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PostPosted: August 8th, 2023, 4:54 pm 
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Joined: November 16th, 2007, 1:11 pm
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Location: Mid-coast Maine
Tom and I arrived at the Sleeze-O Motel in Cochrane about 1am on Saturday May 27th after a 16-hour drive from the coast of Maine (Tom had logged 12 hours the previous day coming up from Virginia. Ensconced at the Sleeze-O, we had a few short cocktails and smokes on the sidewalk and then off to bed and up about 8. Gassed up and breakfasted at the Esso/A&W and then off to pick up our shuttle driver (Bill Porter) in town. Up the Detour Road and was at the put-in at the bridge before 11am. We had seen from Ben’s Garmin (and Bill confirmed) that he had bypassed paddling Upper Kesagami Lake the previous day, and had pitched at the little bridge less than a km down the UKRiver. The road was dry and just passable (carefully) for a fully loaded Outback. Hail and well-met, and then 2 boats and a ton of gear came spilling off of and out of the Subaru, which breathed an audible sigh of relief. Boats were loaded up, Bill split, and off we went at the crack of noon. The UKR was much lower than we had paddled it a year prior (but we were a week later), and it was cool to see the river teeming with walleye – you could walk across the river on their backs, but they weren’t interested in a hook. I guess they were trying to get upstream into the lake, because we hardly saw a fish after a few hours. Beautiful weather, not a cloud, hardly a bug, I paddled in shorts and a t-shirt and boundary boots. Was a bit hot for Ben, but the Maine coast had had a long cold spring and the warm weather felt great to me.

Low flow and lots of trees in the river this year blocking passage - most were lift overs, one or two drag arounds – bend after bend after bend after bend – a few shallow swifts – a bit of current – we made not quite 30kms by about 8:30pm and camped where we had last year. The water level difference was very apparent here – where last year the site was about flooded out, this year there was 20 feet of dry clearing for boats and tent space, and the river was a foot or two below the bank. With the nice weather and lack of flying fiends we passed on the bug hut and flipped a canoe to make a kitchen table. After cocktails, cigars, and other necessities were in order, I went about making ‘walking tacos’ - Zatarains’ dirty rice mix with 2 pounds of ground sausage and beef, salsa, refried beans, and cheese on a bed of Fritos (I forgot the guac!) – tasted pretty good. Had a little fire and chatted – probably til quite late. Somewhere in the timeline Ben produced surprise desert #1 – a CostCo apple pie!! Somewhat smaller than a truck tire, we halved it, then divided one half into thirds, and had at. Felt great to be back on the river.

Sunday, May 28 dawned with a sprinkle of rain that lasted 5 minutes, then cleared off and another warm cloudless day was upon us – of course, I wasn’t aware of the dawn sprinkle, but I’m told it occurred. We set about making coffee and tea around 10am, and I cracked some eggs into the leftover meat and rice mix for our breakfast. We got packed up slowly and were on the river before 1pm – ok, a bit late, but we knew where we were going. Again, somewhere around 25ish kms of spruce and alder-lined bend after bend after bend. More down trees, beaver dams, etc. Made it to another familiar camp by 7:30pm. Obviously someone’s fishing spot, there are rough benches and a little table built into the trees here. Getting a bit buggy, so we put the hut up for Ben to sleep in, but they weren’t terrible, so we didn’t retreat to it. Ritual evening habits poured and lit, we made a little fire and fixed up meal-in-a-bag dinners, then cleaned up the apple pie.

I toasted some English muffins in butter for breakfast the next morning (Monday, May 29) and we were off by 12:30. I think I recall a tailwind (!!) crossing that long lake, and after that lake the river changes considerably, now much wider. 19kms to the next big lake and we stopped to camp in the dooryard of the Cree camp on the east bank of that lake about 5:30. Someone had been there not too long ago – there were a few filleted walleye carcasses in the shallows nearby that a very happy seagull was picking over. Nice to have an early camp - we broke out the cheese and sausage and crackers, chocolates, and of course, the croquet set. A cloudless afternoon on a stunning lake, with cocktails, cigars, and croquet – we were lapping it up. Tom grilled our steaks on the fire for supper, and I sauteed red peppers and onions, and made a cheesy noodle thing. Small chocolates for dessert. Ben won the Upper Kesagami River croquet championship. Sadly, it was the only game we played on the entire trip!

We had a long way to go on Tuesday (May 30), and we actually made it out of camp at 10:30 – a fairly remarkable feat for us. Coffee and tea first, but breakfast was fruit and granola bars and crackers to save on time. The same stuff was shoved into deck bags for snacks and lunch, as usual. After the lake the UKR has about 10kms of current and small rapids – much smaller this year with the lower water. Very unremarkable – even a bit scrapey – not a good sign of things to come. Ben wound up stuck on a rock in the middle of a 4 foot ledge drop. From downstream you could see the rock entirely – his boat was blocking all the water from it. He finally got off the rock and Fuddle the Lion (his paddling companion) berated him for choosing a poor line. After the quicker water, the river really splays out and gets sluggish, but we had a southwest wind that blew us right along the last 10kms to the river’s mouth and the entrance to Newnham Bay. We collected ourselves here, and planned to meet at the end of the bay if we got separated for some reason. That SW wind helped the first push out to the start of the little Cape Cod-looking arm, but then crossing from it to the west shore was a challenge, even with a doubleblade. Slowly we progressed up the bay, and I got about 15 minutes ahead of Tom and 45 minutes ahead of Ben. I waited for them to catch up at the halfway point, then we all headed up the last 10kms or so together, the wind having abated considerably. Beautiful sunset at 9:30 on another beautiful day as we floated up to the campsite beach at the very end of Newnham Bay. 41kms today. Around the corner was Lake Kasagami, but that was for tomorrow to worry about. Habitual evening rituals, meal-in-a-bag, and chat around the fire. Another fairly bug-free night.

On Wednesday May 31 paddlers were seen approaching from the direction we had come yesterday at a frighteningly early hour – probably about 11am. I had just taken a bath in the lake, and we were still drinking coffee, about half packed, and these guys had already knocked out about 30kms since their breakfast. Bill had told us that there was a group putting on at UKL the day after us – but we didn’t expect to see them at all. These guys caught us in 4 days! I believe the group was from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – there were about 8 of them, all paddling pocket canyons solo, pretty lightly packed, with doubleblades. They came over for a chat and told us they were planning to paddle all of Kesagami Lake that same afternoon and do the portage into the Nettogami. Hoo-rah…go get ‘em, boys. Phew... Someone pass the half and half… They lunched across the way from us, and we all headed out about noon to cross the lake. They passed us after the first push as we waited for Ben to catch up. We had some west (head) winds and slightly stormy conditions (gusty with a few sprinkles, but no real rain) but it raised the chop on the lake pretty good over the next 6 hours it took for us to cross, and Tom and I caught a few small pike during the rests. Took about 2 hours to do the portage across to Partridge Lake – the trail was mucky and muddy, but it was fairly open and mostly flat. We found the outfitter’s cabin at the head of the Partridge River empty and unlocked at 9pm, so that became home for the night. Ten-inch foam mattresses, a gas stove and lights, decent screens, an outhouse – Shangri-la!! We snacked a bit along with our evening necessaries, then I fixed a big carbonara pasta dinner with a pound of sausage and a pound of bacon – there were no leftovers. I can’t recall when surprise deserts #2 and #3 appeared – but Ben also provided home-made fruit cake and palm-sized oatmeal raisin cookies along the way.

Another beautiful (late) morning, and we left a freshly swept cabin after eggs and English muffins about 1:30pm on June 1 and finally headed down the Partridge River – which was a rocky drag for the first few hundred yards – again filled with walleye that were completely intent on getting up into the lake. The river here is not even a canoe wide, and the next dozen clicks were full of lift-over blow-downs, beaver dams, and quick shallow swifts – when we weren’t crossing the two lakes in rotten headwinds. We found a clear grassy island at 6:30 or so and decided to call it a day, and set up the bug hut before the black flies got too bad. Too buggy for croquet, we reclined in our camp chairs in the hut and indulged our other proclivities. Eventually we made meal-in-a-bag suppers. Getting wood for a fire seemed like a lot of effort, so we abandoned the idea. Though we didn’t know it yet, the low water drags would become a theme, and for the next 7 days we would make little better than 2 or 2.5kms/hour – half the speed we were making on the UKR – and our hopes of catching the Tuesday, Thursday or Friday train dwindled with each passing day.

Coffee and tea and a cold breakfast started June 2, another nice day. We got out of camp by 11:10 somehow, and we all felt like overachievers. The river continued to wind its way along through narrow corridors of alders, sometimes at quite a clip, and then end in small swifts, CIs, or small ledges. The fast parts were punctuated by dozens and dozens and dozens of more blown down trees – some were lift-overs, some were bash-throughs, a few we managed to saw out of the way, and some created formidable drag-around situations. There was also one falls to portage around. Still, there were enough fun fast chutes and drops to keep things pleasant. At about 7:10 we came upon a large rock outcrop on river left that made a nice camp spot, so we set up shop. We felt like we had had a good day, but realized we had gone not quite 19 kms and had taken 8 hours to do it - not so impressive. Another meal-in-a-bag supper – and I think it was at this site that Ben’s fancy MSR Reactor stove bit the dust – there was a little pop as we lit it, and then nothing, despite multiple efforts. Redundancy in our packing paid off at this point – there were three more stoves to pick from. We had a little fire on the rock down by the water.

A typical start to Saturday, June 3 – day 8 - another pretty day. On the water by 12:30 and we were quickly back to the pulling and dragging and shoving down the shallow river. There was a drag around a falls, and the black flies were out in force. We called it quits at 7:30 and camped on a grassy shelf about 8’ above the river because we hadn’t seen anything better and the skeeters were coming on thick. The bug hut was deployed and it was another meal-in-a-bag night. Only 14.5kms today but we were really going to start cleaning up the kms in the long sets of rapids that were to come tomorrow…. Right?

Sunday, June 4 and the crew was pretty whipped. It was a slow-moving morning and I toasted the last English muffins for breakfast. Finally packed up and off the shelf by 12:30, we were looking forward to those 6 or 8 kms of long sets at Kanatotik Rapids. But they weren’t there. The rocks were there – 6 or 8 kms of a continuous boulder-garden drop. But there wasn’t enough water to float a boat over the rocks, or around them, or through them. So again, the next 8 hours were spent getting our boats downstream in whatever way possible. There were a few places you could get a 20 or 50 meter run before you grounded out – but not many. Somehow, I managed to find a bit of paddle-able water and quickly broached on a rock and sent myself for a shallow swim while my boat went port gunwhale down in the river and started to fill. Self-rescue accomplished, I realized I had gotten quite far ahead of Tom and Ben and hadn’t seen either of them in some time. I waited a bit after bailing my boat, but standing around just made one an easier target for the black flies, and a heavy cloud cover had come in accompanied by a drop in temperature. So on I went and eventually found what seemed to be the end of the rapids (the rocks became much smaller and the gradient leveled out). I pulled over to wait but no one was in sight, and I knew just the stretch of river I could see upstream had taken me 45 minutes to get through. I was getting cold, so I pulled out my drybags and got out my wetsuit for the first time on the whole trip and warmed up in it. Eventually, first Tom, and then Ben turned up. It was 8pm by then and we made camp on a level-ish gravel bar across the river from where I had been waiting. We set up the bug hut and made meal-in-a-bag for dinner. 16km day – about 2km per hour. I think that was the night we knew we were not going to finish the river in time to catch the Friday train – which meant we had until Monday to make Moosonee, not that we thought we had a lot of time to dawdle. It was a tired bunch that hit their bedrolls that night.

So it wasn’t surprising that we got up late on Monday, June 5, and took our time getting out of camp – a 1:30 departure for Day 10. Upon shoving off, there was a remarkable change in the topography of the river – the basketball-to-medicine-ball-sized boulders of the rock gardens now gave way to endless shoals of smaller dinner-plate sized river rocks, mostly just under the surface of the water. Simultaneously, the river, now 30-40 feet wide, was surrounded by 30 foot high sandy banks. For the first 8kms (3.5 hours), the river ran a repetitive combination of 200-300 meters of shallow shoals that we walked and dragged through, followed by a ‘pool’ that we could paddle through to the next set of shoals. Finally the river found a channel deep enough to paddle in, and we were able to make somewhat better progress. Then the river fanned out into a shallow lake about a km long, and at the end was a set of falls. Again up ahead of the group, I scouted both sides of the falls by the time Tom caught up and we scouted the right side again when he arrived. We waited for Ben to arrive, then pitched the idea of camping where we were, about 100 yards upstream of the falls on a low grassy shelf. Temps were dropping quickly so we didn’t envision needing the bug hut. We pitched tents and I dragged a canoe up and flipped it for a dinner table. We broke the duct tape seal and opened cooler 2 for the first time – extracting a bag of *still* frozen green beans, and a 3-pound vacuum-packed smoked brisket (and more cocktail ice, of course). We simmered the brisket in its bag in a pot of water for a long while, sauteed the green beans in olive oil, and made some instant mashies to go-along with our beef and fire. Another 16km day behind us, and we would start tomorrow with a portage. I noted there was frost on the canoe/dinner table as I headed for bed.

True to form, day 11 was yet another pretty day. I cracked some eggs into the leftover brisket and fried it up for breakfast. Decidedly cooler, the wetsuit remained in service since its first appearance the other day. The wind had shifted into the north and it was slowing us down and keeping us chilly. But it also kept the bugs to a minimum. Out of camp a smidge before 1pm, there was a bit of dragging required to get to the portage, but once we got out of the river the portage itself was fairly quick – a short up and over, then a nice mossy slide down to the water. The next 12kms were more ledge drops that would have been fun with more water, more dragging, more ledges, more dragging, and all headwind. At 6:30 we camped on the upstream side of an island on a sizeable sandy beach that would have made a good croquet course, but no one had the energy. Tom grilled kielbasa and mixed it with a pot of jambalaya for our supper. We consolidated what was left in my cooler into Tom’s, and my cooler became a storage box for the rest of the trip.

We left the island by 1pm on day 12, June 7, and spent most of the afternoon negotiating the many, many ledges encountered around the left side of Bear Island. Some of the channels we had to follow were almost completely devoid of water – lots more dragging and walking the boats, followed by lots of lift overs. There was one portage along the way where the left channel of the river splits around an island and both sides plunge over very narrow and steep chutes – both containing log sweepers to decapitate the paddler who didn’t scout first. Not long after that portage the topography changed remarkably again – losing its rocky appearance, different trees lined the banks, and it became more muddy – you could smell the mud. We had reached the lowlands. We paddled (actually paddled) a few more clicks after the right and left channels around Bear Island re-connected and about 8pm wound up grabbing a lousy piece of shelf about 4’ above the river that was just wide enough for the tents in a single file line. We pitched quick, grabbed a cocktail, and dove into our own tents to wait out the bugs since there was no space for the bug hut. After the little f-ers died down, we emerged to cook a meal-in-a-bag and sit about and chat around our no-fire camp. 18kms.

June 8, day 13, more pretty weather, and now that we were down past the big drops we figured we’d roll down through the lowland flats. Of course, ‘twas not to be. All day was more dragging through seemingly endless shale shoals. We worked from noon until 7pm, doing very little actual paddling. Just walked alongside the boats – with barely enough water to float/drag our way along. The only respite during the day was finding fossils in the shale – they were so frequently seen that by mid-afternoon they became passe and we just stepped on them and moved on. We knew dragging over the shale was chewing up the bottom of our boats something ugly, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. By 7 there wasn’t any steam left – everyone was wrecked, and we pitched on a somewhat level grassy bank on river left. We put the hut up before the bugs got too bad, and had snacks and cocktails, etc, (yep, there was still ice!). We made another brisket with some mashies on the side for supper. Another night where making a fire was just too much effort. 20 kms.

Another blue sky greeted us at (mid)morning on day 14, June 9, as we packed up and prepared to motivate our asses to the sea. We (mostly) paddled (thank the gods!) from noon to 7:30pm. With a bit of current, a few very small swifts, and very little scraping and dragging, we made 30kms through picturesque scenery. We camped on the upstream side of a small island, and Tom, who landed first, had a bear sighting just downstream. Heavy clouds were building all day, so we pitched the bug hut and put on the rain fly, and also got a fire going. Drinks poured, Tom started grilling 2 racks of smoked ribs and I made a cheesy noodle thing with some errant pasta from Ben’s bag and some cheese and butter in the cooler. Dinner was ready just as the rain started. We ate comfortably in the shelter of the hut, the rain passed, and we had some time by the fire which survived the rain. We retired to our tents a few hours later as the rain returned.

We woke up 10kms from the Bay on day 15, June 10, with heavy skies above us, but no rain. We shook last night’s rain off the tents and hut, and packed up, but headed out purposefully late about 2pm. We only had 10km to go and wanted to hit the mouth of the river as the tide was still heading out but not absolutely low, so we could ride it out into the bay and get across to Shipsands Island at the mouth of the Moose River. We also filtered a ton of water before we left, as we would be in brackish and salt water until we got to Moosonee. Small swifts and a bit of current helped us against the day-long headwinds we faced. But, when we finally turned the last corner out of the river and into the Bay, we were hit with a ferocious north wind that made forward progress nearly impossible. We beat a strategic withdrawal less than a click back upriver and found a bit of dry high ground just big enough to pitch the hut and a few tents. We hoped we were above the tide (turned out we were…by about a foot). We talked about our options once we had the shelter up, and since the wind wasn’t going to improve much the next day, we decided to try to get a freighter canoe to meet us at the mouth of the river. We connected via InReach and some spotty texting with the Moose Cree tourism rep in Moose Factory and arranged the boat, who wanted us to meet him at 10:30am the following morning. With our ride established, we settled in to a long evening – cheese, crackers, sausage, chocolates, meal-in-a-bag, and deposited the very last of the block ice into our cocktails (then the G&T bottles went into the cold water of the cooler)… Went to bed late and got up early, expecting to only have to paddle a few clicks to meet the freighter shuttle.

Well, surprise, surprise – that didn’t work out. We left our camp as instructed by the pilot at 10am and by 11am we were stuck in the mud flats with no boat in sight and no chance in hell that we could’ve been anywhere close enough to reach it in the past hour. Stuck in about an inch of water, Tom went for a walk and disappeared into the mirage of sand and water and sky to scout the flats on foot in hopes of finding a channel that would lead us out to deeper water, but to no avail. I think his only words on return were, “there’s no f-ing water anywhere!” And so we waited for the tide. I suggested a croquet game in the sand, but no one was interested. In hindsight, it would’ve been a great way to spend the afternoon. It was a brisk 40 degrees out and the stiff, 20mph wind out of the north was relentless, but it was mostly sunny. If you hunkered down in your boat out of the wind, it wasn’t terrible. Mostly. We sulked. We strolled. We smoked. We snacked. We looked at the clock. Rinse and repeat. By 7pm I was shivering and cold down to the bone. Then the water came. Slow at first, we watched it creep over the sand. Ben stood next to his canoe and gave it a gentle kick every minute or two – and finally… the boat moved – and floated a few inches away. We started walking with the boats – and before long there was enough water to hop in and push our way along, and then we could paddle. The weird mirages and giant standing stones in the far distance began to disappear and we were quite suddenly on big open water. The wind and the current took us right across the end of the peninsula between the mouths of the Partridge and the Moose with some big chop, and it only took us an hour and a half to make the 12 kms to Shipsands Island where we found a clear beach and a flat grassy spot to pitch on. No sooner than we had gotten the bug hut up, a water taxi/freighter canoe bore down on our beach and deposited 8 white dudes in various states of Canadian-river-adventure-wear – academics? – missionaries? – no, paddlers! We were being visited by the infamous Michigan Gunnel Grabbbers – a canoe club some decades old – this was the ‘younger’ contingent – who had paddled down some river that ended in the Moose, made their way to Moosonee, and hired a taxi to get out and see the Bay. Nice guys, quick visit – the meter was running. We finished setting up camp, and after a few rounds of cocktails, I made pancakes and 2 pounds of bacon. We reconnected with the freighter canoe pilot and arranged a shuttle up to Moosonee in the morning to avoid paddling the 20kms against the tide. Stick a spork in us - we were done.

Day 17, Monday, June 12, again greeted us without a cloud in the sky. We rose and made coffee and tea and started packing and the freighter pilot showed up 30 minutes early. We chatted about the day before, and he told us he had been there waiting for us, but needed to stay so far out to sea so he didn’t get stuck in the mud, that he never saw us and we never saw him. Kind of frustrating but, oh well… whatchagonnado? As we were packing, Tom started wandering around and then asked if anyone had seen his doubleblade…? Apparently, Tom and Ben had run into some issues doing the dishes the night before - the tide had gone and they were stumbling amongst the rocks and muck to find enough water to do the washing up. Once they did, an errant wave took one of our plates and sporks out to sea, and, in an attempt to retrieve it, they grabbed a doubleblade to try to reach it – which was unsuccessful. Only in the morning did they realize that in their zeal to return the remaining dishes to the bug hut, they forgot to bring the paddle back with them… And so another custom paddle was sacrificed to the gods of the James Bay. The freighter canoe was loaded by 11am, we speeded up the 20kms of the Moose, and we were on the public dock at Moosonee before noon. We hired a truck to haul our gear to the train station, and not long after met up with the Gunnel Grabbers who were taking the same train. We set up camp chairs on the siding and swapped stories and discussed gear, as is the habit of paddlers the world over, and took turns keeping an eye on things as one group and then the other walked to the Northern Store/KFC for some hot food and groceries for the 5 hour train trip back to Cochrane. The train departed at 5pm and an uneventful journey ended in Cochrane about 9:45 where Bill met us in the parking lot with our vehicles. We loaded up, said goodbye to the GGs, deposited Bill at home, and went back to the Sleaze-O Motel for showers and the last of the gin and tonic.

Tom and I split Cochrane about 8am on Day 18, June 13 and made it back to Maine around 1 or 2am with no issues. Tom was on the road the following morning by 10am, and got home, again, about 1am. We had hoped to do the trip in 12 days with the trains out on Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9. The low water levels and obstacles we encountered held us back, but only by 2 days – and it was frustrating that those last two days were largely spent waiting - first on the tide and then on the train – but there wasn’t much we could do about it. The dragging certainly took its toll on us, physically – we were all pretty beat; but it really did a number on our boats – Tom’s and my boats’ hulls looked like they’d been scraped over a cheese grater, with the gel coat completely gone in the lowest spots, and Ben’s not only took the same beating, but his Mohawk also sustained an ugly 8” tear in the royalex that went right down to the core, as well. For those who like statistics, in total, it took us 116 hours of moving time to cover the 331 kms. (Subtract out 1 hour and 20kms for the boat ride up the Moose – that didn’t count.) For 7 consecutive days on the Partridge we never exceeded 2.5km/hr!

Despite it being a drag, I think a good time was had by all… but it’s not going to make a very exciting video.

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"There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." - WATER RAT, The Wind in the Willows


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PostPosted: August 8th, 2023, 11:30 pm 
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Joined: December 20th, 2003, 9:27 am
Posts: 1092
Great read as always. Thanks for posting.


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PostPosted: August 9th, 2023, 3:52 pm 
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Joined: July 9th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Cambridge, Ontario
I enjoyed the read, thanks for sharing. I quickly forget the pain - I'm sure you will too. I'm really hoping to get out on the Partridge or another river in the area next spring - I'll ensure to pay close attention to levels!


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PostPosted: August 9th, 2023, 9:55 pm 
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Joined: June 21st, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Woodstock, Ontario Canada
Thanks for sharing

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Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Prov. 19:20


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PostPosted: November 5th, 2023, 3:20 pm 
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Joined: March 25th, 2022, 1:20 pm
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Great read, I'm one of the paddlers who ran into you guys just before crossing Lake Kesagami. We made it to the Cabin on the small lake just after the portage around 8pm only to find a bear had gone in through one of the widows and trashed the place. Did our best to clean up and seal up the broken windows. We stayed the night and hoped the bear didn't return.
The portage to head waters of the Nettogami was an experience I wont forget, up to our waist dragging canoes for solid 5 hrs. Sure was nice to go for a swim when we finished.
We also experienced crazy low water levels for that time of the year and couldn't help but think of you guys on the Partridge, I've paddled that couple of times and it doesn't carry a lot of water.
The bugs came out in full force by Friday and the best place to be was in the canoe so we put some long days of paddling in and made it to Moosonee by Tuesday afternoon just in time to catch the train back to Cochrane.
Our Group of 6 all agreed we need to go back and paddle the Nettogami in higher water.


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PostPosted: November 5th, 2023, 10:20 pm 
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I bet the swamp upstream of the Nettogami was a bear with no water. Definitely worth a return trip - for both of us!

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