We put in on the other side of the road, and paddled toward Barrage Gouin. On our way, we caught a fish.
A small village surrounded the dam. We ordered an expensive salad in the only restaurant and made ourselves some fish soup. Connecting to wifi, we perused news from the world, and enjoyed the taste of civilization, then set out onto the reservoir.
We completed the St. Maurice. Portages, rapids, and the unending climb against the current. From here on, we’d paddle downhill. When I planned the summer’s trip, I had hoped we’d make it to Hudson Bay, but not really expected to. We only would have made it that far if everything had gone perfectly, without even knowing what everything was.
With all the portaging and slow progress against the current, we were behind schedule. But in a sense, with the hardest part of the trip behind us, we had already won. Everything thereafter was a bonus.
We paddled into the evening on the flat, pristine waters of the reservoir. A small cottage had a dock, and we pulled up to ask for permission to stay the night.
We found the cottage empty. Signs read “no trespassing” and that we were on camera. Without any electricity out there, I doubted it. A sign also said that we’d made camp in the yard of the Minister of the Natural Resources of Quebec. With all the evidence of mass logging that we’d seen up the St. Maurice, we weren’t especially fond of him.