May 17, 2013
I headed to Hal's camp where we would load up his car for the ride up to Machias to meet Nanook. I had planned on taking my Courier but in the end opted for my OT 158, the Hogged Back Saint. I know this boat like the back of my hand and have so many miles on her I just feel like I'm settling into home when it comes to loading and paddling her. We, of course, made a late night of it despite needing to make an early start. Typical Scooter and Hal!
After a three plus hour ride we finally hooked up with Nanook, did some shopping, loaded all of our gear and boats on his ride and headed out to the putin. That was one packed vehicle!
|Three Boats and Nanook|
|Lots O' Gear|
|Just Enough Room for the Skinny Guy|
|Oh Scooter, look what I found!|
|Another Bad Joke|
|Loving my new chair!|
|"What's the meaning of life Hal?" ask Scooter|
|Nice View To End The Day|
May 18, 2013
Woke up to a sunrise on the lake that just made me sit and watch instead of packing. What a pretty sight. Although is was a little chilly the suns rays were warming me up quickly.
|Morning View From The Tent|
|Camp at 4th Lake|
During the night I kept waking up feeling like I was going to puke. Then the rain started and it came down steady. I had not put a tarp over my tent to keep it as dry as I could and knew it would be a wet affair in packing it up. We had a wet breakfast and packed as quick as we could. Hal wanted to go back up the lake to find the Eastern Canoe Trail. As we paddled back up the lake the wind kicked up and I turned to head to the outlet. Nanook soon did the same but headed way out into the lake. My mistake was keeping closer to shore and the wind soon was gusting enough to make whitecaps and was quartering into me. I soon got blown almost into shore and was shipping water. As well the rain started coming down.
I knew I had pulled into another campsite and decided to check it out. There was a large berm of sand from the waves, a testament to the power of the wind and water. Behind that was a lower area with a nice wide open area with two fire pits and some protection from the wind. I didn't know about the the other boys but I wanted to stay at this place as I started to puke my guts out. In all the years I've been paddling I have never been sick, sore yes, hurt a little yes, but sick like this NO. I was miserable. In the meantime while waiting for the others the wind kicked up big time.
Nanook landed first and said paddling should be done for the day. Hal soon joined us and it was decided to make a fluff day. We did maybe a half mile. We moved the firepit further into the woods and setup several tarps to ward off the rain. We soon had a good fire going, some food cooking and tents up. I will have to say if I recall correctly Hal and Nanook decided on making a mixture of chicken soup with a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew mixed in. It almost drove me over the edge while they chuckled and guffawed and shoveled the mix down their maws declaring a culinary delight.
May 20, 2013
Woke up to another wet and over cast day. We packed early to try to beat any wind and headed to 3rd Lake. The wind never came but the rain did. Not that hard rain but a mist that seemed to trickle into every open area and make you moist. As in past trips with this type of weather wearing glasses just turns into a nightmare. One can't see with the lenses all misted over and one can't see when you need them to see but put them away. This section of river was quite easy and we made the lake early in the day.
Once on Third Lake we started looking for campsites, one disappointment after another! I saw a long beach across the lake and Nanook and I headed for it. It turned out to be a nice spacious site and we decided to make it home for the night. Now due to being sick as hell the day before I was stupid and didn't setup tent right nor the tarp over it so I woke to a damp wet/damp sleeping bag and tent. To me there's nothing worse then at the end of a long day climbing into a wet bag and tent. It was on my mind all day long! We pitched camp setting up tarps over the cooking area first then our tents. I was hoping the wind would help dry things out but it was just too damp out and didn't put my odds on it.
|Hal Enjoying the Sun|
|Nanook As Well|
|Through the Trees|
|What Hal's Looking At|
Tarp Adds An Extra Vestibule!
|Each Pic Is Taken By One Of The Three Of Us|
May 21, 2013
Sometime in the night I woke to sound of rain on the tarp. Goddamn It was all I could think and slowly nodded off again. When I opened up my eyes again it was a steady rain and just couldn't bring myself to get out of the warm bag despite hearing someone rooting around. I laid there for a long while just trying bring myself to face another shitty weather day.
When I finally got up it was coming down steady and I made coffee while Nanook packed up his gear. Hal wasn't in camp which was odd as he's an early riser. I took my cup of joe and headed back to my tent and sat in the doorway looking out at the weather and thought to myself that perhaps I was getting old for this. I was down to one layer of dry clothes for another three days, the water on the connecting streams between the lakes was falling, and the rain was really killing me. I had already done enough of these "wet" trips in my lifetime! It was one of those depressing mornings.
We finally packed up and paddled back up the lake to the a gut to reach the arm of the lake that would take us to the outlet and headed down that. When we got to the river we could hear moving water but no signs for portages. Hal was in the lead and pulled over. Ahead lay a rock chocked mess with not enough water to find a clean run just enough water to pin a boat or hurt a paddler in a flash!
|Hal Says, "Hummmm!"|
Hal went next and swung his canoe out into the rollers but kept getting the boat hung up on rocks. It took him a while but he finally got around it and then found a place where he could climb back in and shoot on down. I was still at the top and started lining and almost did the same thing as Nanook slipping on the veggies on the rocks so opted to stick closer to the shore and dragged my boat over a few rocks, but still have to kick the boat out into the current again to line it round. Now during my lining down session another party of two came barreling down out of control and I had to let go of one my front line so they could pass almost hitting my boat. Damn but boat was almost out of my grip! I managed to grab my line back and pulled her back in. I finally found a place to run the tail end of the rapids. Even then I bounced over and against rock after rock but managed to stay upright and dry. The other party swamped but managed to get their boat to shore.
Taking a breather at an eddie we waited for the other party to show, I guess to make sure they were ok. Turned out they were a father and son deal and they were having a worse time then us on this river section. As we talked I could see that I could see my own breath, it was chilling off. The three of us took lead again and it was more rock dodging, no path on the water to speak of.
Hal and Nanook were ahead of me when I heard some yelling and then a familiar sound, the sound of a boat hitting a rock hard followed by some swears! Someone was in the water! I came around the bend and there was a drop with a chute cutting hard to river right and it was a jet stream. Hal decided to pole through and careened into a boulder and flipped. As I approached the top of the drop I could see his bucket getting sucked into a hydraulic and then spit back out into an eddie on river left. I ran the drop clean and got his bucket and looked across shore to see that Nanook had collected most of the yard sale. It took Hal a bit but he bailed out and came across to where we were. It was time for a powwow.
We stood on the bank of this thin stream while Hal repacked only to have two D-rings rip out while he tightened down his straps, bailed our own boats, had a can of liquid courage and had our discussion. The facts were the river was dropping even though it was raining steady, we came packed for better weather and no one had a lot of dry gear left, and yet again the weather was shit! We were above Second Lake and headed for it where we decided to take out on Stud Mill Road at the top of First Lake. It took a couple of hours to get there where Nancook would walk back ten miles back to the car. In this neck of the woods anyone driving by would certainly help out and give a ride and were hoping on that. Hal and I bulldogged all the gear and canoes up to the road and began what we thought would be a long wait in wind and spitting rain. We had decided to go back to Hal's camp where there was heat, a washer and dryer and Nanook had never been before so it was a done deal.
Within an hour and a half Nanook was back with the car. It turns out that a Game Warden checking beaver dams came across him and gave him a ride back to his car. That was sweet! We loaded up and picked up Hal's car in Machias and started our road trip back to Cousin's Island.