Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 15: Monday, 08-31-09

Lakes / Rivers Traveled:

Witchwood River

Travel Time: 10:39

Distance: 14.0 miles / 22.5 km

We wanted to get an earlier start this morning.We have said that a few times. I woke up at 05:43 am. It didn’t get as cold last night. I think I need to wear some socks and maybe some long underwear. Sometimes it’s been just cool enough to feel uncomfortable.

At 06:05 am I was out of the tent, then I yelled over to Dave to make sure he was awake. It was cloudy out, but some clouds were moving out. There were still some dark ones hanging around to the north. I started the fire, then put the coffee on. By now you know out routine in the morning. I get up start the fire, put on the coffee, Dave cooks and I do the dishes. Dave was out of the tent at 06:40 am.

Dave cooked up some more Sturdiwheat pancakes and bacon.

On the water at 08:27 am. The first portage after our campsite was on river left.

The portage was marked with a new blaze on a cedar tree.

The portage started on an incline and continued for 105 meters. There was an old outboard engine at the take-out (UTM # 56). The portage was muddy toward the put-in (UTM # 57).

The second portage that wasn’t marked on my map was on river right (UTM 58). There were new blazes along this trail. Some parts of the new trail deviated from the old portage because of the many deadfalls. One area of the new trail wasn’t canoe friendly for Dave who was portaging the canoe.

There was a log at the take-out that had been cut, but it should have been cut completely away. It still blocked access to the take-out. The put-in (UTM # 59).

We should have tracked the canoe up this section instead of portaging. The only thing about this section I see the need for a portage would be in low water where it would be quite boney.

Next were three areas of fast water one right after another. We paddled up the first one, but then tracked the canoe up the next two.

Because there was a very strong SW headwind it was tough going through the next large widening in the river. We did past a campsite on river left after we got through this widening going SW.

We arrived at the marked 1100 meter portage at 12:31 pm. (UTM #60). After we unloaded the canoe we had lunch at 12:44 pm. Done with lunch at 01:05 pm and I started my first trip across the portage at 01:14 pm.

There were fresh signs of recent chainsaw activity, so the trail was in better shape than it would be otherwise. The wind was still blowing, but it wasn’t providing any relief from the in the trees. The sun was out. It was probably the warmest day we’ve had since beginning the trip.

It took me 39 minutes to walk across the portage the first time. There was a bridge over the Witchwood River. It was about 87 meters downstream of the put-in. (UTM # 61 ??)

Veer left once you’re on the roadway to find the portage on the upstream side of the roadway.

When I walked the portage back and I got 815 meters. I’m done with my three trips at 04:05 pm. Dave was done around 04:40 pm. He had the canoe and the heavier packs.

We got the canoe loaded at 04:50 pm and began to paddle in the slower current. We were trying to get to Whiteclay today, but I figured it would take us another 2 hours to get to the next portage of an unknown length and condition. Then we would need to find a campsite on Whiteclay. We paddled hard once we were back on the water. It’s warm!

One area on the Witchwood we saw three moose within a couple hundred meters of each other. We hadn’t seen any moose the whole trip and now we see three. We had heard a couple of moose thrashing in the alders along the Misehkow, but this was our first sighting.

We kept our eye out for a campsite as we paddled. We saw a possible area from a distance that had a sandy shore line where a 2 x 4 was tied horizontal between a couple trees. We stopped to look around, but there wasn’t any ground suitable for any tents.

Off we went in search of another area. We finally stopped at 07:06 pm when we found an area suitable for a couple bushwhacked tent sites.

Dave was dehydrated and I was out of energy from the lack of food. I was in my tent at 08:30 pm after some gorp, peanut butter and jam on a tortilla followed up with a couple energy bars. I’m beat! I’m going to sleep. I took a UTM I believe #62.

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