George River Solo 2018
Start Time: 7/26/2018 1:38 PM
Distance / Total (km): 9.53 / 149.4
Got up around 10:30, sleeping in the Marmot and adding 100% cloud cover does not motivate me very much, if it did I would have gotten up at 8:30. I moved to the Pod for tea & oatmeal and the usual morning routine. I left at 1:38 later than I had hoped but a 3-hour prep time it is really about as good as I could reasonably expect.
There was a cool wind from the NNW, I passed the marked campsite, not close enough for a good look but there was probably something. I took a bit of a circle route by accident; this set me up for a headwind while finding the exit bay.
I located the channel to pond #1, what a letdown! What appeared on the map to be navigable was not at all. It was full of rocks and boulders with a couple of inches of flowing water there was no part of this that one could “paddle”. No floating either, the canoe rested on at least one rock and usually many more. I paused to formulate a plan; the narrow ribbon of water was about 5 metres wide with a few constrictions that were just wide enough to drag a canoe thru. On each side of the channel were wide areas of short but thick bushes, while these looked like a potentially smooth surface to drag or portage they were actually just as rocky as the streambed. Any attempt to portage would be dangerous, the chances of twisting an ankle or worse very high. I would need to do as I have often done before, drag my fully loaded canoe inch by inch while “dredging” small rocks as I went. It was a tough slog with treacherous footing; I went for one tumble but escaped with a minor bruise. The distance was only about 300m; it had taken me 40 minutes to complete. I arrived at pond #1 and took a break to recover and have a mini pity-party, it was at this point I realized my GoPro had not been recording; I didn’t even have the energy to get out the still camera and take a picture of the boulder field.
I paddled across the pond to the next channel section that would take me to pond #2 it was much wider and appeared to have only a few large boulders scattered about. The map indicates, “paddle through marsh” but I quickly found that the water was only a couple of inches deep, not enough to paddle my heavily laden canoe and just barely enough to float without me. I walked the boat where possible and grabbed the painter line to pull through the shallow parts, while this was frustrating it was nowhere near as exhausting as the previous stream. The distance for this section was about 600m and took 40 minutes to complete, twice the distance but same time as part one with considerably less energy expended.
When I reached pond #2 the wind was really blowing, the skies started to clear adding to the typical late afternoon boost to the wind. Across the pond to the final transit into Adelaide Lake, I was not sure what to expect other than it would be the shortest of the three. I found a fast flowing but shallow CI, if one was coming downstream it would be a complete bump and grind, pulling the canoe upstream the 200m was actually not too bad at least in relative terms. At last, I have reached Adelaide Lake.
I paddled on into a strong headwind and directly into the sun, which made visibility very difficult. My maps indicate a possible camp perhaps 2 km away, I decided to aim for it while checking out the shoreline as I went. I saw a few spots that had some potential and made a mental note in case I found nothing better. I came around a small bend and ahead saw a large outcrop 3 or 4 metres high, this was the marked location, and from a distance it had all the signs of a good spot. There was a good landing with a short but steep climb to the top of the outcrop where I found a small but excellent flat area of moss that would be perfect. This was a genuine campsite, the first I had encountered, a fire ring, a second and third tent pad just behind some trees and the first man made object I had found so far (a large slightly chewed empty peanut butter jar). I had enough space to set up both the Pod and the Marmot although they were “nose to nose”. By the time they were set up the mosquitoes started to swarm, inside I lit a coil and tried to recover from what had been the most physically demanding day so far.
Although I missed the actual sunset, I could see a red glow out the front window while the stars and rising moon were visible out the rear. Eventually I made a bag of Teriyaki Chicken with Rice (Mountain House), always a reliable fill up! I had a muesli bun with jam and chocolate to finish off the meal plus of course copious amounts of tea. After the initial flurry the bugs seemed to have gone away, I put out the coil, the Pod remained bug free. It was getting quite late, time to move over to the Marmot. While I prefer the Pod on a clear night because it affords a view of the sky the tent would give me a completely bug free night and morning. It always seems that the harder the day is the later I stay up, it was past 3:00am by the time I finished my notes!
Tomorrow I will reach the border and the height of land, should be simple, one short drag and a single 100 metre portage and then it’s all downhill from there!