Rice River, September 1 thru 5

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Curse of the Whip-poor-will

Rice River, Sept 1-5, 2014

Day 1

The forecast wasn't the best for the first week of September, but we were undaunted. 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms for Monday afternoon, 40% of the same for Tuesday, sunny Wednesday, Rain all day Thursday, sunny and warm on Friday

Rise and shine bright eyed but not so bushy tailed. On the road a bit after 6, got into some dense fog as we neared the Red River but it cleared as we headed further north. It was a bright day to begin with and quite moist as it had rained all of the day prior.

We got up onto the old Winter Road which is being improved and extended to be all season access to the 3 Reserves on the East side of Lake Winnipeg, Bloodvein Village, Berens River and Poplar River. This will be a long term project as it has taken almost 4 years just to get the road to Bloodvein Village, they are just completing the bridge over the Bloodvein River and that part of the road should be open this October.

What we found wasn't in very good shape, many potholes, slick and soft with barely a lane and a half width at most places. It had rained almost daily for the week prior so this is what it will be like normally once open to daily traffic. What we also found is they are cutting a new path to take many of the twists and turns out and will be putting new bridges in where either a 40 year old bridge exists or bailey bridges are in temporarily. Now, they will be able to do those new bridges without disrupting traffic but where it crosses the Rice River, they will be putting the new bridge at the top of the falls at the road and likely eliminate the parking and River access at its present location. It will likely take them a couple more years to put in the new bridges while they extend the road past Bloodvein Village.

As we pulled in to the access we found much more water than anticipated in the river, the highest we have ever paddled it for sure. There was also a truck already at the put in and that just garnered speculation on our part as we unloaded and headed upstream. They could be setting up a moose camp for when the season opens in two weeks or perhaps up at the lake harvesting the wild rice. Maybe just out for fishing like we were. It would turn out to be much more disturbing.

The first rapid is only a km or so up and we did the shorter port on the left, took less than 5 minutes. The actual portage is on the right but the left side is shorter and keeps you from needing to paddle through the current.

The second, third and fourth rapids/falls are not marked on the topo map.

Next up river is a small falls with the port on the left again, it has the best landing and is about 100 paces at the most.

Around a couple turns in the river is the 3rd, which we lined on River left. Last year when we were up here in much lower water, we found a channel which had been built on the left side along the rock wall to allow ease of movement under low water conditions. We just lined up this channel despite the much higher water levels.

It was at this point we saw a canoe coming out. It was heavily loaded and had maybe 4 inches of freeboard. It was 2 First Nations fellows and they had many blue bins loaded in the boat, they were quite jovial and spoke of the excellent fishing...

The next set is what I call the Double Triple. Coming from downstream it sets up like this... a bony rapid with a rock wall on the right side, a pool, a small falls, another pool, then another bony rapid. There are options here. There is a 300m port on the right side below the first rapid which would take you past that and the falls into the middle pool, or, as we did, wade the first rapid then take the port on the left side around the small falls into the pool. Once in the middle pool the take out for the next rapid is on the left and it puts you upstream of the upper rapid. None of the take outs or put ins for this set is good, mostly rock, plenty of logs in the eddies, not much fun and the portages are not maintained nor well used. We blazed where needed.

In lower water, the first rapid has a channel cut on the right and the upper rapid can be waded on the left but the falls must be ported.

There are many necked down areas which are quite bony to contend with as well as a rock garden between 1 and 2 but with our water level we can float over most of it.

Portage 6 has a nice take out river left and a good camp site exists here. There is remnants of either a First Nations or moose camp and we stay here often.

Some history for this site is it used to be a waterfall but at some point in the last 60 years someone wanted to lower the level of the lake to grow more wild rice, so they removed copious amounts of rock here and a little further upstream which increased flow and dropped the Lake level. It is difficult to imagine the manpower it would have taken to create the rock piles seen at the bottom of this Falls.

Halfway up this portage trail with my first load I found a pile of dead pickerel in the middle of the trail/campsite. There were 18 fish total, all dead, some still a bit soft but all a good eating size. Those fellows had just dumped them right there. Mad as hell! Poachers? It must have been fish in all those tubs and sinking their canoe that deep in the water.

We completed our load transfer up trail, disposed of the fish after a couple of photo's and then sat out a passing thunderstorm as we talked about what might be the reason they dumped perfectly good fish.

Possibly, they had more than they could handle, or perhaps they were trying to bring a bear in for their next trip in, with it being after Labour Day the canoe trippers wouldn't be coming anymore and a bear would be a bonus. Stupid as it is though as it would spoil the campsite. Maybe they dropped a tub and were in a hurry to get going so left them. The ugly truth might be they are Treaty Indians and doing netting on the lake, thus they can take as much as they can carry. I have a partial of their licence plate as well as description of their truck which we intend to pass on to the conservation authorities and see if anything can be done.

Carry on. The storm passed south of us and on we went. We had been 4 hours to this point and had only one more port/wade to go. Only a km upstream is another small rapid not on the map, we lined/waded this on the right side and then make slow travel against the current to our river mouth/lakeside camp.

The 7 ports are in the first 9.5km of the River from the road. It is a tough slog for sure and may be a reason more people don't go up there. We had our usual camp set up duties, I take care of the tent and getting bedding set out, Christine gets the water going and kitchen set up. Before I was done she had the coffee on. 6 hours to go 12.9km.

With rain in the forecast and storms brewing all around us, we set up the tarp we always bring but rarely use. Our rigging would have made Hoop cry but it was sufficient for the first night. Dinner was steak, eggs and toast.

After finally settling in we broke out the fishing rods and crossed the first bay to the narrows where Christine had fished a couple years earlier on a solo trip.

The lake itself is 3 separate bowls with rampant wild rice in the shallows. With this year's higher water there was less congestion of rice and at least half wasn't even ripe yet.

At the narrows we caught the first of many fish for the trip, only spending a half hour before sundown we boated 5 pickerel and 2 pike. The pickerel were a better size than we are used to getting up here, perhaps another bonus of higher water.

After watching a beautiful sunset, Christine had a small fire while I tried to photograph lightning in a distant storm.

As we lay down, a Whip-poor-will took roost above us and started it's chant, getting another to return it's call. We both groaned and wondered if this is the same bird who has been at every other campsite we have had in 7 Summers in Manitoba. It was almost funny but we were so tired we dropped off fast to its call and the honking of hundreds of geese out on the lake.



 
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Jan 31, 2013
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The Rice River at the Falls where the road crosses. Upstream of the bridge followed by downstream. The river flows out into Lake Winnipeg a few km downstream of this point.





Up at the Lake at our first camp.





A few choice shots of that first evening out.







 
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Nice Pics! Glad you guys got out! Too bad about the fish, seems odds that they didn't clean them first before they took them out.
 
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Day 2

We both had sleeping issues. The good sleeping pad I was using went down overnight so it ain't that good. Christine had decided after our June trip she needed a cot and lo and behold she found one at the dump a while ago and brought it along this trip. It didn't work out so well for her, she would wake half way through the night unable to get comfortable again as it twisted and didn't fully support her. Neither of us getting a good night sleep doesn't usually make for a good trip.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and we took advantage before the afternoon storms arrived. Other than some exploration the purpose for this trip is the excellent fishing up there. A mostly untapped pickerel fishery with the odd monster pike. We paddled out from camp a short ways and were soon into a good school of pickerel. Our intention was to keep a few for dinner then just sport fish and that did not take long.

We paddled a couple of km downstream and fished assorted pools and what I call high percentage spots. During our travels we found the only pictograph site on the river, having somehow missed it the previous trip. I don't photograph pictographs and Christine gave her interpretation of their meaning and left a tobacco offering as well. After a short visit and contemplation there, we continued fishing.

In this part of Manitoba there is a slot limit, that being any pickerel between 17 3/4 and 27 5/8 inches must be released and the possession limit is 4 fish per person on a regular licence. Christine was having a difficult time catching fish under the slot size while all mine were smaller. It was just due to different technique despite the fact we used exactly the same rig, yellow jig with yellow twister tail. That 2 hour morning of fishing coughed up 18 pickerel, 3 we kept for dinner and I got a nice 24" hawg.

We left the fish on a stringer in camp and went exploring. We had hoped to get into the little lake south of us, Mahigan Lake, which has a small channel off the main lake, but it was entirely choked.

The Rice River is a very short system, maybe 30km long and mostly fed by surrounding wetlands. It is entirely weather dependent. If it rains a lot we get good flow like this trip, if it is a dry summer, it dries up to the point where you cannot get upriver at all. So possibly in a dry year, beavers dammed up the outflow from Mahigan Lake and it never recovered.

Not wishing to crawl around in the high grass looking for a possible channel we headed for the middle bay and the actual inflow of the river. Although there was plenty of wild rice we had sufficient water to make our way into that channel. It was mostly wide open and we found a good spot for a future camp when we explore that leg of the river further next year.

It was beginning to get much darker and windy and as we made our way back towards camp, we stopped at a point where we found remnants of an old air boat that would have been used by First Nations people to harvest the wild rice. This is the third time we have found remains like this, the others being on Leaf Lake and Obukowin Lake.

Rain was coming, thunder rumbled in the distance so we headed to the cabin. There is an old Trappers cabin on that island, the new cabin in front was built by his children and is still used to this day. There is a memorial marker and possibly the trappers ashes next to where he spent the majority of his life.
I have been in other cabins on other lakes but this was the first where I felt like I was intruding. It is open for anyone who needs it, well equipped and taken care of, but still, there was something odd about being there for me. Christine left a tobacco offering for the trapper and a note in the journal in the new cabin. In the cabin is where we found the nets the fellows must have been using and they were new. There was an older net under the cabin porch.

We waited out a storm there before venturing back across the camp, where the only dry spot was under the tarp.

All the recent rain has been bringing the mosquito's out in hordes. We had a few the first day and the masses are increasing.

The bay we are staying on, being rife with wild rice, is a regular hangout for all the birds migrating south. Other than hundreds of Canadian Geese, we also saw 4 Trumpeter Swans, countless species of ducks, Whooping Cranes, Eagles and Osprey.

After a dinner of fresh pickerel and potatoes we took to the water again and a new spot to try, which awarded us with another 15 pickerel and a new biggest fish for me, a whopping 25 incher. In about 24 hours since arriving at this first camp we had boated 38 pickerel with more than half being over 20 inches.

That night brought us again, the Whip-poor-will for half the night and greeting us in the morning as well.





This is our 2 person tent, the MEC Wanderer 4. Two vestibules and ample room to stand to dress in the mornings.







Rice River flowing south out of the Middle Bay.


Air boat remains


Trappers Cabin




More rain



Down river from first camp


Dinner!

 
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Day 3

Moving day.

It had rained over night and there was a heavy layer of mist on the lake in the morning under a bright sun. Our intention was to move down river to a camp we had seen that was just above ports 4 and 5. Clouds were moving in behind us as we packed up and no sooner had I towelled down the tent fly it started to rain and lasted an hour. Needless to say, even after wiping everything down again it got packed up wet. The Wanderer 4 went from it's usual 11 pounds to about 20 but we managed to split the gear better so the packs were more even in weight. 4 nights out in the bush, 3 packs and a 60L barrel. Christine had also brought along her hip waders which helped her with the wading portions where as I just jumped in with my old sneakers and got wet. Each time I needed to do that we had sunshine and I also had extra socks, shoes and dry clothes to get into when needed.

Just before leaving that camp we saw our first River Otter of the trip. We have seen them up there before and this one was kind enough to swim right up to shore out front although he didn't stay long enough for a photo.

We fished as we floated down with the current under a nice warm sun. Even before we got the 4km downstream we boated another 18 pickerel ranging from 8" to over 20". There are several good year classes of fish which just helps to show a dynamic fishery up there.

A slight breeze and sunshine allowed us to get everything dry before setting up in the new spot, a point in a bend in the river with beaver lodge, nice stand of birch across the pool and the gurgling water just around the corner as it passed over a ledge.

There were still plenty of geese down here and they would fly upriver and through the trees past us, back and forth all day long. It is a good site with a tree slung likely for a pole tent and could support several tents although we had a difficult time finding one mostly level spot out front. Deep moss helped keep us comfy the two nights we spent there.

Christine wasn't feeling too well but a nap helped her feel much better. Despite the slogging we had done the first 3 days she was holding up well and not having any real health issues. We both are in poor shape though and talked a lot about the odds of us even being able to do the Marshall Lake loop next year, unless we spend a great deal of time over the Winter getting into shape.

Thunder moved in later in the day once again and we got more rain. We just lounged and waited it out and got back out on the water for an evening fish. We headed upstream to where a beaver dam had been the year prior and fished what was likely a rapid under all that water. That pool helped tally more fish for the trip, 14 more although smaller than up above the last portage to the lake.

We had caught pike as well, but they were all quite small and scrawny, which to us means the pickerel are the dominant species out this way. We have seen it before on Leaf Lake.

We bedded down earlier than usual, it being cooler and quite wet out with clouds moving in and staying. It rained throughout that night setting the precedent for the next day.





The pool in front of second camp.


Upstream at camp 2



Geese


Camp





Toast anyone?

 
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Day 4

Rain day.

Thursday didn't dawn as much as seep into every pore. It had rained most of the night and was overcast and quite a bit cooler. A stiff south wind was pushing more rain in and thunder rumbled all around us.

It was mostly an all morning drizzle, cool enough I started to get a chill so I bulked up. I was almost wearing everything I had brought to just stay warm... long johns and canvas pants, 2 pair of socks, long sleeve shirt with a hoodie over that and a fleece pull over on top of that, rain gear and a toque. Being skinny has its drawbacks since when I get cold I stay cold. At times I would stay in the tent and wrap my feet in the sleeping back to try to warm the still cold toes.

We waited a lot that day as a storm would come and go, always keen to get back on the water at some point and fish new areas. Bank fishing produced some smaller pickerel in the pool directly out front and the smallest pike I have ever caught. There wasn't much else to do that day but eat and hide from the weather.

Early afternoon we got a break as the wind began to shift from South to North. We popped around the corner downstream and started into better fish, but the wind picked up more and a driving rain began which chased us off the river.

What is better on a cold day than eating Kraft Dinner out of the pot in the tent? It was cold enough we could see our breath.

Earlier we had reset the tarp lower and it worked out well for keeping us out of most of the wind and drier. We always take the tarp but rarely use it. We need to spend some time over the Winter studying Tarpology and rigging better for next year.

Our beaver lodge collected firewood stayed nice and dry under there and just like up at the lake, it was the only dry rectangle of ground to be found anywhere.

As if the River needed any more water in it the deluge continued as the wind picked up out of the north. This of course meant a cold front was coming through which would affect the fishing from here on out and all the rain would make the portages trickier as most were dirt, rock and moss.

Although the vestibules on the tent are smallish, we were able to shuck rain gear outside of the main tent, although it was easiest to open the tent door to sit and finish removing rain pants. The downside of that maneuver is letting mosquito's inside. Plenty of experimenting on this trip. We do plan to see what other tents we can get and the Hubba with the gear shed part would be ideal, but for us very expensive.

Christine was exuberant over the ease of use of the propane single burner stove. Even after a heavy downpour it would fire right up and keep running. The old Naptha stoves we usually take would need to be dried out before they would light.

The local beaver is dropping trees in the Birch grove across the river. If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? quiet enough to hear him gnawing, then Crack!, splinter and thud. I can just imagine the beaver jumping back at the first crack, then looking up and swearing when it hangs in an adjacent tree.

If the beaver drops a tree and it hangs up in the one next to it, does the beaver have the sense to bring down that tree it is hanging in?

We did get back out later in the evening, windy but no rain at that point. We got a few more and added one to the stringer for dinner that night. It did begin to rain again as Christine finished cleaning those two fish and carried on through part of the night.

It was an early night, in the tent before 8 and likely asleep just after 9. We both hoped it would be sunny as it should be after a cold front since Friday was move out day. Despite the horrendous conditions, our cursed bird returned, serenading us as we drifted off to sleep.

~

How ugly of a day was Thursday? Out of 124 photo's taken in our 5 days out, I have only one from Thursday.



Yes Rippy, I use a Spork!
 
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Day 5

Early up, that damned Whip-poor-will is in the tree directly above the tent! Where are my bangers, I bet I can get a clear shot...

At some point during the night on a mid-night pee excursion, Christine had heard the wolves upstream, likely in the same place we had heard them last year.

We hadn't seen any large animals at all on this trip although every port and campsite had moose poop on it.

Setting on the rock outcrop beside the river, basking in the warmth of the sun, steaming mug of coffee, mist rising slowly across the water as a beaver plays in the pool...

During the previous day, killing time when time was all we had, Christine had rooted her twig stove out of her pack. It was made for her from 20g steel and likely weighs ten pounds. That little stove spawned the idea to make breakfast on it regardless of what the weather would be on Friday. Coffee on the single burner, pancakes on the twig stove. Once she gets an idea in her head it is usually impossible to shake out. Thankfully we had to wait for gear to dry before packing.

How moist is it... toilet paper that had been inside the tent all night would not burn... she eventually got it going with the Hoop magic waxed jute rope trick. She needed that to keep the toilet paper burning to ignite the twigs that had been under the tarp all night.

I just sat by the water warming in the sun and waited for what? Pancakes again?

We wiped everything down, hung it up, got mostly dry, packed everything up including the rods and headed downstream. The first two ports were easy enough, we did mark them better where possible and with much stubborness from Christine, we shot the rapid below the little falls at Port 4. It was as easy as on previous trips, but I tend to have little panic attacks with new things like that, but I too didn't want to get in the water that early to wade it. Running them is so much better than porting.

Further down I had talked her into porting #3 since the volume of water and the angled ledge at the top to get around would have made getting back the right along the rock wall more difficult. It is only about 70 paces so not a big deal, although if we had a plastic boat I would definitely have shot the thing right down the middle.

I really need to get some white water training and actually learn some basic strokes. A little education and confidence would go a long way.

2 was another easy portage and at that point we broke out the rods to fish our way out. As we approached that port we spooked an eagle out of a tree and it winged its way down river and away. In the grass at the upstream landing we found a single, empty Bud Light can and started to wonder...

Lots of snags, Christine's reel started to act up and much frustration with too much current and we gave up on that pool quickly, knowing one of our best spots was just down past the last rapid.

That last rapid... caused some tension. It was running high with a string of small standing waves right in the middle where we wanted to go. It is pretty straight forward, drop down a ledge then ride out the waves and current. Did I mention I get nervous and lack skills? Christine really wanted to shoot it but I was hesitant. Despite being only a km from the truck it is a heavily loaded kevlar canoe. Next option was lining on the right side. We would need to swing the boat out around a protrusion of rock in the main current and pull it back right quickly. Again, apprehension on my part. We could, (did), just port over the rock which took less than 2 minutes but peeved Christine off.

Make good decisions.

Fish in that pool were either not there or suffering from lock jaw. I got two small ones but nothing much else. Frustration was building and when I snagged and broke off we just gave up and headed back to civilization.
We had left the truck on high ground as it was oozing muck all around it and we just ported the gear to where the truck was. Christine cleaned up the site before we hit the road.

Considering it had rained every previous day it only made sense for it to rain this day as well. As we drove south on PR 304 it got darker and darker behind us. We stopped in Powerview for our traditional after trip meal of fried chicken, potato wedges and pop before hitting the road again and driving into a downpour.

Although well on our way to civilization, we would have yet another bird encounter. Driving through a stretch of farmland with sunflower fields on either side, we watched very large flocks of smallish black birds undulating as the moved from field to field ahead of us. Then from the left side one of these large flocks took to wing beside and in front of us as we cruised through it at 60mph. It was bird carnage as they banged off the grille, canoe and windshield. There were a dozen bodies in our wake as we looked back. Thankfully no damage done to us.

On the last stretch of road to home we drove into a massive thunderstorm to end our trip. Home, bruised, tired, but very happy not only with Christine's ability to trip again, but wonderful memories from a great late Summer trip.

Final tally... 4 days out, 86 Pickerel caught, at least half of which were over 20". We could have caught even more had we put in more time.
Until next year.







The falls at #2
 
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4 days? Is that all? It felt like at least a week to me, and in a very good way. Tremendous fishing, cooking and r&r really stretched out the days. We 2 agree that the canister stove is great for cooking luxury. I could smell the coffee and taste the pancakes. Never get tired of pancakes. And all that fresh pickerel happiness. Absolute yum. Spectacular first evening pics of the storm. I like seeing tripper photos of camp, waterside life, put ins and everything. It helps to tell a story and take me along. You tell a good story and I'm thankful you took me along.
ps It's nice to see Christine back and planning for next year.
 
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This trip was just the thing I needed. It is so beautiful out there. I am truly in my element there too. I could stay out on the land forever if not for the fact that I would become craaaazy as a loon. The mad tarper...lol.
I have to apologise to HOOP for the feeble efforts at tarping. It sucked pretty bad to be honest. In my defence though, I will say that things might have gone better if there had been alchohol involved. The magic fire starter was the saviour of my twig stove breakfast extravaganza though and for that I am truly grateful. A wonderful gadget.

I have intentions of expanding this trip next year to include an exploration of the lower lakes in the chain. The map recce looks good and the river channel was definitely open this year.
Karin said I should explain the rock paintings. I had some conversations on these things with my ex father in law. He was a treaty native and what one might call a shaman/healer. Charlie said that the images were given to people in dreams. Back in the mid 1700- 1800's they had no idea what an airplane or large ship was. The images are not literal, but interpretations of the images in their dreams. So they drew what they think they saw. One of the images looks very much like a head on view of a floatplane.
Now, these sites are not a religious place per se, but they are culturally important and one does not wish to turn them into a destination for the masses. They are usually in some pretty out of the way places that are not yet ruined and the last thing we want is hordes of tourists trouping out there and desecrating things. So we just leave well enough alone. No point pissing off the grandfathers if you don't have to. Just sayin.

I have all winter now to think up my plan of attack for this trip and a new boat may be in order. A 15 foot Huron would be just the ticket. Sooooo if anyone runs across one.........

Migwetch, I'm Christy from Warren.
 
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Hi Mihun09 and Migwetch, Great report! Loved the detail, commentary, and the photos. I did not know about the pictographs being graphic interpretations of dreams. I always thought they were messages to others coming along the river highway. I have seen the ones at Sassiginnagak and Aikens lake. What gets me is how they are still here, being so old. Glad you had good fishing, and sorry for the negative experience about the fish. When I trip I am extremely respectful of the wildlife and would never waste a fish or leave a mess.

I just returned from a solo trip from August 26 - September 2. I planned to spend 5-6 days paddling, but ended up doing it in 4 days. I went from Wallace to Crystal, Broken arrow, and east to the Haggart river, then south a bit and portaged through the no-name lakes to Donald. From Donald I went north-east through Carroll, and into the Gammon, down the Gammon to Aikens (where I saw the pictographs) and ended at a lake with a lodge called Wapeskapek, where I met friends and hung out for a few days before flying out.

On the portage from the Haggart river to the first no name lake I ran into a mother bear with cubs on the trail. Near the end of the portage I heard first, and saw second ,a bear run up the trail ahead near the take out. But one of the cubs decided to climb a tree right beside the trail about 5 feet up and sit there looking at me. GGRREEAATT!! I had to get between it and the mother to go to the put-in. Now I had read that that was ok, mama bears are really nice, but still it didn't seem like a good idea, but I was committed and walked right by the cub that I could have reached out and patted on the head it was so close. I went to the water and waited for the mother to come and check me out , which she did about a minute later. She came around a bush and looked at me and sniffed the air so she knew who I was. At that point I yelled and she took off up the trail to get her cubs and leave. I waited about 15 minutes to let them go, and went back for the canoe. It was all good, but I made noise on the portages after that.

I thought you would like that story. I will see if I can do a trip report when I get time.
 
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That was a really nice write up of a nice trip. "Thursday didn't dawn as much as seep into every pore." I liked that, very nice. I think your pictures are worthy of watermarks, but I'm happy that you don't.

I now wonder if a beaver knows how to bring down a hanging tree, life used to be less complicated.

I'm not sure if this is "technically" an above average picture, but it caught my attention and I really like it, nice job imho,
your writing and photography are very good, what about the Bud Lite can...haha

Wednesdaymorning_zpsc0a62f24.jpg
 
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Manitoba
Looks to have been a great trip regardless of the weather, thanks for sharing! I feel like a wimp now for cancelling my trip due to rain/wind. I really like the storm/lightning picture too! Lots of great shots from this trip.
 
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Thanks Mihun09 and Iskweo for the TR! The fishing sounds amazing! Bacon and fish, fish and bacon....and the bears still did not get you...ha ha! Keep plugging away at the tarpolgy and soon you will be a tarpmeister! One of the secrets is to address the tarp and refuse to take "no" for an answer when the tarp wants to misbehave and flop and sag. I will see what I can do to add some more tarpology tips and tricks vids and photos to the community. :)
 
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That's the photo that stuck out to me as well, Robin. Breathtaking!

What a great trip report!! Thanks for taking the time, Mihun!
 
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Thank you to everyone who has responded. I love writing trip reports, doing maps, all that stuff and have been working to be less analytical and more creative in my writing. I also love photography and indulge as much as I can on trips. Mind you, that means the simple paddling down the River doesn't really inspire me and the difficulty of pulling the Pelican out from under my seat and fetching the camera is part of the reason the photo's aren't more of the travelling type. We think in the future I will give Christine the P&S camera I always have for when fishing since I have the camera up front with me, so perhaps we can get more photo's and even some of the larger fish we catch, but turning around in my seat with the DSLR to photograph her big fish could still lead to capsize.
 
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