Facing Fears, part 4

…..in which I am glad I stayed the second night and would have stayed another if I’d booked it.

The second night in the hammock tent was very similar to the first in terms of temperature and nocturnal noises. It was, however, a very different experience mentally. The loons still wailed mournfully at the moon, the barred owls were perched even closer to my camp, and there were many calls which I couldn’t decide were coyote or loon. Thankfully those were distant. No, the big difference was that where the night noises scared the living daylights out of me the first night, on the second they just annoyed. They didn’t make me jump or shiver, they just kept me from dropping off to sleep. I sang “Sing a Song of Sixpence” over and over (no idea why I chose that particular tune other than maybe I would have liked to bake a few Keji birds into a pie) until the next thing I knew I was being gently wakened by the beautiful dawn chorus; a plethora of songbirds, big and little, singing to greet the day. It made me smile and I birthed myself from my bag and put the hot water on for my morning coffee. It looked like a perfect day for a paddle.

Keji morning.

See that blackfly up top? There was no wind which meant all the blackflies were out with their blackfly children. I basted myself in Deet before I did anything else and it wasn’t too long before I was packed up and underway again.

I decided to go back the way I came instead of taking the Eastern passage along Hemlock Island. Not sure why unless it was a subconscious desire to see if the neighbours had survived the night. There was indeed a trickle of smoke from their campfire and all canoes were accounted for but a lot less shrieking going on. I respected their privacy and didn’t take their picture and slipped by unseen.

Another great day on the river. I saw things I didn’t notice on the way up, like this funky rock. I wished I had some little toy or token to sit in the hole for someone else to discover.

And here is another funky rock which demonstrates one of the few things I don’t like about kayaking at Keji. The water is tea coloured and it makes it extremely difficult to spot rocks before you are right up on them, literally. Many of them are steep ridged slabs which can do a fair bit of damage. I must have bottomed out four times. It is especially hard to sight them from the low position in a kayak when the sun is twinkling on the water. I always carry emergency repair tape just in case of puncture. Thankfully on this day I was spared.

A real sunker – I was often passing these rocks before I was seeing them..

It’s also particularly hard to spot the rocks when your eyes are elsewhere, head turned back to look up the river from whence you came. Once again the greens and blues prevailed.

It wasn’t long before I could spot the bridge at the eel weir….

and it was only then that I realized that if I stayed on this river, I could paddle right to my back door; once you’ve passed under the bridge, the Mersey continues on to Lake Rossignol and then flows out the other side and on down to Liverpool. There’s a lot of portaging to be done though, especially later in the season when the water is down. Click here for a link to info on paddling the Mersey from its beginning at Sandy Bottom Lake down to Lake Rossignol and here for Lake Rossignol to Liverpool. The second part has six NS Power dams so again, a lot of portaging, and sometimes they let extra water go, or when doing repairs, shut down the flow substantially. I’d like to do it someday but not alone.

Pretty soon I was back in my kitchen having a real cup of strong hot coffee, grateful I hadn’t succumbed to my fears or been eaten by bears. Cheers until next time.

Who’s a chicken? Not your Momma!

Stay tuned for a trip debriefing in my next blog entry.

© Judy Parsons 2019

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