We survived the night of the mouse and woke up to a beautiful brisk morning. I cooked 2 years expired Backpacker's Pantry Biscuits and Gravy that we received as trail magic on the AT. It wasn't too bad!
Not far from our campsite
We successfully reached Forked Lake without a hitch.
The next portage to the Raquette River was smooth and mostly downhill. Teton and I switched boats realizing that his was much lighter than mine due to the placement and quality of our carts. I was relieved to get a break from the heavy carrying and in no time we reached the lean-to marking the end. As we approached the water, the wheel of Teton's cart cracked on a root. With many portages ahead of us, we needed to think of a plan to repair the wheel to last for the remainder of the day. Gorilla tape strikes again and Teton tapes his plastic wheel back together after quite a delay in our schedule.
The books, maps, and river signs warned us of dangerous rapids and led us to another portage. The portage around Buttermilk Falls was definitely the most difficult yet. We did not get to test out the durability of Teton's Gorilla tape repair because this path was un-wheelable. First, we took most of the gear out of our boats and carried it all over to the end of the portage. It was only listed as 0.1 miles but seemed much longer. We were hiking over boulders and through rooted trails. After we dropped off our gear, we hiked back to pick up the boats. The path was only wide enough for 1 at a time, so we carried one across, and then came back for the other.
We were relieved to have all of our gear in the same place again, and we decided Buttermilk Falls would be a good spot for lunch.
Only back in our boats for .6 miles on the Raquette River, we reached the next portage around another set of rapids. These rapids were listed as only class I or II and could be navigated by an experienced paddler. Teton and I both landed and went down the path to scout the rapids. We could only see part of the stretch, but Teton decided he would be able to run them.
We unloaded the gear out of both boats and decided I would carry the gear to the end of the .6 mile carry while Teton ran the boat down the rapids. I was happy to see an empty lean-to at the end, meaning we could stay there for the night instead of packing up our boats again.
Teton survived and had a great time running the rapids, and that was a good thing since he now had to walk back and do it again with my boat. We both walked back to the beginning and I hauled more gear while Teton went for round two. This time, he flipped the boat and went for a swim! He floated with the boat a ways down the river until he was able to stand. He flipped the boat and saw that he would need to pump the water out of the entire cockpit. After a while, he was able to hop back in and meet me down at the shore. I had been waiting and worried but finally saw him approaching, all wet but all smiles.
EXCERPT FROM TETON'S JOURNAL: "We scouted the rapids as best as possible before deciding that I would run them to avoid portaging my boat across the equally hard portage route. I really only saw about 100 yards of the .6-mile Deerland Carry Rapids before running them. It was the first of the trip and I knew that if I passed on these, I would likely pass on others, I needed to set the tone. We emptied the boat, Moose would haul gear while I ran the stretch. It was incredible, fast and swift, banging rock to rock I made it through to the end. There was a couple at the end of the rapids, the man had just finished the NFCT on Tuesday. He said he didn’t run those rapids - that made me pretty stoked. I ran back to find Moose, we both went back to to the head of the rapids, Moose would carry the rest of the gear and I would take her boat down the rapids. Her boat is narrow, a diamond stretched at the ends. I rarely if ever paddle her boat so I was a bit nervous. I made it ¾ the way down the rapids in similar fashion before being flipped by a rock on my left side. With no time to brace, I went right over into the water. Holding on to the now filled boat I floated down the rapids another 15 feet before I was able to gain a foothold. I managed to flow down the river, boat in hand till I landed on a rock exposed enough to rest the boat on. With the boat loosely out of the river’s current, I proceeded to hand pump the entire cockpit. With arms straining on the bilge pump and legs straining in the current, I was able to empty the kayak. I hopped back in the boat on top of the rock and launched back into the rapids. Moose met me at the shore, confused as to what had taken me so long. With only a minor raspberry on my shin, I had run my first rapids, twice, taken my first spill and capsized mid-rapids, emptied my boat and self-rescued. I was shaken but not stirred, I had yet to feel so alive on this trip! I was pumped, soaked, and ready to relax by a fire for Moose’s last evening in the woods. Whiskey cracked for pulls. Chilli for me fried rice for Moose."
We found a nice flat spot down by the water and were happy to tent outside instead of in a lean-to. After making a quick fire and eating some dinner, it was time for bed!