next portage, Rapid Windigo. By the time we’d carried our boats and gear through the woods, we felt ready to make camp.
The summer camp canoe program had been through recently, and left behind the litter to prove it. The litter included unopened bags of hot chocolate. We made a small campfire, and sipped warm, dark, sugary joy.
The forest consisted mostly of younger pine; we couldn’t find a tree suitable for bear bagging, so we hoped no bears would come.
We pitched our tent on a large flat rock at our put-in beside the top of the rapids. Wind yanked and pulled at it. Unable to sink stakes into the ground, we tied the corners to our boats and big stones we’d placed. It sort of worked.