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PostPosted: April 20th, 2020, 7:56 pm 
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What was the worst trip you've been on?

Mine has to be the Meramec River in Missouri. Was a hot day towards the end of the week. Had everything set and ready to go. Got to the river and put in. I was alone for the first hour or so, then around the bend comes what seemed to me like a WALL of people, blaring their music so loud I couldn't think. Apparently a local country radio station was sponsoring a float trip.

To top it all off, there were thunderstorms far upstream (I could hear the low rumbles after I had gotten further from the maddening crowd.) and I knew that the river was going to start rising. I had looked at the weather that morning and had seen that there was a very slight chance of rain (something along the likes of 20%) I knew a friend who owned property along the river and had gotten permission to camp on his land. I pulled off and set up camp.

Best lightning I had ever seen that night...


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PostPosted: April 20th, 2020, 9:55 pm 
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I’ve had a few, generally it stemmed from too much booze and weed.

Bushwhacked into Bissett lake area a few years ago after a plough wind had gone through. Drank, smoked and ate too much. It was a long trip out.

Did a trip down the Sydenham many years ago with a buddy and didn’t tell anyone we were going. Being the underachieving teenagers that we were, there was more than enough “entertainment” to go around. Queue he police.... wasn’t pretty.

Looking back, I can smile about it now.


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PostPosted: April 23rd, 2020, 12:35 pm 
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Location: Georgetown, ON
With some deep thought, I was able to think of one that was a little less than satisfactory. The thing is, I would consider every single wilderness trip I have ever been on, to have been basically good. Surely this includes hundreds of day hikes and short river descents.

But then there was that one time;
On the Friday evening while the group was scheduled to drive out to Frontenac Provincial Park for the weekend, a heavy duty snow storm got started and all the cars were behind a line of plows. Since progress was so slow, we ended up pulling off the highway and not-so-stealth camping in a crop field for the night. So far so good. Eventually on Saturday we were able to get to the park boundaries, to the site, and then set up a winter camp in an appropriate spot. And it was still good.
Then on Sunday morning, as everyone was just getting up to greet the day, a young woman had by this time decided that since her ambition to have a hard-core experience was already satisfied, we could all go home now. Her tent was down with everything packed and she was talking recruits into leaving. I think this is the only time I have had an actually unproductive argument with someone on a campsite.

I took a phone call from work on a campsite once, then later in the day went home and did my job for a while. But this time, people went home with hard feelings.

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PostPosted: April 23rd, 2020, 12:49 pm 
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2018 Scouts annual 5 day trip in La Verendrye we had a severe thunderstorm blow through the campsite late one evening and wreak havok on the camp. Winds were so high that canoes became airborn. It was pretty hairy for a while.

You can read my trip report on our blog here : http://32ndottawascouting.blogspot.com/ ... ndrye.html


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PostPosted: April 23rd, 2020, 4:46 pm 
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For me canoe trips are a bit like beer---no bad ones but some are better than others!

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PostPosted: April 24th, 2020, 2:57 pm 
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I should've worded it better.


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PostPosted: April 28th, 2020, 7:52 pm 
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Ackman12 wrote:
I should've worded it better.


I think I get what you were asking about.

My worst trip was my first ever attempt at winter camping. A friend and I set out in the QE2 wildlands in early January, with essentially our 3 season gear. Luckily it was only -7C that night, so we were right at the limit of our equipment. I made for an unbelievably cold and sleepless night.

We also learned some lessons the hard way, like the importance of ventilation in a tent or that its possible to "burn" snow melt water.

All in all though, while it was a rough trip, it still hasn't stopped us from winter camping since (the proper way).


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PostPosted: April 28th, 2020, 10:28 pm 
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Location: Winnipeg, MB
I had a three night trip with my wife and two friends that starte out amazing: May long in MB and we were putting sunscreen on, drinkng beer around a nice fire and otters were playing around our night two camp.

Day three morning, we woke to plus 8 and pouring rain. Not too bad. We knew there was a little rain in the forcast and it would drop to zero that night; typical MB spring tripping. The temperature dropped fast. By the afternoon it was barely above zero and pouring rain. We were soaked. Wearing ordinary raincoats instead of paddling jackets, we had rain pour down our sleeves and enter through our zippers. We were freezing!

We got to camp and a little snow started falling as we set up. I felt better as the rain turned to snow, since we weren't as wet, but my wife and one friend were still so cold they wouldn't consider supper. We went straight into our tents, dried off, ate some snacks and eventually went to sleep. We couldn't find our paddles in the morning because of the snow.

I'll just call it one bad day out of a long weekend trip but it was one hell of a bad day.

I've done whitewater trips in colder weather since then, but being prepared with a drysuit and some warmer clothes made those trips nowhere near what we went through on the Manigotagan River, May Long 2015.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 10:34 am 
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My worst trip was solely due to my paddle partner. The route was absolutely fine (Donald Lake), but I learned to not expect much when bringing people that don't really backcountry camp along. The issue was, of the two of us, I was doing literally everything. It was like solo camping, except I had someone to look after. Setting things up/taking things? Me. Cooking food and cleaning up? Me. Paddling most of the time? Me. And to that the non-stop complaining about the difficulty of the trip and a lack of a thunderbox. Fair enough that they turned out to not be too interested in the experience, but I've definitely refrained from inviting them on a trip again 3 years later. Funny enough the person is a guy my age, and has experience camping, so it wasn't completely as if I was taking someone completely helpless.

So far I haven't come across a route that I despised. I'm sure something thats non-stop lift over, blow downs, portages and bushwacks with nothing in the way of a view, would be miserable for me though.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 11:48 am 
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For me, trips that have been somewhat rough or didn’t go as planned make for great learning experiences. New levels of suffering create a higher level of tolerance. So when I’m paddling in heavy rain or snow or wind, it really makes me appreciate a warm sunny day on the water. I can remember tripping in very cold weather and freezing but I got through it and I’m a better paddler for it. Now when it snows or rains heavy it’s like been there down that...no biggie.

The hardest trip I’ve been on is the Katawagami River. Portages sucked. The rapids were pushy. The weather was mostly lousy. But I got through it. It ended with a helicopter ride (not planned!!!) but it was still a successful trip. We navigated a known dangerous river at high levels, experienced very high levels. Took a week longer than expected to finish. But I learned the importance of packing extra food (which I did). Learned the hard lesson that canoes have weight capacities that should be respected. The boat I paddled was much too small for me. Learned the importance of practising in a new canoe before taking it on a remote extended trip.

I had done a lot of research on the Kat. Felt I was ready for it. Talked to a fellow paddler who had paddled it a number of times. He said that if you have trouble in the first rapid - expect a long trip. Well I dumped in the first rapid! Hahaha! It was a long trip indeed!

Sam

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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 2:29 pm 
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Location: North Bay, Ontario
In 1989 my wife and I went down the North Knife River, which flows into Hudson Bay just north of Churchill. While all trips seem better in retrospect, there were definitely a couple of major downsides on this one.

The bugs were absolutely unbelievable. There can be no place on earth worse than the lowlands of Hudson Bay in July. It defies description. An evil combination of mosquitoes, blackflies and probably other bloodsucking beasts. We had headnets but they seemed to allow the smallest blackflies free entry. The onslaught was relentless, it just never let up. In the evenings we would sprint around and around the tent, then dive in, one at a time. We would spend the next half hour killing all the bugs.

The North Knife exits in a 3 channel delta, a few km wide. We were told by our outfitter, who was to pick us up by boat, to exit the north channel, where there would be a cabin at the end where we could stay and wait for pickup. On the appointed day we came out the north channel, and hey presto, no cabin.

If you have never experienced the southern Hudson Bay coast, in my opinion it is the worst place on earth. There is no real coast at all, the land just slowly fades into the sea. The boulder-strewn tidal flats extend for km at low tide. Add to this, it is absolutely overrun with polar bears in the summer. It is a surreal landscape, with no sense of scale, where every boulder looks like a cabin.

We had no real bear protection so we knew we couldn't stay put. We also knew that, logically, the cabin must be south of us on one of the other channels. The tide was coming in, the weather was OK, so we decided to paddle south. We started paddling, weaving around the boulders. It was nearly impossible to even see anything like a coast, and we were afraid we would miss the cabin. Every distant boulder looked like a cabin. Some of the boulders moved. Turns out they were bears. I have to say that I have seldom been more terrified than during this paddle.

Eventually, more by luck than design, we did spot the cabin. It was such a relief to get there. But by that time we had already missed our pickup. So we hunkered down. The bugs were so bad even inside the cabin that we set up our tent on the floor.

The outfitter came again the next day. As we paddled out to meet his boat, my tooth crown fell out into the sea. I'm sure the outfitter thought we had scurvy. He was pissed off at first, but we had his instructions in writing, so in the end he admitted his mistake. Turns out he had been thinking of the Seal River, where there was a cabin on the north channel. He was quite apologetic after that and even shipped out my canoe for free.

It all ended well, but it was definitely not our most enjoyable trip. The North Knife is a beautiful river, however.

Kinguq.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 2:32 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I have been canoe tripping since the 70’s and have been screwed or, more often, screwed up, in almost every way imaginable. Run out of potable water on tidal trips. Trips, plural. Had tents collapse in unexpected heavy snowfall. Went on a Florida panhandle trip, poorly prepared with light gear, when it froze and sleeted.

Had companions sheepishly discover that the keys to their vehicle at the take out were back at the put in. Also more than once with that car key business; I learned to not just ask, but to demand “Show me your keys, jingle them for me”.

Did an early spring trip on the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania (Pine Creek gorge). An unseasonably warm spring launch day when every rental canoe, kayak and raft within 100 miles was booked and at the put in. It was the biggest on-water zoo I have ever seen.

I paddled like hell to get ahead of the mass mess, but when I got to the only “rapid” of any consequence (Owassee?) there were other consequences. In the form of dozens of capsized rental Colemans being “rescued” in the most clueless of manners, and several cases of Busch or Bud Light cans bobbing in the run out. I did not stop to help, or retrieve shitty beers.

Been windbound for days, once foraging for clams and mussels as sustenance; paired with the last of the Tequila they weren’t bad. Been evacuated in the midst of a nor’easter. Tripped with companions I wanted to strangle by day 3; it would have been so easy to hide the body.

Most memorably, been stranded at a take out on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande with no water, no wallet or ID or cash, and no shuttle driver (driving my truck) making a timely appearance. The absolute BEST I have ever felt in my life was 20 minutes after my truck showed up, after I racked my canoe and was back in the US, windows down at the wheel, blasting tunes, sucking down a bottle of water the driver had thoughtfully brought with her.

At least in memory none of those were “bad” trips. My singular worst trip was all of my own stupidity. All the forewarning signs were there, I stupidly ignored them.

I was on a long post-retirement meander through the north east, starting in the Adirondacks and eventually wandering my way up to Maine, freelancing stops along the way. Spur of the moment deciding to stop and paddle here and there. Including a stop to paddle-in camp on the Green River Reservoir in Vermont. I should note, in retrospect, that the day I arrived was the first dry, warm, sunny day in weeks. I did not know that at the time. The end result was comically bad.

From that old trip report:

I’ve wanted to paddle GRR since the early 90’s when the lake operated with no designated campsites, reservations, fees or facilities. I knew beforehand that this had changed considerably over the last 20 years.

It is now a fully operating State Park with fees and reservable sites, and I had read the ominous warning “Parking is extremely limited and is available on a first come, first serve basis. Once the parking areas are full, visitors will not be allowed to enter the park.”
(There is a work around to that which became apparent)

I had no reservation, other than having reservations about needing a reservation. But it is only a short and scenic detour along my route up to GRR. Why not try.

There was a single parking space available at GRR when I arrived. At 9am on a Wednesday morning. There was also but a single campsite available. I began to hear ominous music in my head, but after speaking at length with the Ranger about places we had paddled and boats and etc, and expressing my concerns about the potential quality of a site that no one apparently wants, opted to forge ahead given his reassurances.

I was loaded and launched in short order, but not short enough to help but notice that more and more paddlers and boats of every sort continued to appear at the put in. Where they are parking became less of a mystery, the local rental liveries are somehow able trailer in loads of day paddlers and return later to pick them up.

It is still early in the day and a short paddle to my designated site, and I decide to circumnavigate the lake before heading up the north arm to site #15. Many of the sites on GRR are beautiful. As I circumnavigate the lake I began see more and more boats; sea kayaks, canoes good and bad, even a few paddleboards.

And many, many rec kayaks. Whole flotillas of rec kayaks delivered by outfitters. Up the northern arm towards site 15 there are far fewer paddlers about and I begin to have a good feeling about this.

That good feeling lasted only until I arrived at site 15. The site was, without question, the worst designated campsite that I have seen in 40 years of paddling. It is tiny, which matters little to me, but it is also beyond soggy. It had been a wet spring and summer in the Cold Hollow Mountains and flowing springs and seeps had appeared along the uphill side of the site. There is one semi-dry area back in the woods where I could squeeze my small tent, but the entire site itself is shoe sucking mud and running water, including a freshet flowing directly through the firepit.

I know there is rain coming and try to imagine any possible reason to camp on the site beyond already being there with my gear. I mutter to myself “Hell, I’d rather sleep in my boat”, and then realized that I’d have to take out my gear first.

I had wanted to paddle Green River Reservoir, and I did. Back to the landing, not dawdling this time, to haul gear, rack boat and get gone to someplace better.

Holy Mother – I like other paddlers, but this is an infestation. When I arrived at the narrow dirt road carry down to the landing it is complete chaos. There must be 30 paddlers waiting in line to get their boats to the water and more arriving every minute. I scull around offshore waiting for a window of opportunity to land and beat feet, and as I do I overhear one of the waiting paddlers remark “Wow, I’ve never seen it this crowded”.

Help Mr Wizard, get me out of here!

That may have been the fastest I ever racked a boat and randomly thrown gear into a vehicle. I didn’t even look at map until I’d made some miles away from that scene, breathing a sigh of relief.

I would normally have been perturbed or disappointed, but it was such a comically bad experience, and I was so happy to be headed away, that I was laughing about it even as I was fighting my way through the crowd with my boat and gear.


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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 5:20 pm 
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:lol: :lol: :lol: I did not stop to help, or retrieve shitty beers.-----

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PostPosted: April 29th, 2020, 6:59 pm 
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Mike McCrea wrote:
...Holy Mother – I like other paddlers, but this is an infestation. When I arrived at the narrow dirt road carry down to the landing it is complete chaos. There must be 30 paddlers waiting in line to get their boats to the water and more arriving every minute. I scull around offshore waiting for a window of opportunity to land and beat feet, and as I do I overhear one of the waiting paddlers remark “Wow, I’ve never seen it this crowded”....


This makes me feel anxious. The thought of that many people makes me want to throw up.


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PostPosted: April 30th, 2020, 2:37 pm 
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Neil, I have summer day paddled in some popular places, but the Green River Reservoir that day was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was, as usual, my own stupidity. When a lake has a couple dozen designated campsites and only one is vacant. . . . .hell, I knew better.

I usually keep the tripping truck neat and well organized. Not that time; I haphazardly threw my gear in the bed and fled, passing yet more outfitter trailers loaded with rental boats on my way out. I didn’t even stop to look at a map until I was miles away.

I forgot about spending hours trapped on a mudflat on the Florida coast because “Tides?” What are these tides of which you speak?” A lot of that stupidity came from not listening. I was good at not listening.

The “stranded on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande was a case of not listening. First trip down Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande in Big Bend. I had driven all day and night from SE Arizona and was psyched to get on the water. Got to talking with a lady in Boquillas Village and she offered to bring my truck to the take out in 5 days for a reasonable fee.

Great. I filled a 5 gallon carboy with water (it was late June, and 100+f), tossed the rest of my gear in the canoe and handed her my keys. Pick me up in La Linda in 5 days. Yeah, yeah, yeah, something about a gravel bar on river right just after the last island. See ya in La Linda.

Wonderful trip, but hot. Very hot. I had emptied 5 gallons of water in 4 days. I didn’t have a water filter (or know what one was). I settled some Rio Grande silt, “filtered” it through an almost clean pair of socks stuffed with toilet paper, added a few drops of iodine and drank that. Not much of it, 100F Rio Grande sock filtered iodine water is not very tasty.

I was really thirsty by the next day, down to La Linda I go. There’s the bridge. Pull up the canoe and wait for Mary. I think her name was Mary. Or Maria.

Waiting for Mary. Sitting under the bridge, waiting for Mary. Still waiting for Mary.

Mary, uh, Mary who? In my enthusiasm I didn’t bother to get her last name. Or bona fides other than her saying she was the wife of a Ranger. She has my truck, which essentially contains all of my worldly possessions. I can’t even walk into La Linda for a Corona, I have no money. Or ID.

Shit, I’m broke, homeless and rapidly dehydrating under a bridge in Mexico. So this is how it ends.

Side note, at the time there was no customs, nothing at all, on the US side, and on the southern side only a shack with a Mexican who waved sleepily when vehicles drove past.

Not many vehicles drove past, but the rare times when one did I sprang from under the bridge all excited, only to have my hopes repeatedly crushed. This is not good, and appeared less good as the day wore on. Have another sip of the world’s worst water and wait some more.

And then a vehicle rumbled over the bridge. IT IS MY TRUCK. HOORAY!. Hugely relieved I walk out to wait for Mary (wonderful Mary!) to drive my truck (my wonderful truck!) down to the river by the bridge.

Wait, what is she doing? She’s driving through the desert along the river away from me. She isn’t stopping.

WAITTTT. STOPPPPP. I take off running through the desert, hollering and waiving my arms in desperation. Dehydrated, wobbly, running across the Mexican desert in the 100 degree heat, chasing my truck.

She finally stopped the truck a mile away. At a nice wide gravel bar. On the Mexican side, just after the last island. Sounded vaguely familiar.

She stepped out of the truck just as I wobbled up, fell to my knees and vomited the last of my Rio Grande sock water at her feet. If you could put a value on shock and horror her facial expression was priceless.

The denouement to that story. There was a little bodega a few miles away along the road on the US side. I bought a couple of ice cold bottles of water, punched my favorite cassette into the tape deck and worked my way into 5th gear, flying along a Texas desert back road, 70 mph, windows open, rehydrated, with my worldly possessions intact.

I knew, right then, at that exact moment in time, that it was the best I had ever felt.


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