Lakes / Rivers Traveled:
Travel Time: 6:17
Distance: 21.4 miles / 34.4 km
It was warm inside my tent when I got in last night. It felt like it was the warmest evening since we left on this trip. There were some large gust of wind last night but it was calm with gray skies when I woke. I listened to the beaver flap it’s tail a couple times around 04:30 am.
While I was inside my tent I had a hard time determining if it was sprinkling out or if it was the bugs outside hitting the tent.
Well I was ready to get up at 06:25 am. I began doing my lower back stretches.
I discovered a lot of bugs this morning when I crawled out of the tent. There wasn’t any wind to send them elsewhere.
First things first, I began a fire and put the coffee on.
My hands are still sore from all the small cuts. I’ve been cleaning them when I have a chance.
When Dave got up he realized he left SPOT on all night. Dave began cooking some raspberry “hippie pancakes” from Sturdi Wheat Foods, Inc. I took some photos of the pancakes. I should have got out the tripod because of the low light. Next, Dave cooked up some bacon. He said we were eating in shifts. I said, fine, as long as we’re eating.
We began our first full day on the Albany at 09:28 am. Still very cloudy out. The river was very wide at this point, but we could feel the strong current pushing us.
It wasn’t long before we both saw an object in the distance next to the shore on river right. It appeared to be a canoe. We decided we may as well paddle over to it. It was a 15 foot canoe that was submerged. The right side had a rip in it with some other holes.
The current picked up significantly whenever the river narrowed. We moved over to river right and inched our way around a right hand bend to see if we could run the section that said “rapids” on our topo maps.
got caught in the alders loosing my hat and paddle. I grabbed my hat and I yelled to Dave to grab my paddle. He didn’t hear me right away then he tried knocking my fleeing paddle with his paddle. It didn’t work while I watched my lonely paddle heading downstream to the rapids. This was a fairly long section of rapids, but it appeared we could make it ourselves. We marked where we last saw my paddle when it hit the top of the rapids.
I grabbed my spare paddle before we continued to the top of the rapids. Luckily, when we got through them we spotted my paddle. Dave picked up my paddle with his hand this time. I was united with it once again.
Based upon what we saw here wherever the river narrows we figured the current would pick up significantly with the possibility of some rapids or standing waves.
The next fast water/standing waves was when we were heading east just before the river turned south. The third stretch of fast water was about 4.5 km south.
We found a “moose camp / temporary shelter” when we were looking for a place to have lunch. All the surrounding land around the shelter was underwater . This shelter was about 1 km west of Patte Lake on river right. We moved on!. As we paddled north from Patte Lake we saw a aluminum boat along the south shore of an island. The boat was amongst the alders and it didn’t appear to be tied up.
We briefly looked for an access point to get on the island, nope, not here. We now continued on toward Upper Eskakwa Falls. We heard the distinct sound of rushing water from a distance. Now we could see some rapids to the far side of river left. We couldn’t see the entire river here. While paddling near the shore on river right the river made a long gentle bend to the right. Not knowing exactly where the portage was we pulled into some alders. I marked this with UTM #30.
I walked quite a ways scouting the rapids, but eventually I found the portage. I made a mental plan and walked back to Dave. I told him what we needed to do. Actually the portage on river right is easily accessible, but I didn’t know it before hand. Due to the very high water we surely didn’t want to miss any portages. This whole trip we would be getting out of the canoe before any high water portages if there were any and scout.
We hugged the the shore next to the alders and when the opening for the portage came into view we pulled right in. (UTM #31)
The portage was in good shape. Hey, we didn’t have to do any cutting to get across. There were some large trees across the trail and another one about knee high. I could swing my legs over the tree while carrying a pack. Dave needed to drop the canoe before getting to the other side. We still are doing triple portages. This one measured 252 meters with little use.
Once we had made our first carry across we found a campsite at the put-in (UTM #32) (3 x 2). The water at the put-in was still going strong and was very turbulent, but there was no more portage. When we were done with the other two carries I suggested we camp here. Our notes didn’t have this campsite marked down. Our notes showed a campsite at the next falls. Our information has been fairly stretchy so far. I would hate to find out if we continued on that there actually wasn’t a campsite at the next one, then having to bush whack one.
This portage was flat, well worn and brushy at the start. Another thing we have noticed while paddling on the Albany was that the birches and tamarack are starting to turn yellow.
After we stopped at the campsite it felt cooler as I was starting to get chilled, but I was wet from falling up to my waist when I was scouting for this portage.
It was 3:45 pm when we arrived at the campsite here at Upper Eskakwa Falls. There was enough room for two tents. This campsite has been used for years. Back in the bush are a bunch of old cans and bottles, but it was much cleaner than I expected it to be.
Dave has his tent pitched next to the bigger rapids.
We made some coffee while getting caught up on our maps. Dave started dinner of pizza when we felt some sprinkles. We just got the tarp up when it started to rain hard. It has been raining hard for several hours We definitely don’t need this! There’s too much water in the river as it was.
Tomorrow, I think we’ll need to cut a trail further down stream from the end of the current put-in to safely get on the water. I can’t see the end of the standing waves looking down the river.
Earlier, on a tame section of the river I got out my GPS and we we moving at 6.7 mph without paddling.
There’s a loud roar at this campsite from the sound of the large rapids. It’s constant. Added to that was the hard rain hitting the tent. I’m going to try and get some sleep. I needed to put some clothes and other items underneath my sleeping pad to get a semi-level surface upon which I can sleep. The rain is still coming down hard.
I’m hoping the rain lets up before morning. We have several more sections of fast water not including the areas around the upcoming falls in the next couple of days.
Tonight I was going to take some photos of the large rapids next to camp using a slow shutter speed, but the rain messed all that up for me.