I have returned and am filing this report in person. Here is a link to all of the pictures from the trip: http://picasaweb.google.com/Witewtr58/Missinaibi2009#
Day 13 – Thursday July 23 Break camp early in light rain but the weather quickly clears up. Run Little Beaver Rapids-C2 and continue on. Couple of C1’s and some swifts and the river settles right down with the green forested banks quietly gliding by. We have 18K to go to Mattice today and the river is moving us along with a steady current.
We lift over Sharp Rock Falls and in no time at all we are portaging around Glassy Falls. There is easy road access from Mattice to Glassy Falls and even though there is not as much trash as the last time we were here, there is still a significant amount. Sad.
The only rapids left is a C2 named Crow Rapids with an interesting account posted online a few days before our trip http://explore.outdoorsica.com/blogs/you_can_always_live_on_rice_and_potatoes0/2009/jun/19/the_cream_of_wheat_situation/ If you read through the entire postings until the end, you will find that they wrapped their boat on a rock in Crow Rapids. As we approach the rapids ourselves, we clearly see the red fabric of their PakBoat still wrapped around the rock they documented. We all have clean runs down the center and it is with a little sadness as I think about the wreck of their boat. It is the fifth wrecked boat we have seen on this trip.
We float on and as the sky clears and the temperature goes up, the Highway 11 bridge comes into view. The town of Mattice is perched on the high riverbank and we soon are unloading at the municipal park and waiting for our shuttle from Missinaibi Outfitters to take us into Hearst.
We check into the Companion Hotel which offers a storage building to hold our canoes and gear overnight while waiting to catch the morning train. Food is acquired from a nice supermarket with a great deli and fresh vegetables and our diet is marvelously expanded from the previous two weeks.
Day 14 – Friday July 24 We board the Algoma Central Railway and are immediatley told that the rail times are dramatically lower than before due to slow speeds on certain sections of the track that require maintenance. It makes us glad we are getting off at Hawk Junction, but even that stretch takes six hours to travel. We finally unload the gear and canoes from the boxcars at Hawk and reload them on the vehicles that have withstood two weeks of indifference in a dirt parking lot. We shoot down Highway 17 as it begins to rain on and off again.
It takes almost an hour to cross over the International Bridge back into the U.S. with everyone being interrogated in Customs. “What have you been doing in Canada?” I am asked with two canoes strapped to the roof of my truck and the same clothes I have worn every day for the past two weeks on my body. I am polite and after the obligatory questions of whether I have large amounts of money, citrus, guns, liquor, wood products, and tobacco, I am released. All I want is something I didn’t have to cook for myself, and then not having to sit on the ground to eat it.
After eating in the American Soo, we we pull into Dan’s cabin three hours later as darkness envelopes us. There is little conversation and we quickly are lost in our own sleep.
Day 15 – July 25 We rise to a rainy morning but it is quiet and serene. We eat breakfast as a group of scrambled eggs, bacon, homemade bread and coffee.
The drive home is punctuated by more rain showers but we know we are finally going to get back to our normal lives. The wilderness is wonderfull but we did not equip ouselves to live their as a regular lifestyle. All of us have obligations of some kind or another and we must continue to meet them. I never enjoy trip decompression. The goodbyes are awkward; the seperations leave words unspoken that waving hands do not seem a substitute for.
I am tired of paddling. I vow to not pick up a canoe paddle for the next six days.