Monday, August 27, 2007

Above the Falls - August 1, 2007

Making Time

We woke up early and broke camp by 10:30, our plan was to make significant distance today. For the next two days we needed to make good time on the river to make sure that we arrived at Virginia Falls on the expected date. Our plan was to camp close to the falls on August 2 so that we could canoe a short distance and arrive on the 3rd before noon.

The day was sunny and hot and the paddling was strenuous. The river had good current and we averaged 10 - 15 km/hr. in three shifts of one and one half hours. We found the vistas quite spectacular with the Sunblood range of the Mackenzie mountains dominating river left and the Ragged range on river left.

Many small creeks flowed into the river creating gravel bars and silt deposits along the way. These were excellent places to stop and have our snack breaks. As the day progressed, however, we found it increasingly difficult to find the gravel bars to make camp. We anticipated staying at Flood Creek where there was an excellent campsite on a large gravel bar. When we got there, however, we waved at the Rub-a-Dub 8 rafters who already occupied the site. We had hoped to find another gravel bar campsite further down the river, but instead found silt and sand. We were all getting tired at this point and started to get irritable about finding a camp site. Just beyond our endurance for the day was an excellent campsite at Hell Roaring Creek. As it was we settled for silt and sand for a second night in a row.

When we finally settled on a place to camp we had plenty of time to set up and to prepare so few portages that this trip entails. dinner. We camped against some scrub bushes where we could see the evidence of recent moose activity; both scats and footprints. In the evening under the mosquito netting we enjoyed some very good scotch and sang some blues songs with guitar accompaniment. I have a Martin backpacker guitar that I made a waterproof case for before setting out on the trip. It's a little heavy, but worth while having especially on a trip with so few portages.

Our total kilometers traveled today was 43.5 km.

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