June 20, 2013: Mud Lake/River Rd. to Miller Lake Rd #509
Travel Time: 7 hours
Wow! It was a godsend that Alex decided to join me and for us to do this section in his canoe –even though I am not a canoeist.
It turned into a truly amazingly spectacular day on the River with some of the highest mid-summer water in recent history. We thought there might be some surprises in store and we were not disappointed. Slipping through Birch Rapids was not a problem and the ride down river through beautiful deciduous and coniferous forests. And then the fun began at Sidedam Rapids portages (P.8.(two) 300m and 50m West side).It was either the “canoeing” amateur or a restless dog responsible –I blamed the dog but in any case we hit the rapids incorrectly, took on water and had to stop to bail. While doing so the dog decided to go for a swim and we spent a half hour rescuing him from an island –not without losing a paddle, some pain and a lot of wet.
We luckily found the paddle and short hopped to Whitefish Rapids Portage (P.9: 25m, South side). Easily through Crotch Lake we reached King Falls Dam (P.10.95m, North side) where we lunched. The water level being so high we eagerly thought of “running” each of the subsequent rapids/portages but changed our minds as we approached each one -survival instincts won out over fun.
Next came Kings Chute (P.11: 460m, South side) -rather brutal for Alex carrying the canoe. Otter Rapids (P.12: 335m,South side) followed and we really had to work as it was mostly steep and rocky. Ragged Chutes (P.13: 800m, North-West Side) like the other sections of the river was spectacular. Miller Lake Portage (P.14: 375m on the North side) was again difficult with fallen trees, steep and rocky stepping and even a flooded section.
The demands on Alex’s endurance and strength -up and down steep sections, over fallen trees and strewn jagged rocks, through the tangled brush of these portages was quite something. I trailed along with admiration thinking (longing) of my younger days.
But then open water of Miller Lake and an easy, relaxed paddle down to our take out at Rd #509 bridge. The trip was about 14kms -1.5 hours paddling, 4.5 hours portaging. A lovely day of paddling, strenuous efforts bruises and great bonding –that is what it is all about – never letting the tough stuff get you down. We laughed our way through.