55℉ in the morning, high of 84 in the afternoon (hot)
Saturday, August 20, 2016
We chose a section of this gorgeous river where I could kayak for a while and then we would switch off and Martha could kayak the second part. We couldn’t really tell what is there, but the park brochure rates the trips, so you know a little, and you can see a lot of the river from the road. Martha’s boat is a “sit on top” kayak meant for quiet waters. When we got to my put-in, there was an immediate pretty big rapid with a big swing to the left at the end. So much for a warm up! The river was kind and the boat did fine. There were several pretty good rapids, so you had to pay attention. In the quiet spots I took a few pictures, but with a strong wind blowing upstream, you had to keep paddling. I guessed wrong on one spot and had to get out to walk it through shallow water. The main channel always goes toward the higher mountain – should have remembered that. It was only an hour to get to the bridge where we switched off. I was just beginning to get comfortable with the river. Although the water is chilly, on this hot day it felt good. By the end I could have gone for a swim.
Martha had just finished her lunch when she took over. Supposedly she had the quieter section, and the first part was certainly quiet. I found a parking area along the river and watched her pass. She said she was enjoying the ride, so I took a few pictures before driving down river. There were no parking areas for quite a ways. I finally found one and scrambled back up the road to just catch a glimpse of her going through a pretty good set of rapids. A couple of guys had stopped above it on the other side. Later Martha told me it was a portage area around the rapid, but she went right on through! I scrambled back down the road to another pretty big rapid, watching a couple in a canoe having difficulty deciding which way to go, but they made it. A family was there picnicking so I asked them if they had seen a lady in an orange boat go through and they had. Sheez! I got back in the car, rushing to find another pull-over and found her in quiet water very close to the end. When she made the take-out, she was a bit spent, but excited to tell me the whole story. It was a bit more than she wanted to tackle, but obviously she did fine.
This is a beautiful National Park that follows this river for 42Km I think. The river is absolutely gorgeous, with very clean waters and a tannin stain so typical of this area. For my friends in Virginia, this is something like combining the Shennandoah bumping up against the mountains and the James for it’s bigger water. Virginians will be comfortable on this river. Unlike our rivers, there are no houses anywhere! There are campsites along the river, so you could canoe or kayak for days, and you can fish all along. Salmon run here, but I couldn’t get information on how many or when they come. I think Brook trout are in this river and we saw three gorgeous trout streams. We drove north to the next park entrance. It is a dirt road, which we drove for about 30 minutes, crossing a stunning trout stream flowing out of a big lake. At the end of our 30-minute drive was a small lake with a boat and oars in it. We only saw one person in this part of the park.
It’s the last weekend before school starts, so EVERYONE is out. The main part of the park was jam-packed with people. We were lucky to get our trip in with little trouble. Our campground doesn’t have a spare lot anywhere. Two nice ladies came with their children from Quebec City last night and very efficiently set up their tent behind the trailer. It is very interesting to see how people do things. Canadians love to camp! Martha was amazed. She said she never knew so many people like to do this.