Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Day 65, my birthday!

Today we would try to find the dirt road out. At the end of the day, based on the viability of our exit strategy, my back, and Erin’s mouth, we would decide to exit or continue.

First, we found a small hunting cabin on the east side of the river. Erin scouted the area while I lay on my back on the porch. She returned with raspberries. There was no road here. We got back on the water.

Our expedition route lead to the west. But the water got closest to the highway (11 miles to the north), on a sublake to the northeast. It would take us far out of our way to search the sublake for a dirt road. If Erin got a fever, and I remained cripled, we’d be lost.

We paddled to the northeast, and entered the lake. We crossed to the eastern most side with the ever present western wind at our backs, and slowly made our way around the edge back toward the entrance. We’d search the northern part of the lake until we found it.

But we didn’t find it. We got out a few times when a break in the trees might have been a road, but it never was. Erin trailed our fishing line behind her, but caught nothing in the cloudy water.

As we made our way to the western edge of this portion of the lake, the water grew shallow. Erin got out of her boat to take a break, I floated and waited. I noticed that I had needed much fewer back breaks, every hour, not every 20 minutes.

Erin got back in her boat and noticed she’d lost the fishing rod when she stood up. The rod had a carabiner on it, and I was always careful to clip it. But here on this flat water, Erin hadn’t. We walked around in water up to our knees. I heard a splash some 15 meters away. Perhaps a fish made off with the whole thing. The cloudiness of the water revealed nothing, and so we lost the fishing rod.

We paddled on. The water got so shallow we had to gorilla scoot away from the shore. And as the day ended and we left the sublake returning to our expedition route only slightly ahead of where we’d camped the night before, my back not feeling so bad, and Erin’s mouth improved with treatment, we found a beautiful beach with a dirt road leading away from it.

We made camp.

We hiked up the dirt road to a derelict cottage, windows broken, wood rotting. The road continued past the cottage, but I don’t think anything other than an all terrain vehicle could have traversed it. If we hiked out, we could try to hire someone to recover our gear.

Most importantly, my back was feeling better. Erin thought her mouth was getting better too. We would continue on. There would be no more options for take out until Waskaganish.

Beside the long beach, a rocky precipice overlooked the lake. Behind it we gorged ourselves on blueberries, and then ate dinner while watching the sun over an unforgiving, beautiful wilderness. I hoped we made the right decision.

Check out our pictures here!

GPS coordinates: 50.29707, -77.48218

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