Well---------Bernie Levy, better know as IMAX, has finally done it.
As all are well aware the Gonzo Adventure Club, originally calling ourselves the Gonzo Runners, circa 1977, (since we were runners), has diversified over time, into hiking, biking, camping, socializing, etc. This diversification has been due to both interest in the event and interest in finding things to keep aging bodies moving.
A few years back Bernie got involved with the Gonzos, and brought to us (at least has been trying) the many possibilities of fun ON the water. The biggest accomplishments being over 15 people heading each spring to Maine for the Kenduskeag race.
NOW, on the weekend of June 21st, this interest in getting us involved in more water stuff has culminated with 8 Gonzos paddling canoes on the Bonaventure River in the Gaspesie, Quebec.
(One of the toughest parts of this trip was knowing there were Gonzos climbing Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park at the same time; I wanted to be in both places.)
FRIDAY, June 18th
The trip really started a few weeks ago when Bernie administered a 'certified' flat-water canoe course for Bonaventure participants Ross Mitchell, Kirsten Mitchell, and Shelly Luddington-along with a number of others. Bringing the skills they learned from this they joined Bruce Murphy, Bruce Duffy, Gordon Warnica, Darren Gray, and Bernie Levy at the Marina Friday, June 18th for a 7:00am departure (another thing Bernie seems to have accomplished is making Gonzo Starts later, on a regular basis.)
Canoes were tied onto the trailer and away we go---heading off to Bonaventure, Quebec-a 650km drive to the Baie d'e Chaleur. As Murphy always says we tend to fill the day, and we did it again, turning a 7-hour drive into 10 hours, arriving at 4:00pm. We were to stay at CIME Adventures, outfitters who would be taking us to Lac Bonaventure tomorrow morning, 100+km to the start of the river.
After checking in and confirming, we were off into town for a bite to eat, finding restaurants closed, full, too expensive, bar only (no food), until we got into the 'hotel' restaurant. Prices seemed good, nice menu-----I ordered fish and chips, asking how many pieces-she said 3, I thought this sounds great----fish was basically Highliner fish sticks-if you need description go look in your freezer---nuff said on the quality of supper.
Back to CIME and our TeePee-----fantastic, canvas covered poles, around 20' high, with 9 platform beds (mattresses) circling a BIG fire pit. Fantastic.
SATURDAY, June 19th------Total paddled 6.5Km
It rained lightly all night and we woke up to overcast/cloudy at 5:00am-different time zone, eh!
We had our gear all packed and canoes moved over to the modified school bus (painted in Acadien colours) by 7:45am for the 8:00am departure, joining with 4 others from the Montreal area-At the last minute 4 more people showed up and their canoes(now 8)/ and gear had to be added to the bus-getting real tight.
We were finally on the road at 9:00am for the 3 ½ hour ride to Lac Bonaventure-well, we were on the road for maybe 15 minutes, after which we were on a dirt road, a logging road, sort of a logging road, a flat spot cut through the woods, to what was finally a bit of a grassy path that we drove over as we dropped a few hundred meters down from some where in the Chic Choc mountain range. The final ¼ mile was so tight that we had to close our windows because the branches of the trees would be coming into the bus. Also as part of this drive, we almost (not kidding) had a head on with a BIG friggen logging truck that came out of the fog-this was not on one of the wider parts of the road---also our driver missed a turn in the fog (there were maybe 30 'V's in the roads) and we went a couple miles out of our way-we had no idea where we were.
We arrived around 12:30pm, in the rain/fog, and unloaded our gear and packed the canoes. We were now about 113kms from CIME Adventure (and our cars, 3 or 4 days away) and at an elevation of 350 meters above the camp-requiring we remove that elevation through various Class 2/3, 2, and 1 drops. Kirsten asked an interesting question-"if something happened what would we do?" The basic answer-"address it when it happens!" knowing we are at least a good days paddle from anywhere.
On the water, 10 minutes to cover the Lac and we were into the River, very small at this point-the water was fairly shallow as it was becoming late in the season. With the many logs across the river, shallow spots, and places we had to drag, it took us 3 hours to cover 6.5kms to what we chose as our camping site for the first night----a very small, rocky (with a bit of sand)
bar in the middle of the river---
I kept thanking the technology of the 'self inflating' Thermorest mattresses as Bruce and I pitched our tent on the rocks. The rocks, in general, were mostly the size of soft balls, with some tennis and golf thrown in. I found out the next day that Darren had no mattress-scary. Since we were all wet and cold I guess sleep came easier.
The first thing that had to be establishment was a start time in the morning---my basic question was "When are we putting the canoes in the water?" A compromise was made and a 'paddle' time of 8:00am seemed to be the answer. (from Gordie's 7:00am and Bernie's 9:00am) When you got up was your choice; be ready at 8:00.
SUNDAY, June 20th ------Total paddled 25Km
Alarms were going off at 6:00am, the day looked 'bright' stoves were going, etc. The time to do all necessary things seemed to fill the 2 hours and we were off.
Bernie, our most technical person on white water, was sterning his Applacian, with Ross as his bowman, Bruce M. was in the bow of Darren's 16' Penobscot, Shelly in the bow of Bruce D.'s 16' Penobscot and Kirsten in the bow, Gordon in the stern, of Bernie's 17' Penobscot. For most of the morning it was more stress, shallow spots, seeming we would 'never' make any time. Then we were finally in some good moving water and some nice white water drops. The water was probably moving on it's own at 3 km per hour.
It was then we saw the Moose-Darren had never seen a moose in the wild and we were jesting him every time we saw a sign on the road, etc. Shelly and I were about 100 meters ahead when I saw a Moose on the bank, 5 meters high and back 20 meters. I stopped and gave the 'moose sign'---open hands on top of head (try to look like a rack, eh!)
We then realized there was something wrong-the eye was 'blank', he was stumbling/crashing around a lot -broken leg? He then went into the water down stream from us and was going in circles, not being able to see? not being able to get up either bank? We were guessing he was sick - and in our path.
We sat there for 20 minutes wondering what to do-lots of photo ops. Finally out of bravery or need we decided to go by him-----STUPIDITY may have been another word.
First Bernie and Ross went down the river, slapping paddles in the water and the moose moved onto the shore, up the bank.----Shelly and I followed---just as the Moose decided he was coming back down into the river-DIRECTLY ON A COLLISION COURSE-I told Shelly to keep paddling well I just basically did the geometric math-if he keeps the same path he 'may' miss us. We don't know if he was going by smell, sight, or sound. Bottom line is he 'did' hit the back of the canoe, I 'did' hit him with my paddle, and we 'did' continue down the river.
As part of today we went through what is called the 'Canyon' over a Km of drop after drop, some quite tough-we later noticed on the map that a couple of those we paddled were recommended to be lined (walked)-I remember one that was very tough, but we did it(with some luck) okay.
Beautiful campsite this time, on the corner of the river after a 'nice' drop-tucked well into the woods, big fire pit, everything perfect.. It rained again tonight-seemed to rain every night but all the days, except the first, were sunny.
MONDAY, June 21st--------Total paddled 28.5Km
Same morning routine and we were onto the water for a full day of drops----magical-one drop we did line (Bernie and Darren ran part of it) this was a busy day---pry, draw, cross draw----no draw, bang! The river is just flying and there is more water as every Km goes by. The water is soooooooooooo clear-there are some deep spots over 10 meters that you can see the bottom---it is all rocks, there is no life (ferns, moss etc.) We are now getting into the Salmon areas, this being a 'major' Salmon river.
A big day of paddling.
The campsite was magnificent, Bernie, Darren, Bruce M., and myself set up on the beach (sand, eh!) while Gordon, Ross, and the girls set up in the woods - BIG fire-magical. Darren had everyone tell the stories where their trail names came from; he wants one!
TUESDAY, June 22nd-----Total paddled 53.5Km
Up real early since the sun was shining on the tents on the beach-5:30am, the fog burnt off and what a day was coming. First thing was Darren and Murphy doing a 'float' with the current from above our site, what a hoot.
Similar breakfast routine and we were off, the river was wider, more water, and at times we were moving (per the GPS) at 12kms per hour. We were covering water-there were still some good drops, and lots of fast moving riffle, making you brain dead trying to avoid submerged rocks for continuous 5 minute periods.
Original plans were probably to get out the next day but we were just cruising and now were in the main salmon area and lots of camps, etc. around-really few places to camp, so we decided to cover the 53.5 kms in the one day and stay in one of the Big, Nice, Dry, TeePees, after a hot shower.
We arrived at CIME at 5:00pm to find 'all' the TeePees were gone to a bunch of wet nosed, 8-10 year old kids-we were disappointed but Murphy had a good quote---"Think of all the fun those kids are having?"
We did get a couple tent sites so it was back in our tents BUT we did have the hot showers---Big fire, lots of grub-some from the local IGA, and late into bed.
WEDNESDAY, June 23rd----Drive home
We awoke to a fairly hard rain - maybe it's good-certainly more comfortable - that we are not still up the river. We actually had perfect weather realizing where we were-bit of rain the first afternoon making ourselves fairly cold, rained every night, but it was sunny every day.
Now driving home, it rained hard all day---PERFECT, eh!
Bonaventure River Run - Kirsten
The Gonzo's did it a little differently this year. Instead of a trip climbing up mountains; they chose to go down it, in a canoe! As expected, this trip lived up to all expectations and more! I went into this one, not knowing what to expect, and as it turns out it is probably best I didn't. There were many times when my heart was pitter-pattering! If it wasn't for the faith in my trusty stern partner Gordon, I fear my poor heart would have beat right out of my chest! Despite this, I would do it all over again in a second.
I spend a large amount of time, whenever I am at events without the Gonzo's, bragging about all the things I get to do as an honorary Gonzo. Without this link, I would miss a lot of fun stuff, so for that I thank you all for always being so welcoming.
Well, enough of the mushy stuff…. this trip cannot be described in one word, but a few stand out in my mind…. cold, wet, exhilarating, challenging (both mentally and physically), etc. As requested, I will not get into the play by play of each day but instead I will give my impression of each day.
After the first day, I thought OMG another 4 days of this, and I will go mad! That first day was certainly one of the most mentally challenging days. There was a lot to overcome, i.e., stepping into that freezing cold water for instance, sleeping on rocks for another. However, like a true Gonzo, I got up the next day, peed in the wide open (asked all to gents to turn around of course), and got back in the boat; which lasted for about 5 minutes, at which point Gordon and I dragged all of our stuff out of the canoe, so we could get around a huge log jam.
Day 2 consisted of getting out of the boat a lot, and into that freezing cold water (it never got any warmer). When we got to our posh campsite on day 2, everyone was officially full of adrenaline and marveling in what they had just accomplished. I felt the same, however, my heart did skip a beat when Bernie announced that it is recommended to walk your boat through all of the stuff we faced head on (in the boat)!
Day 3 was my favorite. The sun shone brightly, and at times, the pools of water were so deep and bright green, you could see the bottom. I remember at one point saying to Gordon it was so serene, I felt like we were the only two people on earth.
Day 4 was the pound for the finishing line. After finally figuring out where we were, we realized, that we could easily finish a half day early, so despite the incredible headwind, we pushed on and eventually saw the lovely vision of Tipee's around the bend!
These trips I get to go on always succeed in challenging parts of me I barely knew existed, and this one is no exception. There were a few close calls with rocks and trees, and I arrived home with more bumps, bruises, scrapes and bug bites than I left with, but who cares when I get bragging rights to tell people what I just accomplished!
I know that my buddy Shelly and I grow closer with everyone one these trips, and we often find ourselves laughing at whatever outrageous thing we are doing at the time, and saying "there are not too many people I could do that with."
Thanks again folks for yet another fabulous Gonzo adventure! See you next time!
Bonaventure River Run - Dipper
Oddly enough, the birds wake up and start singing around 4:00 AM in the morning.
You really notice this when you're camping. Some primordial trigger expects you to
get up when sky lightens and the birds sing. The little nap from 4:00-6:00 AM blinked
by in an instant.
OK, I'm awake. It's Day #3 on our traipse down the Bonaventure Riviere in Gaspe, Quebec.
On our multi-day excursions, this is usually the day that you become "trail tough".
Of course, you have to get up first. My body is indescribably sore from head to toe.
The past few days have been quite eventful. We drove up to Bonaventure on Friday and stayed in a
great big teepee with an indoor firepit that was situated right alongside the river. A gorgeous
start to the trip.
Saturday didn't see us on the river until almost 1:00 PM, after a long,
tortuous bus shuttle in the rain. Every kilometer we drove would have to be paddled in canoes
going downriver. Man, that bus ride took
We started cold & wet on the Lac Bonaventure
and that nice, easy, lake paddling was the last use of a clean paddle stroke for the next 24
hours. This part of the river is described in the canoeing world as "bony - requiring lots of
maneuvering because of the abundance of obstacles, mostly rocks". In
this case, the water was so shallow that we had to get in and out of the canoes dozens of times,
so I have a new canoe term: "schlep - to pull along heavily, like a heavy load against a
Our total distance Saturday was something like 7 kms, we were all soaked and tired and beat
up. Suppertime brought me another surprise. My biggest "dry bag" was a dud. It's actual use
in the great outdoors will be determined at some later date, but at kilometer 110 on the
Bonaventure, all I knew was that most of my stuff was as wet as I was. Like Kirsten said,
it was a very mentally challenging day.
Sunday woke up sunny and cold. Stepping into cold, wet
clothes was and will always be a dicey situation. The day warmed up
nicely, but the river obstacles didn't let up any. We had to negotiate
no small number of tight streams and logjams. I actually enjoyed this
section quite a bit. Lots of tree overhang and tight, little waterways. The air smelled
like musty, early summer. Even with all the portages, we were making better headway than
Just before lunch, we had the infamous encounter with the "Mad Moose of Kilometer
100". Seeing a moose in the wild is always memorable
and usually a wondrous event. Realizing that he was sick (brain worm disease) and that
turning blind circles was all that he could expect until death released him, made this
a very sad moment. After waiting and watching him for 40 minutes, we decided to try and
squeeze ourselves by him on the river (now a boisterous 10 meters wide).
I have some vivid memories of the moose rushing the canoe with Shelly
and Duffy in it. I could hear Darren yelling. I wished those images
weren't in my head.
But the day wasn't finished being memorable yet. The latter part of the
afternoon had us in some whitewater that was easily above the skill level of us
"rookie" bow-persons. Assuming the patient lives, it was a great way to learn pries,
draws and cross-draws. Immovable rocks punished our canoes and psyches for any little
error. It was a long, wet, nerve-wracking afternoon.
I am a firm believer in the yin/yang of all things. The tough, slogging, wet hours we
had already spent were just money in the bank for what was to follow. After a few
decidedly bigger than average drops, we were rewarded with a gorgeous campsite
(thank-you Imax), a cessation of the rain (Sun god), a late sunset and our first
campfire. Actually, we were very lucky on this trip. All our mealtimes were
carbo-filled and rain-free. Welcome to the first day of Summer!
So, I'm still in my sleeping bag, lying on the ground, trying to find my 'mojo' so that
I can get up and started on the day. Breakfast was interrupted by some glorious
sunshine that you could feel deep in your bones. The internal plumbing kicked in early
(not an insignificant event on a multi-day canoeing/camping trip), and life was good.
The paddling the next few hours will bring a smile to my face when I'm
an old 'geezer' in the Gonzo retirement home. The water reminded me of a lagoon, clear down
to 20+ feet, the shade of deep blue impossible to describe, the rapids a little more spaced out
(and now within our recently acquired skill range), the canyon walls breathtaking in that
morning light and the smells absolutely delightful. The whole day was a blessing.
Our campsite for the night was on the sandy beach at a river junction
and I finally got in my first Gonzo swim, followed quickly by the infamous Legs/NoLegs
super-hero duo, now full-fledged members of the Gonzo Swim team with 3 official swims
(Katahdin 2000, Lonesome Lake 2003 and Bonaventure 2004). Bernie did up some
by the fire and we stayed up till past dark!!!
The morning of day #4 was delicious. I woke up at 5:00 AM and it was all I could do to
stay in the sack until 5:30, when I just had to jump up and into the river, letting out
a hoot and a holler for all to hear. What a day to be alive!
Darren had an idea for some pseudo-canyoning (a pale version of Kirsten's canyoning
experience, but Hey!, it's all we had) and we got a quick thrill by jumping into the
tributary with our PFDs on and getting pushed out into the main stream. I took a few
good thumps on my derriere, the water was freezing and we had yet another newbie for
the Gonzo Swim Team.
By now, the river is pretty flat except for some nice drops every 10-15 minutes. We
have become so blase about the whitewater. Unfortunately, by paddling 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
for 2 days, we have picked up the 3-4 hours we expected to paddle on Day #5 and it quickly
looks like this is the last day. We see a lot of salmon
fishermen, do some nice drops, fight some wind, but... the trip is over. By noon, we can "smell
the barn" and we arrive back at the
in time for supper, showers, a campfire and a solid night's sleep.
This Bonaventure trip was run by Bernie Levy (Imax), who conceived,
setup and ran the whole show, including making sure we at least had the
basic, minimum whitewater skill set (completely untested) before we
started. He made up the paddling duo's (brilliant) and kept us from
getting in above our heads in any situation. Thanks to Bernie for the incredible trip
and sign me up for the next one.
Bonaventure River Run - Scrounger
Thanks From The Bow
Over the past year and four months, I have had the opportunity to do two things that by themselves would be classed as "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences. In 2003 I was able to complete a hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and then in June of 2004, I was able to do a white-water canoe trip down the Bonaventure River in the Gaspe, a trip over extensive rapids with significant drops, that for a non-swimmer such as myself, as recently as two years ago I would have considered foolhardy. Maybe some would still hold that view but to those, let me reassure you that I am still here.
But here I am, in my 59th year on this earth, with these experiences under my belt. Paddling the Bonaventure particularly has caused me to pause and reflect. "How could I have such a complete change in attitude toward paddling, and white-water paddling in particular?" Part of it I must recognize is the bravado that comes from realizing that I did the hike, and that gave me the courage to attempt white-water, an experience that I was far less comfortable with.
I now realize that neither could have been accomplished without a great deal of support from people I am fortunate to call friends and family. Firstly I owe a great debt to Linda who has never fussed about my male menopausal adventures. Now anyone who knows Linda also knows that she is not one to sit silently while I do as I wish without some regard for common sense. She did not, however, put pressure on me to stop these adventures when it was obvious that I was subjecting myself to an effort that I was not prepared for. In the case of the canoe trip I was also exposing our daughter to the same risks. Now Kirsten is a mature twenty-something woman so there is a definite element of free choice here but sometimes I think we are close enough that there is an element of "if-you-can-do-it-so-can-I" to our mutual approach to adventures. Linda has tolerated these expeditions and has never even attempted to move to an unknown address while I was away.
On The River
People with more knowledge of canoeing than I, made necessary decisions about boat partners before we left. That was an important factor in the safety of all on the trip. I have no trouble with being labeled the weakest link on the trip, and for that reason I was paired with Bernie, the one with the most canoeing experience.
The first day and a half on the river was tiring, with portages and bottoming out in shallow water. The rapids we had to navigate became more intimidating by the second day. I was of the mindset that if I do as Bernie wants, we would get through the river without great difficulty. He is giving me lessons in how to read the river, and from that; I am gaining the little bit of knowledge that makes a novice like me the most dangerous.
Bernie also has compensated for my physical limits by keeping my strokes to the left side of the canoe -what has developed as my preferred side. Some of his instruction to me have become amusing - because of a physical limit I have developed in my right shoulder, I am unable to master a cross-draw to make the canoe go to the right. I have to do it from the left side by using a pry stroke, and in shallow water when we were close to shore, Bernie learned to communicate urgency but telling me to "push away" using the shoreline on the bottom of the river. As Bernie will tell you, he is a person who likes to see a stroke mastered, but I can confirm that he is also a survivalist.
On the afternoon of the second day, one of those memory-moments occurred. I can tell by the roar beyond a sharp left turn there is something significant coming up. First, there is the sharp left to negotiate, and we don't do it cleanly, getting hung-up with Shelly and Bruce, who are also hung-up, but now we are on the outside of them, which means we do the drop first. There is a rock wall on the right funneling water, through what, I later estimated, was a three-foot drop. We get pointed toward this chasm, and I know I have to "push-away" to get us clear, but at the bottom I must draw to keep us off this tongue of rock on the right. Nothing to it ??? Then Bernie yells "It's do or die Ross !!!!" and that is my first clue that this is something special. We were successful, but afterward when I looked back at Shelly and Bruce coming through, I silently murmur "Holy Shit!"
Now doing something like that can be a confidence builder, but the river has a way of dealing with overconfidence. On the third day, the others had gone ahead while we took some photos. Bernie and I found ourselves at a significant drop that had two distinct routes - one channel through a rock ledge at the right of the river and another on the left. Beside the drop on the left side was a calm pool so we headed there to scout the situation. When we were there, it could be seen that the drop on the left had a large rock at the bottom of the tongue of water that dropped off a shelf of rock that extended all the way across the river to another tongue of water on the right side of the river. That tongue did not have a rock at the bottom. From the safety of this pool on river-left I concluded, with my swelling confidence, that we needed to get back to river-right. That meant crossing back over the fast-moving water channeling through the tongue on the left of the river from the pool that is between the left bank of the river and the left channel. This would require power. This I concluded from my position in the bow and then made a critical error for a bow person - I committed to action before the stern was ready! I started my power stroke, totally ignoring Bernie's now frantic instructions to hold us in the pool. One-person power was not enough! We wound up wedged across the tongue. Fortunately, we were pointed downstream enough so that the water would still hit our canoe at an angle or it could have been worse. I got out of the canoe on the rock ledge in the center of the river, and then almost compounded the difficulty by looking over the rock ledge to a clear still pool below the ledge to the right of where this tongue of water was foaming around the large rock. I could step over this ledge, stand on the bottom and guide the canoe down the tongue, without thought as to how I would get Bernie across this powerful tongue of water because he was on the shore side. My attempt to step into the pool was aborted when I straddled the bare rock without ever touching the bottom of the pool. It is amazing how clear and deep accompany each other in these pristine waters. Bernie's clearer thinking prevailed! He was able to rope the canoe through the tongue, get back in the canoe from the shore below this waterfall, paddle around the rock into the calm, deep pool on his own and pluck me off this rock ledge so that we could continue unscathed to rejoin the others.
Contemplation of that moment has led me to appreciate, more than before, how lucky I was to be matched with someone with Bernie's experience. If I had been the one making all the decisions, my impatience would have resulted in compounded errors, making worse a serious situation. So I now realize that I owe Bernie, not only for the experience that made this canoe trip possible, but for the knowledge that kept us safe. Thanks Bernie !!!!
But - it doesn't end there! As I said in the beginning - a year ago I had the good fortune to be hiking the Appalachian Trail. Reflecting upon that moment on the river and the need to say a public thanks to Bernie also caused me to reflect that if it had not been for Gordon "Gimp" Warnica's extensive planning and woodsmanship my hike, could have ended, like so many others, in the frustration of an incomplete hike. Most of the postal meal drops for us went off without a hitch, and Gordon's foresight in acquiring both maps and the guidebook made the hike a lot easier. A "scrounger" needs to pick a hiking partner carefully. I was able to do that. Thanks Gimp! Your planning and foresight went hand-in-hand with the physical effort that got us through the summer of 2003.
There - three overdue thanks-you's. Already my first year of retirement is associated with positive memories.
Bonaventure River Run - No Legs
"NO Legs"..."Cross Draw" (My new favourite thing)!... Guess Who? If you don't know, just ask my trusty stern partner Bruce Duffy- He knows all about it! Yup, it's me that fortunate short gal who has been so lucky to meet the GONZO's six years ago, due to her best bud Kirsten and her father Ross Mitchell. Of these six years, five consisted of planning hiking trips, but not this year! Nope! We, eight brave souls, canoed the Bonaventure River in the Gaspe. And, what an adventure it was! Let me take you through some of the highlights of my river experience as a rookie bowman…
The oversized tepee the first night was Amazing! With the inside campfire, foam mattress (luxury) and of course the company, what a way to start the journey… Well, that's what I thought. Our first on the river campsite was horrible! It was rocky, cold… brrr… just thinking about it! But, low and behold thereafter, it couldn't have been any more perfect. Other campsite highlights included, the food; esp. the Bannock- Great Idea Bernie! And, Ross- you're an awesome oatmeal maker! … Campfire stories… I hope we did a good job Darren in filling you in on everyone's trail names? And, Kirsten it wouldn't be a trip without those skittles! :
As I just mentioned the trip started out a bit cold. No, not a bit, a lot! But, as the days went on the weather got nicer and nicer- Thank God! I the SUN! And, Kirsten we made a wise rain suit purchase, eh?
The River Water
Number One- It was cold! But, most vividly the clear green water holes stand out in my mind. Being able to see the fish swim by and view deep down to the rocks below was serene. But, in addition too… and in keeping with my perfect swim record… I did it again! … I took the Dippers advice- Splash! Thanks Bruce Murphy. Woooo to your early morning dips, too!
Interpret which ever way you must, but I think what stands out most in my mind is that new favourite stroke of mine- the cross draw… it came in handy when all I could hear from my stern… "there's a rock ahead, there's a rock ahead …." continuously. Also, I enjoyed our lunch breaks when Gordon would show me a new rock with every break we took. It worked Gordon, thanks; I now have an amazing piece of the trip for me to remember it by!
Pretty neat to see but, not so pretty crossing. Or should I say climbing, dodging and the saying that best describes it- "Its Portage Time"! - Not, again!
I did not forget; how could you! Let me just say that I thought I was on a leisurely canoe trip, not an "Outwardbound" and "SURVIVOR" expedition. In combination with the freezing morning temperatures (literally) on the first day, the rain, and the heavy lifting during log jams, dodging rocks, etc… Nothing compares to my encounter with the MOOSE! Honestly, words can never describe it… Let's just say it was a very close call! The gruelling suffering of the battered moose is a thought I could deal with to forget, but Duffy and I will never forget the charging blind beasts' accuracy when "thud" its hoof hit our canoe. But, like I said at the beginning… my trusty stern partner… well, he-Duffy… he smack, dabbed the T-Grip right in that Moose's chest!
While ending my story here I would like to say thanks again GONZO's for the invite, and thank you all for adding to my adventure repertoire.
Would I do it again? I would do it in a heartbeat!