Day 16

August 2, 2009 at 4:00 am | Posted in NFCT | Leave a comment

We awoke early and lethargic. It has become hard to feel motivated each morning when the prospect of a good day of paddling is so grim. But we set off none-the-less. The water did seem to have gone down a bit and the color had returned to normal (the rain had turned it a muddy color). We paddled hard up stream without too much trouble. We got ourselves around some rough spots where swollen streams met the river causing swift current and riffles. A couple of times we had to get out and drag the canoe. But we made did it. Many turns and trick maneuvers around fallen trees and brush and few challenging moments where other streams entered the river brought us to the days real first challenge.

As we rounded a curve in the river we saw ahead a large old bridge abutment in the middle of the river. This is marked on the map but coming at it while paddling upstream is all together different then coming from upstream. Water flowed in three channels making three difficult places to paddle. We opted to line up the right side as it offered a place to eddy out and places to stand. We got all set to the line and began the careful task of selecting stable rocks to stand on. We got Flora up the main channel of moving water and into a little eddy. But here we were posed with a little dilemma. Between us and more shore line was a sheer rock wall coming out of the water – the other side of the what use to be a bridge. The water below the wall is deep, to deep to wade. After carefully scouting a way over and around Morrigan decided the only thing to do would be to climb the wall. So she did. Carefully she worked her way across the wall to a low nook. Mahsa then pushed the canoe to her. While Morrigan held the canoe Mahsa got in and together they brought it over to another little eddy. Together we walked through the shallow water and riffles with the canoe to deeper slower water. It was hard work but rather work hard and be successful then work hard only to have to turn back in defeat.
Not long after the bridge we found ourselves fighting to get around a bend in the river. The rain had swollen the streams entering the river. Where they entered the current became almost unmanageable when paddling upstream. But we made it, slowly but surely. After leaving the main branch of the Missisaquoi we paddled up the North Branch to Milton. The rain really began to pick up as did the current. The North Branch is much narrower then the main branch and moves at a bit of a quicker pace. After some harrowing paddles through some pretty swift patches of water we called it quits. The current had become ridiculous. We hoofed it up to the road and began a two mile walk to Milton.

camping spot for the night

camping spot for the night

We had almost made it all the way via water, making the pullout even more bitter. The rain came down in sheets. To boot Milton sits atop a HUGE effing hill. The struggle to the top was actually hilariously steep. It was possibly the steepest thing we could have dragged our canoe up. At the top we spied a gazebo and who should also be seeking refuge from the rain but Isabel and Denis! They welcomed us and asked for our tales of woe, which we shared. They then did the nicest thing ever and offered us a ride to our next camp spot at Perkins Landing (the map shows another camp spot north of Perkins Landing. This is not a camp ground but a place for private RV camps). Technically camping isn’t permitted at Perkins Landing but if you ask the guy who tends to the landing he’ll let you camp in the pic nic area.
After saying fond goodbyes to Isabel and Denis we set up as rain proof camp as we could. We dined on instant mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. We ate so much that we both felt a little sick. But being full and dry and warm was a far better way to be then what we could have been had we not had the good fortune of seeing Denis and Isabel.

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