Nahanni Day 12 – 4th Canyon
Well the high point of the morning was the blueberry pancakes – Sarah cooked them up – the team had picked them over on Sunblood Mountain yesterday – they were amazing.
Then we started the portage – 1.3 km x 4 trips – 117 m down…- humping all the kit, gear, food, canoes and sundry down to the water. It started out nice enough and then got just plain ugly. I mean ugly. We had torrential downpour, hail, and bloody cold, big wind. We got everything down – took about 3.5 hours to do and then had a Mars bar and got into the canoes.
Straight out of the gates we were in 4th Canyon. We did what is called a ‘front ferry’ where we basically hold the canoe with the bow facing upstream towards the falls and try to ferry our way across the river without going down river at all. The purpose is to get to the other side – makes me think of that bad blonde joke – we wanted to start on the other side cause the line is better for the rapids. Literally then we were off – and boy there was absolutely no getting out of it and boy oh boy were the waves REALLY big. Rob says he hasn’t seen them this big before on the Nahanni.
Dale and I hit a ‘hole’ but paddled through – the biggest of the waves went over my head!!! My favourite line from the rapids was Dale yelling at me ‘go right, go right, go right….NO don’t bother’ – as we tried to evade a humoungous wave and ended up just plowing right on through it. Everyone did brilliantly – no one swam. After 4th Canyon we hit false canyon and then pulled over at a gravel bar at clearwater creek.
We only did about 5 river km, the massive waves were due to vertical drop about 15 m and constriction due to the canyon.
Made camp – and to our absolute delight the sun has come out so we can try to dry some of our stuff (which is mostly soaked).