June 8th, 2019
Wow, this trip has flown by. Hard to believe we have been out here for 31 days. Remember how yesterday felt like summer had finally arrived? Today was the opposite of that. It was warmer at 4:30 AM than it would be for the most of our day paddling. The morning started out well, the wind was warm and we had a small tailwind at our back as we moved north. That changed an hour into our paddle. The clouds came in and they never left us. We rounded a big bend, changing our trajectory to more S/SW and the headwinds blew in. It felt like we were walking the wrong way down an airport luggage conveyor belt all day. The air temp was cold and the wind was even colder. We crawled along the muddy banks all morning. There is so much mud. When you want a break, you can only hope to ram your bow into the banks and stick there like a magnet to a refrigerator. It isn’t that easy though. When we broke for lunch, Quinn had to step into the sludge and plant himself on the bow plate to anchor the whole squad. While the river is beautiful, it is only beautiful because it is a river. The campsites are few and far between and a man cannot even get into the woods to answer nature’s call. We pushed against more headwinds after lunch until we saw the first flat grass we had seen since our campsite on a long island in the middle of the river. We voted, and decided to take the sure thing even though we could have kept going. It felt like the right call to me. This day was difficult. A headwind, upstream combo along mud-banks is about as oppressive as it gets. We rolled into camp at 4:15 PM after paddling 5 miles. Hopefully we can get off the Sasketchy tomorrow.
P.S. The boat switch experiment seems to be working. The boats are now: Quinn & Ax, Zach & James, and Bram & Paul. We are in the same tent group as our boat-mate and will switch again after 14 days. We talked about it in The Pas and decided it would be a shame if we all did not paddle together at some point over a 120 day trip. It was not a unanimous decision, but the majority felt it was at least worth trying. The largest concern was in the potential gear loss after switching up the system we had used for so long.
We haven’t had any trouble yet.