Rapids and portaging; the latest update from the KI Nation paddlers (Aug. 27 and Aug 28.)

MUSKEG PORTAGE – August 27th

At midnight the mist rose over the Fawn River above the double marked rapids which cannot be run and must be portaged – one of the few carrying places for paddlers who know the river well.


ROLL OVER RAPIDS – August 28th

The past three days have been full of exciting whitewater rapids.  We had managed to keep our boat upright, while being sprayed with water as we crashed through waves and dodged quartzite boulders.

But today as we plunged off a foreboding drop the churning current flipped our canoe right over with us inside.  On a hot day it was refreshing swim.  It turns out that place is traditionally named "Roll Over Rapids," exactly what we did.  Three boats flipped and joined the roll over club today.

Roll over rapids is the last serious whitewater on the Fawn River.  Here the Fawn drops off the Canadian Shield and takes on a very different character as it enters the Hudson's Bay Lowlands.  The Shield is a massive expanse of granite bedrock which is the original rock of Eastern North America/Turtle Island.  The river can't cut into the hard granite so it pools behind rock ridges and then flows over them forming dramatic water falls and whitewater rapids.

Now we are entering the Hudson's Bay Lowlands.  The river carves a deeper channel through the relatively soft ground flowing swiftly, smoothly, and consistently as it forms wide bends through the landscape.  There are no big rapids here, but the steady current allows us to cover six kilometers an hours easily.

The Hudson's Bay Lowlands are the world's second largest wetland – an area teaming with life.  Animal signs are everywhere.  Already we have seen many huge moose racks, and the skull of a wolf, as well as dozens of beaver lodges and countless animal trails.  Beavers dive into the water as we pass, slapping it with their tail to warn their family, and ducks and geese fly overhead beginning their long migration south. This area is also home to woodland caribou, elusive lynx, and the rare wolverine.  Closer to the confluence with the Severn River we may even see Polar Bears!