I did my Nahanni trip with Blackfeather and I had a really good time! Here is my trip report:
If you rather want to check out my blog with pictures, here is the link: http://www.lerouxcraven.blogspot.com
Complete photo album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2 ... 156f9e0a9eNahanni - July/August 2010:
The Nahanni River is situated in Canada’s Northwest Territories and is a river of raw, unspoilt, jaw dropping and breathtaking beauty. The Nahanni National Park became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1978. The name Nahanni comes from the indigenous Dene language and can be translated to “spirit”, although according to R. M. Patterson’s book “The Dangerous River”, Nahanni means “The people who speaks like ducks”.
The river itself twists through a deep gorge which is up to 1200m deep and drops down into the spectacular Virginia Falls which is twice the height of Niagara Falls! This river is one of romance and mystery and is supported by names such as Deadmen’s Valley, Hell’s Gate, Headless Creek, Funeral Range, Burial Range, Painted Canyon and many more...
This untamed wilderness is also home to a very diverse host of animals which include black and grizzly bears, wolves, otters, beavers, moose, caribou and white Dall sheep who will keep a watchful eye from the high canyon cliffs. Above the canyons and the Dall sheep, bald and golden eagles soar the skies and in the evening the lonely cries of the wolves is a contend reminder that this place is not meant for man.
My Nahanni trip started as an idea planted whilst chatting to the online forum members of “myccr.com”. website. The local residence residing on that forum are extremely friendly and helpful and they have just confirms the warm nature of Canadian people!
My Nahanni trip started after 10 days in Iceland. I travelled from Reykjavik to Calgary and from there to Yellowknife where I camped for a few days. From Yellowknife I travelled onwards to Fort Simpson where I met up with my tour guides. I arrived a day early and was able to set up camp at base camp and got to know some of the guides before the time. I was really looking forward paddling down the Nahanni river for 330km.
Day 1 – Friday: The mosquitos have been having a blast feasting on my blood the last few days and I’ve been itching all the time. It didn’t take me long to get a very large can of Muskol to ward off the little buggers. After breakfast I packed up all my gear which consisted of 1 plastic food barrel with harness and a small rucksack for all my personal belongings. The rest of the group arrived later that morning and soon after that we took float planes out to Rabbit Kettle Lake where we were camping for the night. Because of the large group and the amount of gear that had to be transported, it took three trips. I boarded the first plane which was a Twin Otter and along with the pilot, co-pilot and 6 passengers we also loaded 3 canoes, a few food barrels and some smaller items.
We had to don ear plugs for the flight due to the noisy engines and after take-off we could clearly see where the Liard and McKenzie River met as they are two very different colors – one muddy and the other clear. We flew over evergreen forests with snaking rivers glittering in the sun, which then gave way to rugged mountain ranges stretching as far as the eye could see! Rabbit Kettle Lake was beautiful and was nestled between the mountains in a forest of white and black spruce, jack pine and birch. The float plane dropped us off there and while we waited I took one of the canoes for a paddle to try and figure out the J-Stroke which I’ve never done before.
Not too long after that the others arrived and after setting up camp, dinner was prepared by our guides – Bella, Ingrid and Curtis. They make us large Portobello mushrooms grilled on the fire with pesto and cheese. That was followed by salmon, rice, corn on the cob and a salad. Dessert was strawberries and cream which made for a very delicious first meal! After that we all retired to our tents as the weather was fairly cold and it had also started to drizzle.
Day 2 – Saturday: During the night it rained and it continued to do so most of that day. It was also fairly cold and we all had to put on extra layers of clothing. Breakfast that morning was eggs and bacon with crumpets which were toasted on the fire along with fruit and cookies. After breakfast we met up with a Dene Elder who chanted some songs next to a campfire. He gave us some tobacco to throw into the fire as according to their beliefs, it is the only way of connecting with the spiritual world.
Straight after that we started our hike which took us through the forest where we saw lots of mushrooms, berries, trees, lakes and mountains. Everything looked very green as we walked along in the rain towards the tufo mounds which were our destination. At one point we had to use a boat connected to a wire to pull ourselves across a very fast flowing river to reach the safety of the other side. It was great to see the tufo mound with the water bubbling up in the middle of it. From the top of the mound we had a lovely view over the 3 valleys: Rabbitkettle Mountains, Ragged Range and the Hole in the Wall.
Back at camp we had a quick snack and then got straight into the hard bit which was our first portage of about 700m long. I made three trips and portaged a canoe as well as some heavy food barrels. At the other side we got paired up with our new paddling partners. Mine was a very nice, bubbly woman called Eve and it was great fun paddling with her! After loading up all our gear we were finally able to get on the water and so our adventure down the Nahanni River began. The flow rate of the water is around 7km/h and together with us paddling we could manage around 10km/h so it didn’t take us long to paddle the 12km to our campsite. We could see many large trees in the water that lay together in large wood piles and the mountains in the background looked hazy in the rain.
That afternoon we set up camp on a gravel bar and the first thing that went up was a large tarp to keep us dry from the constant rain. I helped with collecting fire wood and Curtis started the fire which helped to warm us up. We had chicken stir-fry that evening with chocolate and fortune cookies for dessert. We all found it very amusing when we had to read our fortune out loud followed by “in bed” which caused much laughter!
Day 3 – Sunday: We all got an emergency wake-up call around 2:00 when the water level rose so much as to convert our gravel bar into an island! Some of us had to move our tents as the water level was very close to some of the tents and still rising. Mine was about 4 meters away from the water and it seemed ok to last me till the morning so I got back into bed -I was wrong. At around 4:30 we were all woken again when we suddenly found that some of our tents were already standing in the water! I also had to move my tent and some of the others had to move for the second time!
By morning the rain had at last stopped and we had a breakfast of French toast with maple syrup and muesli with canned fruit and yogurt. That day I was in the stern for the first time and I had to learn how to do the various strokes. We had a strong wind at our backs all day long and covered a total of 46km! Steering proved difficult at times when the wind caught the back of the canoe and we had to paddle hard to keep it in a straight line. At certain times we would form a flotilla which consisted of all our canoes, held together through a mixture of limbs and paddles, and it was on these that we would kick back and relax while snacking on GORP, chatting, sipping water and for some even catching a quick snooze!
A beaver slapped its tail twice as we paddled down massive towering mountains and evergreen forests on either side. At some sections we would pass clusters of dead trees which looked like dead white bodies laid sprawled out in a twisted array of limbs. The Nahanni River seemed to have a life of its own – pulsing with whirlpools and eddies while the sand scraping the bottom of the boat whispered softly as we glided along the water. The clouds finally cleared that afternoon and the sun was a welcoming sight as we set up camp on another gravel bar next a stream called Flood Creek. The stream was crystal clear and you could easily see where the clear water met the dark brown water of the Nahanni.
I went fly fishing in the stream and caught my very first grayling on the first fly that I’ve ever tied which was a Black Zulu. Dinner that evening was risotto followed by pears in a chocolate sauce. It was very peaceful there – almost surreal as if we were caught up in a photo album with all the dramatic beauty that the Nahanni had to offer. I noted that fire was always made in a fire box and the working surface for our kitchen was an upturned canoe resting on two food barrels. We also saw many wolf and moose tracks in the river bed. We paddled about 45km that day.
Day 4 – Monday: I heard a beaver slap its tail twice that night and it was very loud! Breakfast that morning started with the usual strong coffee followed by blueberry pancakes doused with maple syrup which were absolutely delicious. After breakfast we practiced some strokes which were draw, pry and cross draw strokes. The sun was already fairly hot when we started paddling and we all had to lather ourselves in sun block.
At one stage we almost had a fatality when we paddled past a fork in the river where there was an island of driftwood. One of our canoes got caught up in the drift pile and the force of the water dragged the whole canoe under taking with it one of our crew! Roy was in the stern and managed to get ashore but poor Peter got swept under by the strong current and pinned between the canoe and a tree trunk. He got dragged under again and was lucky to surface again! We had to quickly pick up their gear and canoe and paddle to the safety of the shore. There I fed a very shaken and wide eyed Peter a shot of Sloe gin to calm his nerves. Something like that could so easily happen to any of us so we were all fairly quiet as we paddled onwards.
Paddling that day was hard work as the river made many meanders and due to this the river slowed down. We covered a total distance of about 50km and we were all very tired and my shoulders were really sore. We paddled up a small river which ran into the Nahanni and that opened up into a beautiful lake called Oxpow Lake next to the mountains. Our campsite was situated at the far side of the lake where a stream entered the lake. After setting up camp I tried my camp shower for the first time which worked great. I filled it with water and it warmed in the sun while lying in our canoe. It was great having a warm shower standing there naked in the forest with an audience of two playful baby mink squeaking at me – they were really cute! I also shaved using my signal mirror and battery powered shaver and felt very refreshed after. At 21:00 that evening it was still light and our guides saw a black bear eating berries near our camp which they scared off.
Day 5 – Tuesday: I got up at 7:00 that morning and started the fire to speed up the process of coffee making. Dry spruce twigs and birch bark works a treat to start a fire! That morning breakfast was frittata with a 5-seed Redriver cereal. The lake was dead calm that morning and reflected the mountains and forest. We paddled back across the lake and into the Nahanni which was fairly broad and slow moving at that section. We stopped at an island to collect firewood for our campsite at the Virginia Falls which was only another half hour away. We only had about 20km to paddle that day.
Upon nearing our new campsite the mighty thunder of the falls grew louder and slightly unnerving as we paddled closer to it. The campsites there were in excellent condition with a network of wooden walkways and platforms for pitching our tents. After pitching my tent I went to the stream to pump water and I can only note that pumping water is a serious pain in the ass! We were given a task of carving a paddle for hanging up in an old warden’s cabin so I started whittling one out of a log. The whittling fever quickly spread through the camp and by morning it looked like a family of beavers invaded our camp!
That afternoon we met up with the wardens and they took us for a walk to the falls. It was very hot that day and the temperature hovered around 30C. The falls were amazing to see and had a very vivid rainbow in the mist of the falls. The thunder was almost deafening and we almost had to shout at each other to have a conversation. The falls consisted of the Sluice Box which is an angry set of rapids with a drop of 30m which then empties out around Mason’s Rock down a massive drop of 90m! You can’t help but feel moved and awed when listening to the falls – pictures and words really don’t do it any justice.
In that area we were able to see bear berries, knik-knik, soap berries, crow berries, juniper berries, blueberries, rosehips (itchy bum) and Labrador tea. The forest there consisted of white and black spruce, tamerac/larch, aspen, pine and birch trees. Back at camp I saw a small cute little chipmunk nibbling at something on my food barrel. Dinner that evening was a very tasty lasagne with coleslaw. I brought out my sloe gin and some of the others drank wine and played liars dice.
Day 6 – Wednesday: I got up again at 7:00 for my daily dose of camp coffee. Breakfast consisted of muesli with yogurt and baked muffins. After breakfast we paddled across the river and divided into two groups. One group was only hiking to the Sluice Box where my group was hiking both the Sun-Blood Mountain as well as the Sluice Box. We made it up about a third up the mountain when Curtis our guide stopped us to turn around as it was too hot to continue and most of us only had 1litre of water with us. The view over the valley and the falls from there was great and we managed to get some nice pictures. From there we hiked all the way down and onwards to the Sluice Box where we saw many fossils next to the thundering water. It was situated next to a very aptly named Last Chance Eddy. There were many blueberries around that section and I gorged myself on them while walking along.
Back at camp we were harassed by the Whisky Jacks who were fearless and dive-bombed down from the trees to steel our food! We were always on guard when having our meals although the sneaky buggers still managed to steal some food. They usually came in groups and had a very good distraction technique which they performed with stealth and precision! I even had one eat cheese out of my hand at one point!
That afternoon I had another hot shower and also did my laundry. A plane came in and dropped another group off who camped near us. That night Curtis got out a large piece of ham which he carved up to make a delicious stew for dinner. After dinner we portaged some of the gear and I had to team up with Harry and shout “Hey bear!” as we walked along to warn any bears of our presence. Apparently the wardens saw a bear earlier that day so we had to be careful. The portage was 1.2km with another 500m to our campsite so it was hard work.
Day 7 – Thursday: I was up again at 7:00 and made a large fire for coffee brewing enhancement. We had pancakes and muesli and straight after I went to the stream to pump water for the day. The stream flowed underneath one of the wooden platforms which was about 50m from our campsite. To get to it you had to jump off the platform. I was about halfway through pumping water when I suddenly heard shouting and pots and pans banging which was followed by a massive explosion of a bear banger. I was called back to camp just in time to see a big grizzly bear walking across the very same platform where I was sitting underneath pumping my water about 2 minutes earlier! We joined the shouting choir and also armed ourselves with noisy pots and pans to help scare the bear off. The bear seemed very unphased by all of the commotion and didn´t even flinch when Curtis used another bear banger. The bear saw a canoe and tried to scratch and topple it – it could probably smell food that used to be in it. Curtis ran after the bear chasing it away and together with the wardens they scared it off.
After all the excitement we portaged the rest of our gear followed by very frequent “Hey Bears!” as we walked along. At the end of the portage we walked towards the falls where we took some pictures with a rainbow sitting bright in the spray. Before we set off it was time for a quick lunch of bread with a selection of humus, celery, tomatoes, apples, cheese and my favorite: Mennonite Dry Salami. After lunch we fitted the canoes with spray decks for the first time to prepare us for Canyon No.4 which had some large waves. Most of the group put on either dry or wet suits for that section – I only had my waterproofs on. Eve was going to steer so took the stern while I was the beef in the front. We all took off in single file and very soon we were met by some big waves coming at us from all different directions. Eve successfully managed to selectively head into the biggest possible waves in the rapids. The canoe would ride over the crest of a wave and then suddenly lunge down to crash into the next wave and all over me, with the canoe slowly taking on water!
It was around the first bend that Jan and Emma flipped their canoe and the guides had to work quick to save their canoe together with all their equipment. We all paddled to shore which gave us time to do some much needed bailing. Not too long after taking off again it was almost our turn to go for a swim. There was a ledge in the water which we only saw at the last minute and although Eve tried to steer us past it, the current was just way too strong and we hit it side on with a big crash. I almost lost my paddle and we took on a lot of water but luckily we managed to make it through! After some serious bailing we set off again and finally reached our campsite after 45km, which was nested between the mountains on a river bend. It was really hot again that day and we were all very tired especially after the portage. I had to hang out some clothes to dry at camp and after that, dinner was a welcoming sight. That night it was a stew with cheesecake for dessert. At 21:00 a few of us went for a swim to cool off and have a scrub.
Day 8 – Friday: Breakfast that morning was bacon, cinnamon rolls, oats and oranges – needless to say a strong Nahanni river water coffee. We broke camp and I was in the stern for that day eager to find some waves to crash into to get even with Eve. The river was, however, not nearly as fast as the day before and steering was easy going. Lunch of bread with a selection of peanut butter, jam, cheese, etc. together with dried fruit was served on a gravel bar. There were many interesting rocks lying around and we also killed some time by skipping rocks on the water. After lunch we paddled into Canyon No.3 which opened up into magnificent mountains – I lost count of the amount of times I said “oh wow”! We passed many gravel bars which were strewn with rocks or which consisted out of black sand, many littered with driftwood. The mountains were steep and some had sheer cliffs which sometimes opened up into valleys with random waterfalls – the Nahanni truly is a beautiful place!
We set up camp that night at a very nice campsite next to Pulpit Rock at Hell’s Gate which was next to a crystal clear stream. We paddled about 45km that day. I pitched my tent right next to some fresh bear scat which I had to get rid of – hopefully it wasn’t going to come back during the night! I found some wild raspberries there which were very sweet and delicious. After settling in it was time for some fishing. I couldn’t have asked for a more picturesque spot standing there next to the stream with Pulpit Rock in the background! I caught two grayling, one of which I kept one for dinner that evening. Curtis cooked it for me with herbs and butter and it tasted very good. After dinner we all chilled out while poems were being read to us.
Day 9 – Saturday: Breakfast that morning was muesli with eggs and bacon. We climbed the mountain next to Pulpit Rock and were rewarded with a beautiful view over the river and the valleys down below. Back at camp we finished loading all our gear and set off with me in the stern again. We paddled through many large canyons with some magnificent mountains and had lunch on a gravel bar. Lunch was freshly baked bread with cheese, salami, apples, flavored rice, cucumber and carrots.
After lunch we set off again and soon formed another flotilla which was one of my favorite things on the trip - we could all relax for a short while which was always a welcome activity! That day we only paddled 25km so we reached our campsite, Painted Rock Canyon, fairly early. Some of us went for a walk. Snacks were served when we got back which were fried tortillas filled with cream cheese, cheddar and salsa sauce. Dinner that evening was lasagna with dark chocolate and chocolate moose. That night it started raining and the big tarp was put up to keep us dry. Earlier that day we collected some Labrador bush and we used that to make a tea before heading off to bed. The stream running next to my tent was fairly loud and made me want to go to the loo all the time. I saw some more bear scat about 5m from my tent.
Day 10 – Sunday: It rained most of the night but it had cleared by the morning. The fog lay like a blanket in the valleys – it was a beautiful sight and we all took many pictures. Breakfast was pancakes with oats boiled with dehydrated cranberries. We paddled through second canyon and the mountains got even bigger as we went along. We stopped for lunch at the start of Deadman’s Valley and climbed a steep cliff for a very rewarding view from the top. Deamans Valley lay splayed out before us in a dense forest of various shades. The wind rustled through the trees which had a very calming effect on all of us. From where we sat we could also see Headless Creek where it entered the Nahanni river right in front of us. Another group passed us while we had lunch which spoilt our serenity a bit.
We paddled a total of 30km that day to reach Prairy Creek where we set up camp. The other group was also camping there just further upstream from us. Prairy Creek opened up into a delta with various streams entering the Nahanni. I went fly fishing again and caught three small fish which I returned. The heat that day was almost unbearable on the hot gravel bar and we had to go for a swim in the Nahanni to cool us off. My calves and ankles at the time were littered with itchy mosquito bites which can be very annoying. We were meant to hike up the canyon later that evening but because we were all tired it never happened.
Day 11 – Monday: That was probably my favorite day of the trip. It started well with breakfast of hash browns, bacon, muesli, cinnamon roll and my usual cup of coffee. We all crossed the river to visit the old warden’s cabin which had been converted into a “paddle cabin” where we all hung our whittling efforts. It was slightly surreal seeing all the paddles hanging from the ceiling and it was interesting reading some of them. Mine also found a special place there before we set off again to paddle two large rapids which required wet and dry suits again.
The day was overcast and nice and cool after the previous hot day. Eve was back in the stern to steer down the first set of large rapids called George’s Ripple. We scouted the waves before the time and two of our guides, Curtis and Bella, went down first to get into position as a rescue boat in an eddy just downstream. The adrenaline was flowing and I think it was safe to say that all of us were nervous especially my paddling partner Eve! Apart from the roller coaster ride and taking in a lot of water which we had to bail out after, all of us made it through without going for a swim.
First Canyon was beautiful and we all felt very small as it dwarfed us paddling along in our tiny canoes. The rock formations ranged from steep sheer cliffs lined with various hues of strata to towering mountains ranges where our stimulated imaginations could pick out various faces and objects in the rock formations. It was sad knowing that we were almost finished paddling through the amazing canyons but at least we had one more set of rapids to look forward to. This one was called Rafferty’s Ripple which had probably the biggest waves yet and we were all very excited to run them! This time I was in the stern and I was determined to pick out the biggest waves to get even with Eve for all the times I got soaked while sitting in the bow!
We all scouted the waves again and took pictures of the first canoes to go down which ploughed up and down like toys through the massive waves in an array of shouts and shrieks. Next up was our canoe and with adrenaline pumping I lined the canoe up with the biggest waves. Very soon our canoe was tossed around as if we weighed nothing in the massive waves which seemed to have a life of its own. Split-second decisions were made to either draw, pry or paddle like hell all while whooping with delight! At one point we picked up momentum going over a crest of a wave only to be met with another very large wave. Our canoe collided with the wave with a big crash and it felt like we were airborne with Eve high above me in the bow getting a good dousing! Our canoe splashed down after what felt like eternity only to be met with more wave trains eagerly awaiting us. We made it through in the end and took on a fair amount of water which we had to bail out after. Running those rapids was magical!
All the canoes made it through Rafferty’s Ripple and as we left the canyons behind we headed straight for the hot springs. We could smell the hot springs before we saw them, but at least you get used to it after a while. It was nice to soak our sore muscles in the warm water (37C) and we felt like royalty lying there while the guides brought us snacks of crackers and cheese. The spring water smelled pretty nasty with all the sulphur so I had to brave the cold Nahanni water for a wash to get rid of the smell. After we had dinner, we paddled downstream to set up camp for the evening. The mosquitos were increasing in number and we had to do some serious slapping and scratching along the way. That day we paddled a total of 42km.
Day 12 – Tuesday: After breakfast we paddled down “The Splits” which was a maze of streams all twisting down in the direction of Nahanni Butte. We passed many gravel bars and lots of dead trees either in the water or washed up. Lunch was again on a gravel bar and from there we headed off for our last stretch of the afternoon. We passed two black bears sitting on the bank gawking at us with a look of utter disbelief on their faces. The more curious of the two even ran after us to try and get a better look! Not too long after that we saw a lone caribou on a gravel bar and a beaver slapped its tail near us. We set up camp about 20km before the Nahanni Butte on a gravel bar. The day was really hot and sticky so most of us went for a swim to cool down. To pass time some of us also participated in a stone skipping contest. That day we had paddled a total of 50km. We all had mixed emotions as it was our last night on the river.
Day 13 – Wednesday: We were in no rush that morning so it was a 2 cup-of-coffee-morning. Breakfast was muesli with fresh oranges and grapefruit. Going to the toilet in the forest was always amusing when I had to do “The Windmill’ – the frantic swaying of your arms to defend your bum from all the cruel mosquitoes who aim for all the soft spots when you are at your most vulnerable! We paddled about 15km through the meandering river that morning to finally reach Nahanni Butte. The Butte is a small Dene community of around 80 people and lots of mosquitoes. We had lunch there on the grassy river bank with the Butte (mountain) in the background.
Five canoes were loaded into a flat boat and 7 of us into a speed boat with a huge outboard motor and we travelled to Lindburgs Landing where we stayed for the night. Very soon after taking off we saw a black bear swimming across the river right in front of us. The boat was a lot bigger than the bear and it swam like crazy with two large nervous eyes checking us out. It then stopped enabling us to take a quick few photos before it disappeared into the forest. About another 1km after spotting the bear we saw a herd of about 40 bison grazing in the distance. I also spotted a large male bison rolling in the dust a little further on. Our journey lasted about one hour and we were lucky enough to see another black bear just before we got to our final destination.
Lindburgs Landing is run by Sue who is a very kind elderly lady who grows her own vegetables and who is also a very good cook. We were all very much looking forward to a meal with fresh veggies and meat! They had hot showers there and I felt like a new man after lots of scrubbing and healthy amounts of soap and shampoo. Sue’s dinner that evening was absolutely delicious and consisted of meat loaf, mashed turnips, potato salad and a fresh green salad doused with her secret luminous green “swamp juice”. For dessert we had rhubarb with strawberry jelly and clementines followed by a strong black coffee.
Day 14 – Thursday: That was our last morning together as a group and it was going to be sad saying good bye to my new friends. We had to get up at 6:30 to be ready for a breakfast of freshly baked muffins along with boiled eggs, fresh oranges and the usual cup of coffee. After breakfast we loaded all our gear together with the canoes onto the trailer and while doing that I managed to kill 102 mosquitoes in about 20 minutes! I’ve heard though that the record there is 47 mosquitoes with one swat! From Lindburgs Landing we had 146km to travel to reach Fort Simpson. That day turned out to be very hazy due to forest fires in BC and the sun was a red orb behind the cloud cover.
Back at base I had to repack all my gear to get ready for my next trip which was a week of fishing in BC for salmon and steelhead. I stored some food in a bag in their garage and was surprised to see a massive hole had been chewed in the bottom and I was minus a lot of food! From there we got dropped off at the airport where we all took a flight to Yellowknife we all said our final goodbyes. Paddling the Nahanni was spectacular to say the least. We all witnessed the constant jaw dropping beauty of the raw unspoiled nature of the Nahanni and it leaves us with a lifetime of fond memories.
Jan and Ellen: They were the two sisters who I dubbed “the terrible two” which couldn’t be further from the truth as they were both lovely and great fun to have around. Just a shame about the bad hair days though…
Harry and Dave: They were the gadget guys armed with every last detailed topo map of the Nahanni! Harry was the analyst, while Dave was the creative one experimenting with certain combos of food that would probably kill any normal human being.
Peter: The repetitive composer of the Nahanni Blues who drove us insane with the lyrics of “my baby’s dead. She got hit by a train.” He took his composing very serious and many a morning I saw him all blurry eyed due to lack of sleep (or was it Roy’s snoring which he will never admit to?)
Roy: He was our resident coffee snob but also my early morning coffee buddy. We were the two coffee pot loiterers eagerly awaiting the signal for “coffee’s ready!” I found Roy to be a very good judge of character and was amused by some of his analysis.
Jean-Pierre: He was our fun-loving Frenchman from Lyon whose face lit up every time alcohol was involved. He had a great sense of humor and was good fun to have along.
Eve: A very friendly bubbly character with an endless amount of energy. I somehow suspected that she ran on batteries…She was also my paddling partner and had the ability to crash into large waves in the most unsuspecting places.
Peter and Mary: They made a very good husband/wife paddling team and were also the diligent guardians of the sacred chairs.
Curtis: He could make fire with anything from ice, rocks, water, metal to any other type of non-flammable material. A very good guide with a lot of knowledge.
Becca: She was our pancake queen and could make them with military precision. She also liked to “read” the map instead of rowing!
Ingrid: She was asleep most of the trip. I think I only saw her awake a few times but I can’t really be sure!