Sammy Solo's Salute to the Maliseet Trail
The Eel River Revisted
Sammy and Mike Grant paddle from First Eel River Lake to the Saint John River, Sunday October 9th - Monday October 10th, 2005.
Sammy Says: "In September 2005, Mike and I talked about a fall trip down the Eel River, but we knew that lots of rain was a must. Well, by the time the October long weekend can into sight the ground was saturated, and the rivers were rising. A weekend forecast of up to 3 inches of rain was all we neeed to tell us to look for a shuttle driver. Hats off to Matthew Fleming for providing the shuttle. Here is a short trip report."
As all every paddlers knows, life's little obligations often cramp our paddling plans. In this case, it was a requirement to remove the plaster from a room for that the dry waller could do his work the next week. Less than 24 hours before this trip my son Andrew arrived in town, and together we beat, bagged, and lugged 500 kgs of horse-hair paster from the old house.
Sunday morning @ 7:30am, ready to leave Fredericton. Top Row, Left to Right - Sammy's Old Town Cascade, Mike's Old Town Camper; Bottom Row, Left to Right - Mike's Truck, Mike.
Matthew offers Mike his pick of the litter. Mike declines. Pup eats Mike anyway. 9:30 am
Ready to go at 10:30 am from our put in on First Eel River Lake. The smiles were our only way of dealing with the North East wind and a stready rain. Note the "Matt Pac" just in front, it is a 10 litre pail, with an easy-open, screw-on Gamma Lid on top, and a Kunny canvas pack inside to divide the pail. This is the brain child of Matt Hopkinson and is named after him.
Here is Mike... head down on the Lake and heading for Bear Trap Point. It seems that more than Mike and I returned to the Trail... Mr. North East Wind, and his companion, Madame Driving Rain, also showed up make the ReVisit something of a ReUnion.
We made Bear Trap Point by 11:30am, this is where the Eel River Lake emptys into the Eel River on its way to the Saint John. While the Point was only a few kms from our put in (2?) it took us over an hour of head down paddling to reach.
Two hours after passing Bear Trap Point, we arrived at our campsite from the second night of the May Crossing. Here we see Mike next to the firepit, which is now filled with water.
The River offered only a few gentil rips until the Bridge (2pm) where you find a set of interesting rips and an interesting ledge.
We scouted them and dropped over the ledge on river left. I got a real nice souvenir on the tail of the Cascade.
The mid afternoon rain was impressive. At one point we were bailing every 20 minutes and the wind was directly in our faces.
We made Molly's about 5pm.
This is a special place but on this day, it offered little in the way of shelter, a place to string a tarp, or firewood. We stopped to pay or respects and moved on.
By 6pm we had both a tarp rigged and the tent up. There was not a lot of options for camping but we found a spot on a snowmobile trail leading away from river right.
Supper was ready by 7:30 pm. Recognize the Craig Macdonald fire irons?
Dry and warm under the tarp. We used the sections of the aliumium canoe pole to help rig the tarp
OK, Come Back for the pics from the second day.