By Emily Nagel
The morning was a casual one and offered us time to cook, relax and make hot drinks.
I dropped the pot of hot oatmeal water on my foot, which brought about enough yelling and all-around commotion that the guys came out of their tent to eat their granola. No real damage was done, and we were on the water in no time.
Our first mission was to find a supposed trapper's cabin on the left side of the river. After about 10 minutes of paddling, we found a promising trail that we followed through mud and over logs for about half of a kilometer. Discouraged, we turned returned to our boats.
Not a kilometer downstream, there was the cabin standing right on shore. It was complete with a battery for power, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, a mirror (frightening to see!) and a guest log for passersby.
We came upon an island. Because the left side would require extensive portaging, we opted for the manageable, class 2, right channel.
As we continued, the landscape changed from rocky and mossy to boggy with tamaracks and birch trees. This was our most drastic change of scenery on the trip. When we came close to our lunch spot, we noticed a log structure that looked like a swing set. Upon investigation, we found it to be a meat-drying rack for wild game.
After lunch, we had a rapids that was easy on top, but became more difficult toward the bottom. We pulled over midway and performed an always-efficient group carry to the eddy at the end. Our only "official portage" of the day was the following rapid. The portage was a mere 180 meters; no problem by Day 4.
We planned to camp at "Shangri-La," but it was taken by a Manitoban boys camp group. The site was set on a fun but unforgiving rapid. Running it was a thrill, so — naturally — we had to run it over and over. Eventually, our luck ran out and Chad and Aaron flipped. Their boat was caught and held down by the eddy, and the two of them were pulled downstream. One simple T-rescue later, they were put back together and on their way again.
The boys camp did enjoy watching our show.
The last rapid of the day was right above our campsite. Because the top was messy, Steve and Brad ran our boats down the side and met us toward the bottom. We lifted the boats over one by one and plopped them in on the other side.
We arrived at our site moments later. The rapid ran right next to camp, so we did some swimming. We cooked, fished and went to sleep.