Friday, June 6, 2008

Day 14


Two weeks of paddling on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail!

Started the morning off right with a tasty uphill portage around Highgate Falls Dam...mmm...Easy upstream paddling to East Highgate - where the fun began.

Along this stretch are a series of ledges that the water drops down over - basically unnavigable by us moving up river (a combo of rocks/shallows, and swift water) This left us to portage along Rte. 78 - which has no raising!

From Rte. 78 we found a small dirt road that led to a forested path down to the ledges and water below. So we muscled the gear down the slope and loaded up. Then we paddled about 300 feet, unloaded the boat and portaged through the brush around the last set of ledges at the bend. In the rain. We actually kind of had fun - stranger things have happened...This all sounds pretty simple, but the whole adventure took us about 2.5 hours!

Continued around the East Highgate Oxbow - a lazy, meandering bend in the river - it was great to actually be paddling the boat again after all that portage action. After the bend we ran into another series of ledges - took out river left to scout it. It was too bony to pole and the lining looked iffy. However, we discovered a great little campsite tucked under some large maple trees - so we took out and called it a day.

After a little investigating, we discovered an ATV trail that runs right along the river, out and around the ledges to deeper water - looks like we will start the day tomorrow with another portage!

Weather: rain - 60's

Wildlife: BIG beaver (he slapped his tail at us a bunch of times!), during the whole Rte. 78 debacle we discovered some wild asparagus and garlic - sauteed them up with our rice for dinner - YUM.

"The rain I am in is not like the rain of the cities. It fills the woods with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.

I came up here last night. The rain surrounded the cabin with its virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of rumor. Think of it: judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the woods with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone in the forest, at night, cherishing this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!

Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen." ~Thomas Merton

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