July 18th, Day Twelve - The 4-Mile Portage and the Rendezvous
We got up early as the sun peered through the seams of our tents. We packed up
the site and started on a tasty breakfast of grits and dried fruit. We laced up
our jungle boots and hit the water.
The start of the 4 mile portage.
At last we arrived at the biggest portage our crew would ever face during the trek:
the four mile portage. Yes, we could have canoed around the portage, but our plan
was to go through the hard way. As we portaged, we took a break every 10 or so
minutes, switching our load from a canoe to a pack or vice versa. It was going
very well, until a member of our crew fell to a case of trench foot.
We took a break and got out the first aid kit. Our foremen were skilled in first
aid, and our crew mate Rich was an EMT. Within minutes, my fellow crew mate was
patched up and ready to go, but he had to keep his feet dry. Seeing that we were
on land, it was not a problem, that is until we got to the beaver dam.
Brian carrying the canoe.
Unfortunately for us, in the middle of the four mile portage was a small lake
built by a beaver. The only way to get back on the trail was to go over this beaver
dam. Building up to this beaver dam was about a hundred yards of shallow puddles.
Our mission was to keep our crew mate dry and that we did.
To get past this task, we took all of the gear except one canoe across the shallow
puddles and placed it on a dry patch of grass right outside the beaver-created lake.
The injured crew mate was still in the dry area by the one canoe that we left. The
rest of the crew then went back to retrieve the crew mate. He sat inside the canoe,
as the other crew mates and I grabbed the canoe and lifted it up across the hundred
yards of puddles to the dry grass patch. We then put the canoes in the lake and
got across, keeping our injured crew mate safe and dry.
Our Rendezvous with our sister crew #OAV708B.
After what seemed like an eternity (which was about three hours), we made it
across the four mile portage in time for a well earned lunch. We ate, laughed, and
relaxed until the time came for onward travel.
The rest of the afternoon was spent paddling until we saw another group of travelers.
As we came closer we saw the Northern Tier logo on their canoes and sure enough,
it happened to be our sister OA Wilderness Voyage Crew, OAV708B! It was the first
time we saw them in almost two weeks! We joined together and invited them to a campfire
at our campsite which was in sight.
Rob cooking up his famous wilderness pasta.
The sister crew was taking a day trip away from their campsite. After we saw
them, they went back to their campsite to get food, while my crew found our campsite
and set up camp. While we were waiting for our sister crew, we started to cook some
dinner, including the preparation of fried dough, sausage, and a campfire.
They soon returned and a huge dinner was cooking and a campfire
The evening campfire with song and cheer.
We made some hot cocoa and enjoyed popcorn roasted on the campfire as the evening
turned into night. We exchanged our stories and sang songs, though our pitch was
not the best. It was one of the best nights in my life where laughter, fun, and
excitement were on the menu.
The sister crew later returned to their campsite and then my crew started our nightly
reflections. Everyone could not comprehend how this two week experience was almost
over. I ended the night in my tent only to drift off into a relaxing sleep.
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