Just after launching from the muddy bank, I noticed a leach on my leg. I took off my shoes and found four more. I screamed like a little girl before removing them by attempting to slide my knife under their succkers. They did not want to let go.
We paddled down some light rapids and took the right side of large split in the river. The other half of the river wouldn’t rejoin ours until the end of the day, leaving us on a piece of river like those we’d paddled much higher up.
We passed under a narrow bridge. Two First Nations people called down greetings to us. They were young, spoke Ensligh, and had paddled this section of the river before. With a last few sentences as the current pulled us past, they gave us information about upcoming rapids and portages. What luck!
The wind turned against us. The water rose up wherever it could. In spite of the current at our backs, progress slowed, and exhaustion overtook us. We fought on, hoping to make it to Matagami before the end of the week, but failed.
We passed a long abandoned cabin, but a quick investigation encouraged us to search further for a campsite.
At 7:30 pm we pulled up to a beach where we found more muddy clay than sand, Our feet sunk deep, and Erin wanted to search for a better place. But the cold sunk in, and the weariness protested. We pitched our tent on the most-solid, flattest ground we could find, besides enormous moose prints, and slept like rocks.
GPS coordinates: 49.42337, -77.4364