We finished portaging from where we’d taken out friday and paddled down the last easy bit of Rapids Mignon, launching on an inlet just above the bottom on river left. The water was a little fast and a little rocky, but we’d made it through much more challenging rapids already.
From the bottom I watched Erin come down after me and, coming out of an eddy, get stuck on a barely submerged rock. Shifting her weight didn’t free her. After a bit of relationship drama, she got out onto the rock, freed her boat, and then launched quickly and efficiently from the middle of the rapids.
Rapids Coldspring were big. The water descended terrifyingly down a steep decline, and then around an island. On the right side of the island, the rapids bunched together to finish quickly after the rapids of doom. On the left side the water flowed calmly, with more rapids presumably around the corner.
We scouted the right side of the river, and found an arduous path, up and down and through the woods. At the end of it, a fisherman told us to portage on the other side of the river.
We ferried above the top of the falls and found a perfect take out. Much of the path was along rocks, but in the portion that lead through tall grasses we found the vestiges of a portage trail. Back and forth three times, supplies were starting to run low, put us beneath the first couple shelves and on the calmer left side of the island.
Paddling along, at the end of the island we found another shelf, numerous tiny islands blunting the challenge of the portage with the spectacular beauty of the wilderness. One of those islands had a stone spit traversing the shelf. We climbed down, one loaded boat at a time, and launched off the bottom.
The fellow in the row boat had told us that Matagami lay 20 miles ahead of us, but we were pretty sure he meant 20 kilometers, and that he had rounded up to get that number.
The wind blew against us, and we pushed forward to Matagami. We ran out of water, but we’d be able to refill in Matagami.
A beaver flapped its tale and dove when we approached. We’d taken a split off the river into a small tranquil chanel slightly sheltered from the wind.
It felt like we never got any closer, and then we were there. We pulled up to a dock beneath a bed and breakfast, and found a home for the night. We found a bed, a shower, a laundry machine, and all the perks of civilization.
GPS coordinates: 49.75037, -77.62111
We had a critical family event we needed to attend in the very beginning of August. We could try to finish before then, and risk missing it, or go home now and pick up in August after the event. Missing the event was not an option. So rather than risk it, we went home. The B&B offered to watch our boats and gear for us.