Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 18

Day 18.  Kopka River to Wigwasan Lake.  8.1 miles.

The day again dawned clear; perfect weather for descending the nicest section of the Kopka, including the famed "mountain goat" portage!  Although we negotiated three other portages to get there, two of which would have been notorious in their own rights if the mountain goat portage hadn't usurped that distinction, we were relieved to find climbing ropes in good condition when we got to the mountain goat.

One thing we hadn't thought through, however, was how to deal with the dog.  Clearly she wasn't going to climb down that portage all by herself!  We began our descent by lowering the canoe down the first (and worst) section of the mountain goat, after which Brian climbed down to the first landing and Jean passed him the dog.  (Schmoopie was firmly attached to the climbing rope by a carabiner clipped to her life jacket at this point.)  After detaching dog from rope, Brian took her down to the bottom of the portage, and for lack of another option, tied her there with the canoe painter.  This was all fine and good until we attempted to slide the canoe down the next drop without said rope attached.  It seemed to be secure, but the canoe slipped off the ledge and careened down the hill, barely missing the dog, after which it plopped in the water and floated away!  Fortunately, it drifted into shore, so no one had to swim after it.  Other than a big gouge in the front skid plate, all appeared to be well.  A little too much excitement though!

We spent the rest of the day paddling down the Kopka, over another portage (easy but with lots of downed trees), and across Wigwasan Lake to the campsite on the Bukemiga portage.  This was no five-star site, but it had a flat spot to pitch a tent, a relative rarity on this trip.

Ready to head down the Mountain Goat portage

click for last day

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