Weekend with AM: My Crazy Canoe Adventure (Part II)
I thought that we would chill at our awesome campsite (did I mention we were lucky enough to hit a rock by an awesome campsite? Sorry!) and just paddle back upstream the 7km and take the train back on Sunday. Yes, I am lazy!
So, BF and I spent the Day 2 reading, lounging, napping. 🙂
C and B were much more hardworking at were at work repairing our broken canoe. All three of the guys I went with are good campers and I felt very safe with them the entire time. They are also very resourceful, and suggested we repair the seams with some pine sap – a natural waterproofing resin material.
We gathered some pine sap from the pine trees around our campsite. C & B warmed the sap to mould onto our canoe repair. Then, they built a “bumper” contraption with two large sticks they tied to the canoe with rope in order to hold the sticks in place. The “bumper” is to protect the repair, so that if rocks hit the canoe, it will scrape the sticks and not the patch repair. (Yes, I travel with smart cookies ;)).
On Day 3, we decided to test out our canoe by heading downstream to the-point-of-no-return aka Pogamasing, and re-evaluate our plan/options. Remember, we still have one good canoe (the rented plastic one). We loaded the plastic canoe with our packs and the broken canoe with just C & B, and off we went.
We were much more careful this time. BF and I scouted out any areas of rushing waters and shouted out where we saw/ran into rocks. The water levels were extremely low, and many times we had to get out and walk our canoe over the river beds. It was a long and tedious process.
We must have paddled at least 15 km in Day 3, and we got off the water just before dusk. It’s dangerous to paddle without the light, since you can’t see where you’re going (and where there are rocks!). We camped, ate, and slept.
We paddled all day of Day 4. We were determined to make it to “The Elbow” but the conditions were tough! When the waters weren’t ridiculously shallow (I could walk through the rapids with water hitting my ankles, only!), we had a strong wind that was blowing us back upstream. It was a miserable day of paddling until we finally reached some calm waters. Then we all sang Disney songs. OK, just BF and I. 🙂
We ran into a couple with a much better map than ours, and determined that we had about 8km left in our journey, but it was starting to get dark. The safe thing to do was to camp an extra night, and to head out in the morning. The problem was were supposed to be back by Sunday, and the rangers had taken our information and would check with the outfitting company we had to return the canoe to if we made it back safe and sound. Not to mention I had to work Monday.
The crazy thing was, at our last camp site, the previous campers left behind a stash of food. Mixed nuts, raisins, Doritos, crackers, sunscreen, and a GOOD map! It was a miracle 🙂 We went a little delirious, throwing our newfound food in the air and cheering.
Other than that, the last camp night was terrible! We stopped near a swamp (campsites are sparse and far in between), and there were a gazillion bugs. I put up our tent and stayed until morning. I did not want to venture out to feed mosquitoes.
Day 5 was a crazy day. We knew we were nearing the end. But we were tired. Itchy. Dirty. And half delirious, at times. There were shallow waters, we pressed on. We were out of food, aside from marshmellows and peanut butter. We pressed on. There were more rapids and portages, and we pressed on.
When finally, we reached “The Elbow”! Yes, we did it! In our broken, patched up canoe with pine sap and a man-made canoe bumper, we made it to the bottom! I was so happy, I kept making gestures pointing to my elbow! 🙂