Just after launch we had bouncy, chilly rapids, then a calm fast moving section of river, where I noticed that Erin’s day hatch was open and waterlogged. The first aid kit and a couple other dry bags were wet inside, but suffered no major damage.
We arrived at Chute aux Iroquois [Iroquois falls]. The river rushed between cliffs on either side down a wild shoot and around a corner. It is the only rapid on the Nottaway for which there is a proper portage through the woods. We looked for, and found it, above the high rock face on the left side of the river. While old and underused, we had no trouble following the distinct path across the moss bed of the forest.
Because of the U-bend in the river, almost all of which fantastic rapids, the path cut away from the rapids, through blueberries, to a swift moving but flatter river below.
We piled our boats and gear at the bottom. We packed our boats one at a time on account of the tight space in the uneven rocky terrain. After I sat in mine, I found myself floating down river backwards while putting my skirt on. A rock made a concerning sound against my hull before I straightened things out.
We found ourselves against a headwind, but with the current under us in spite of the slightly widened river, we made good time. At the end of that lake, we’d move onto a new map and things would get interesting. That is, even more interesting than they already were. The river would drop 200 meters in the next 43 nautical miles.
The river picked up speed. We weren’t exactly in rapids, but we moved fast in the narrow river. Where rocks breached the surface, waves formed around them. We stayed sharp and constantly scanned the waters ahead.
Then we approached the rapids Cachechekuch. We tied ropes to the kayaks and walked them from the rocky shore until the rapids got too big. The stone ground stood a good three feet above the surface, and we raised the heavy boats with difficulty. We tried to carry the boats across the short portage loaded, but they were too heavy.
By the time we had everything near the launch, it was late and we decided to make camp. The woods behind the rocks were too thick, the rocks mostly uneven, but we found a spot atop the rocky hill near the tree line.
We could not put stakes in the ground, so like many other of the rocky camps we’d made, I used rope to tie the tent to whatever could be found: a small tree, rocks, a bush, and a pointy part of the boulder the tent rested on.
A few blueberries grew around the camp.
That night the wind blew fiercely.
Check out some pictures of Erin eating blueberries on the portage!
GPS coordinates: 50.86935, -78.08346