July 6, 2020 4:27 pm 9 Comments
Hey readers, before I get into this blog about my horrid experience, I would love to set a back story on how this blog relates to the forestry industry. Working in a community like Meadow Lake is not all about the job. On my days off, I can drive 30 minutes and be witnessing some of the most beautiful lakes ever. Although working in the forestry industry is fantastic, the surrounding location is the cherry on top. I get to spend my weekends in and around these lakes and rivers, creating lifelong memories. This next adventure I am going to tell you about isn’t the most pleasant one, but it will never be forgotten, so without further ado.
It was the afternoon of Saturday, June 27th, 2020. My cousin and I were out and about exploring a quad trail when we came across this small river called the Flotten River. This river is usually a slower, lower river, but due to the high water levels, it was up quite substantially, making the flow very fast. My cousin Brian thought it would be fun to paddle down it. Little did we know that in 24 hours, we would have experienced one of the worst river trips imaginable.
My cousin Brian and I got back from our ride and shared his idea to paddle down this river. Some of our family have gone down this river in the past, and it took them around 2 hours, so we thought it would be a great idea to do it the next morning. We got a group of 4 people together and planned to be on the river at 10 am the next day. This group consisted of my auntie Edna, neighbour Rob, cousin Brian and myself.
We woke up and got all our gear packed and taken out to the river. Rob took a kayak, Edna and Brian took a two-person kayak, and I took a stand-up paddleboard. Seeing the forecast was excellent for the day and the river was going to be a leisurely paddle we all went barefoot and in light clothes. We all got onto the water at 10 am sharp, and the weather was a beautiful 20 degrees Celsius. The first hour of the trip was delightful. The current was reasonably fast due to the high water, and we barely had to paddle. We saw eagles, Canadian geese/ goslings, blue herons, deer, ducks and some fish. The beauty of the forest was immaculate. We were around halfway through the 7 km trip when we reached our first real obstacle.
This obstacle came in the form of 3 massive trees spanning the whole width of the river. The fallen trees led to there being no other option than to pull the kayaks and paddleboard over these trees, which proved a bit risky and time-consuming due to the speed of the current. Everyone made it over these trees with relative ease compared to what was to come. Around the next bend, more trees fell across the river, and we realized that this trip was going to be a bit longer than 2 hours. We struggled over and under the odd couple trees until we got to the last 2 km of the river. At kilometre 5 of 7, we were officially on the river for 2 hours, and we all thought the end was near. We rounded a wide corner to see a massive tree laying two feet above the water, so I attempted to lay down on the paddleboard and go under the tree. Long story short, my lack of balance led to me falling off the paddleboard into the river. The rest of the crew decided to go to shore and pull their kayaks around the tree. It was at this moment I was on the sandy shore on the opposite side of the river ringing the water out of my shirt when I looked up and saw a massive bear on the top of the bank around 50 yards away. Horrible timing considering everyone else was onshore pulling around this tree. We stayed calm, and the bear was not that hungry for humans that afternoon.
We all got going again, and then we got to an area where there were probably 100 trees across the river in the distance of 500 yards. At this point, Rob and I both flip and fell into the river, attempting to go over the logs. The waterproof compartment on the kayak carrying our cell phones and keys turned out to not be so waterproof, and our electronics were submerged for a good 10 minutes. Going over these trees was not an option, so we decided to go around and do a portage around it. At this point, we are soaked; the mosquitos and horseflies are eating us alive, and now we are carrying our kayaks and paddleboard through the forest in bare feet. We are exhausted and mentally drained at this point, and mother nature is getting the best of us. My feet are all cut up and bleeding on the bottoms, and the bridge at the end of the trip cannot come soon enough. We get through all the walking through the forest and finally back onto the river, where we continue to struggle our way over trees.
By the time we make it to the bridge at the end of the journey, Rob has flipped and submersed our electronics 2 times, I have fallen in 3 times, and Edna and Brian have somehow managed to not fall in at all. The clock reads 2 in the afternoon, and the trip that we thought would be 2 hours was now a whopping 4 hours. Although all the cuts, bites, scrapes and bruises from this trip will all be healed up in the next week or two, the memories will last a lifetime. To me, an adventure is all about creating a lifelong memory.
Till next time,