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Through Garrett's Eyes Cont'd

We busted down the rest of the Marten enjoying the continuous beauty of every falls we passed. Our haste finally caught up to us on the lower Marten where we lost a boat in a hairy rapid just before Marten River Falls. Much to the dismay of us campers that night at the campsite, we had to leave four wannigans full of food behind to free up space for the two mojos. Little did the staff and guide know that most of us had hoarded the thrown-out peanut butter. Freshy and cocoa were stuffed in our day packs for the rest of the way down the river. I wanted to take a couple baked hams, but nobody else wanted it as bad as I, and I could never eat a whole can myself. 

We moved on the next day. It was a painful sight to say the least, being short a canoe. The boats' partners had been changed and the portage loads completely redistributed.  It had already cost us our powdered milk baby, left by an anonymous tent-mate of mine on a portage later, but before Nemiscau. Worth was the worst off for he had to carry, not a normal double-pack, but a triple-pack (of course, with the heaviest packs), a tent, his own huge day-pack, and another baby which he carried by one finger.  Especially after Oatmeal Rapids in the fabled "Fours" (below Nemiscau) where, for maybe three days straight, we had 40 to 50 km of paddling each day along with at least four portages a day, many of them 2 km or more in length.  

"This picture really exemplifies our struggle that summer".

Worth with a triple-pack on the "2,000 km portage" through the fabled "Fours" near the end of the Rupert River.

"The Fours epitomize hell."

They are the portages below Oatmeal Rapids on the Rupert River. Many exceed two kilometres in length and traverse the rocky expanse that is the Rupert River valley.



Photo: Garrett Kephart

One day after finishing the Marten, which flowed into the Rupert, we were in the historic settlement of old Némescau. There were a lot of people helping to rebuild the settlement while we visited. The Cree were very hospitable giving us a sampling of their smoked sturgeon and even some moose meat. Keewaydin of Dunmore also was visiting the village at the time, so we got to show them all about real canoe tripping... I don't even want to get into how unconventional and unpractical their style of tripping had become.

Moose meat at Nemiscau. 

"The Jolly's had given us some moose meat and Chris Kerhes instructions as to how to cook it. He was diligent in his task."



Photo: Bill Seeley

After busting our butts to get down the Rupert and to Waskaganish in time for our plane, we actually made back the lost time and got ahead by a day. It was incredible to be able to take a rest day at Smokey Hill Rapids. Numerous natives came up to visit and bring us gifts. They even showed us how to work the whitefish traps.

The day we paddled in to Waskaganish was a sad day for me because of the emotional ups and downs experienced along the way. It was the end of a summer-long journey through times of utter depression, dismay, and frustration along with an unforgettable adventure full of history, beauty, pride, accomplishment and camaraderie. It definitely was an experience I will cherish until I die.

    Garrett Kephart 10/19/99



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