Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 2: Tuesday, 08-18-09

Lakes / Rivers Traveled:

Greenbush Lake
Little Metig Lake
Metig Lake
Rockcliff Lake

Travel Time: 9:03

Distance: 12.25 miles / 19.7 km

I’m awake at 05:02 am and it’s still dark out. It rained for over three hours last night. It stopped sometime around 02:30 am.

I didn’t start moving around until 05:39 am, then I started putting clothes and stuff inside the stuff sacks. I’m outside the tent at 06:15 am. Dave is still inside his tent. When he got out he wanted to have a fire instead of cooking on the stove. It took a long time to gather enough small pieces of wood although they are all wet. We used the stove to heat water for coffee, but cooked breakfast with wood. Again. it took a while to heat the food up.

I’m not sure what the temperature was, but it’s cloudy out. In fact, when we left the campsite at 09:06 am it began to sprinkle.

We got to our first marked portage at 10:22 am. This portage was marked as 400 meters river right. It was also marked “muddy”. Since it was marked “muddy” before all the rain this summer, not including the three hour rain last night, we might have some troubles with this one. So far the portages we have crossed have had significant portions where they have been under water.

This portage was nothing, but mud. It was knee to thigh high deep and deeper in some areas. This portage was just going to be too tough to triple portage.

Dave started off slowly with the canoe because he was sinking in the mud. I let him walk a ways before attempting it myself with my heavier pack, water bottles and Pelican case. It was a slow slog. Every step I sunk deep into the mud.

Eventually, I made it up to where Dave was standing without the canoe on his shoulders about 100 meters in. We discussed the matter, then decided we should try to line the rapids. Once we got back to the canoe we threw our gear in it. We ended up going to river left in our attempt to line and cut our way down stream. Dave was chest deep in some areas while I was chin deep. Where the rapids were moving too fast we cut our way through the bush. It seemed to take for ever. There wasn’t time to be thinking of other things during this time.

Besides cutting our way downstream there was one section where we had to remove everything from the canoe and portage it about 40 meters.

Finally, at 01:08 pm we were through this section and we were now on Little Metig Lake. After crossing the main body of water we came across three swifts. We needed to line the first one at the first narrows, then we ran the last two that were in the narrows after making the left hand bend,.

When we came across an open area on river right on Metig Lake that appeared to have been used as a moose camp we stopped and had lunch at 1:58 pm. While eating lunch we walked around the area scouting it out. There were blueberries, but not in the quantity that I saw last year. There were some old wall tent poles lying on the ground.

We wrapped up lunch at 2:28 pm. There was an old snowmobile on shore down from this lunch site on the point.

There are three portages between Metig Lake and Rockcliffe Lake. We were led to believe that all the portages were on river left. I found information just before our trip that the first portage was on river left, second portage was on river right and the third portage was back on river left.

When we got to the area where we thought a portage would be was in fact on river left. It had a wet, muddy beginning. I walked the portage on the way back and got 187 meters. I was going to trust my findings that the next portage was on river right. We were approaching the rapids and it sure didn’t look good on river left. There was a small opening on river right that had to be the beginning of the portage right at the top of the rapids. We were able to get the bow into the opening as the current sung the stern downstream. We would have been in big trouble if we would have stayed river left. The second portage was 292 meters. The third portage was back on river left for for 237 meters. All three of these portages into Rockcliff Lake were in good shape.

We made it to Rockcliffe Lake at 6:09 pm. We knew there was a known campsite ( UTM # 4) on an island up the lake not far away. Once we found the campsite the first thing we did was scout out spots for our tents then set them up. While I got water to filter Dave began starting the fire. Once again the wood didn’t want to burn being it was so wet. After I got the water to filter I began cutting wood for the fire.

When it was just about time to relax a little it began to sprinkle. We quickly put up the tarp over the fire and made sure everything else was put inside the tents or in the packs. The tarp cause the smoke to linger underneath the tent causing my eyes to burn and aged my lungs by about 5 years or so.

We had blackened chicken and mash potatoes tonight. Another long day so I went in the tent at 09:30 pm. Today was exhausting.

We didn’t have time to do any scouting for any First Nation grave sites. Another night where I didn’t write in my journal. I’ve been taking notes during the day in my notebook that I keep in my pants pocket. It’s waterproof which is good.

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