Friday, August 23, 2019

Day 73

We launched into alternating light and moderate rapids. Avoided rocks, headed for V’s, stayed close to one another, but not too close, and rocketed down the river.

The river opened up, and became shallow. Large eddies danced behind the many rocks. The landscape descended visibly as we slid downhill with the water.

Then the river narrowed and the rapids picked up again, bigger than before but still manageable. Looking at the water spilling out below us, the left side of the river looked easier than the right where the last rush had spilled us, so we turned our bows upstream and crossed.

Then we were flying forward again, dodging rocks and staying sharp, while straining to see farther ahead. I wasn’t sure, but I saw what might, or might not, have been the top of a shelf. I couldn't get a good look at it from my cockpit while in the race.

With an abundance of caution, we pulled over at some rocks on the left side of the river, and beheld an enormous shelf. Had we continued even a little farther, the hidden waterfall would have reared up and pulled us down.

Small flat rock islands dotted the left side of the shelf, and we walked the boats down the water in between them, and over there surfaces climbing down to lower levels carrying the heavy boats. We paddled what short distances we could as the falls to our right celebrated the wilderness with abandon.

A last section of portage, for which we unloaded the boats, took us across flat low rocks and a few ponds off the river left. We put in at a stone beach at the bottom of the falls where the river widened, but on account of the descent, still rushed and pummeled. Terrifying, we loved it, and rode out to slightly calmer waters below along the route that seemed least dangerous when we’d looked and planned from the rocks above.

The fastest most terrifying section of the river, the wildest descent, was behind us. We paddled onto the next map and finished much closer to shabbat than we would have liked. The river still moved quickly, though not nearly as quickly as it had for all of the last week. We stopped at a hill covered in tall grass, but the rocky ground beneath the grass would make it hard to pitch the tent. We searched a beach, to steep to pitch a tent, and the forest above, too thick.

As the sun descended in the sky, we decided to try the left side of the river instead of the right, now far apart compared to the narrow runs above. The sun shone in our eyes and made finding a site even harder, until we saw a cabin.

Inside, we found mice and the thick odor of mice droppings. Outside, we found abundat raspberries and a perfect spot to pitch our tent.

Check out pictures here!

GPS coordinates: 51.059397, -78.630188

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