Rapids and more rapids, until we found a flat section of water, and then a big rapid we’d need to portage around.
We decided to line it. We tied rope to the bow and stern and began pulling the rope along the water as we scurried and leaped across rocks above. Sometimes I walked along the boats in the water, bracing against the current and risking my footing with every step, to guide them through tricky channels or around difficult obstacles. Sometimes the current flowed too strong.
My rope attached to the tip of the stern, Erin’s the tip of the bow. From atop a bolder, we tried to guide the boat between rocks a bit too far away. The current grabbed the kayak, flooded the cockpit, and we held it with all of our strength. The boat looked ready to break, and Erin ready to fly off the rock. The force of the river, boat, and rope working against her, most likely exceeded the 120 pounds she yielded for leverage. Her ferociousness couldn’t help her against the laws of physics. “Let go!” I yelled over the roar of the river.
She did, and the free bow out and, though water logged, the boat went back to behaving like a boat instead of a parachute. This happened twice more. Somewhere in the process we lost the fishing rod I’d made. We should not have lined the boats. It had seemed like it would be easier than carrying the gear, but it was not. It was more dangerous.
Above an island, the river pored over another large shelf. And in the woods, we found a portage trail, or at least, enough of one to make it work. At one intersection, we accidentally followed a moose trail into the woods, but then returned to our path. We stopped for blueberries, and I laid down to rest my back for a bit.
We left the trail to hike across low rocks standing just above the river, and put our boats in the water at the bottom of the rapids. The whole thing took us more time than it needed to. But we were back on the water and on our way.
After shallow rapids across a wider section of the river, we made camp at the top of the next rapids, a mile and a half below. The water again funneled through a narrow section, and some 200 meters of rocks spread out to the right. After climbing across them, we walked through some shallow water to an island on a flat lake. We pitched our tent on a shelf halfway up the house sized boulder.
Beyond the lake, we found a small stream coming out of the woods and refilled our water supply. With all the portaging, and the streams we were now finding frequently, we’d cut back substantially on the amount of water we carried. We filled up enough for the night and the next day.
The sun set over the field of rocks, and the rapids made music behind us. Our boats lay at the end of the portage ready to launch on the morning.
Check out some great pictures here!
GPS coordinates: 50.947058, -78.368074