Day 5: Afternoon and Evening
By the time we got to the bottom of McIntosh, the drizzle had turned to rain. We had a short portage from McIntosh to Stack Lake.
We'd travelled a total 17 km already this morning. We were cold, but not quite disheartened when we stopped for lunch beside these incredible rapids. When this much water is surging past, you can almost feel sheer power vibrating in the air. We were all tired at this point. I was wandering down a path, tripped over a root, fell flat on my face and hit my head on a rock. Wes was filleting some fish and slashed his finger. I don't think it occurred to us then how being tired can so obviously affect your actions.
After a very brief lunch of Kraft Dinner and fresh fish fillets, we moved out across Stack and then Mounteny Lake, and on to Nipew Lake, pushing for about another 12 km before we finally stopped. It had seemed to make sense to push on when it was so wet--it wasn't cold, and we didn't really want to have to set up our tents in the rain.
On Nipew there seemed to be few spots immediately obvious as good camping sites. We were finally getting cold, tired and miserable. After ages of floating past unsuitable-looking islands, we pulled up to a small island with a low slope of rock for easy access by the canoes. We paddled around to the south face, thinking it might be more sheltered.
We stumbled out of the canoes and looked around. It was open, with little cover, and not very hospitable. Happily, before anyone started pitching the tents, someone walked to the north end and found a beautiful spot with a stone hearth already set up.
We set up tents and tarps and I hauled out a big fallen tree and started sawing. We managed to start a fire from the damp wood, but it took a long time to get going. We should have shaved off the soggy bark first. As soon as the fire was going, we got out some cord and tied up a few clotheslines. Even though our gear was well-packed, some of the sleeping bags and most of the clothes we'd been wearing had got quite damp.
We turned in early after supper this night--I think I was asleep before my head hit the ground.