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June 7

Last Day on the St. Francis River

Low Impact Camping


I sure am glad I took the time to learn a bit of French. Between the language tapes and practicing with Amy, I was able to get by. I think if I holed up in a town for a week, I'd be speaking fluently. As it is, we'll soon be passing out of Canada and back to good old English-speaking USA.

Today (Wednesday) was a great day. We broke camp early, due to bugs, and floated on down the Saint Francis below Beau Lake to look for a sandbar to perc some coffee. The bugs were just as bad there and everywhere since. It did seem kind of odd that there were no bugs. We ate supper with headnets on and now we're each in our own tents. I expect JS is writing in his journal, same as me. I wonder what names he's calling me, that bastard (just kidding). Wind days and "bug-thirty" make the time to write good memories.

Anyway, I was saying what a great day today was. We're finally in a stretch of river covered by the AMC river guide. Mid-morning, we pulled it out over coffee and read it. To our amazement, we had already completed half of the first class III that we planned to portage around. We were supposed to go down Cross Lake and find a half-mile portage. The run was easy, some big haystacks to do "wheelies" over, no more. I can't figure out this classification system.

The day got better after blowing through McPherson Pond. We pulled over and set up our sail rigs. The wind was kinda mellow, but we crossed four-mile Glazier Lake and a mile of river in an hour, with very little effort. We then had several more sets of class III's before we stopped for the night. Again, we danced through them without a hitch. They were actually a lot easier than the rock dodging we'd been doing. I don't want to get cocky, I think we just happen to have the perfect water level to run them.

We camped early, so as not to hit the St. John today. Blackflies are out big time, so we're hoping for another cold night, which seems to slow them down. I have my alarm set for 4AM, so I can pack up and wizz down to St. Francis and hopefully call home before Nancy goes to work. St. Francis is only a mile down from here. I can't believe I forgot my telephone credit card number!

Boy, it's been seven days of paddling and we'll have the St. Francis under our belts. That's about the length of a normal trip. But it's only just begun! Every day I'm sore, but every day gets easier and we seem to cover more miles. Cooking , cleaning, pumping water and all is just becoming a routine. So far all the river miles have been easier than expected and we've made great progress.