Temperature dropped last night-10. I slept on the shore of the Maligne River. It is a wide section of the river here and the entire river is frozen except for the usual holes and thin places and dangerous shore ice. All night the river snapped and boomed as the temperature dropped. It was really peaceful to sleep to the sudden rumbling noises. I got up at five, did the usual routine. Oatmeal, wrote in the journal, etc. Out and packed and underway at 6:30. The surfaces were firm and not that bad hauling at first. I hauled the wide sections of the river and then crossed Tanner Lake. I could hear the Tanner Rapids shortly after I left camp. The roar got louder as I crossed the lake. The sounds of the rapids were amplified by the cold calm air. Hauling was harder on the lake, the soft powder drift gave a lot of resistance to the canoe. {audio}podcasts/2014_Solo_Canoe_Haul/20140405_WillStegerDispatch.mp3{/audio}

Temperature dropped last night-10. I slept on the shore of the Maligne River. It is a wide section of the river here and the entire river is frozen except for the usual holes and thin places and dangerous shore ice. All night the river snapped and boomed as the temperature dropped. It was really peaceful to sleep to the sudden rumbling noises. I got up at five, did the usual routine. Oatmeal, wrote in the journal, etc. Out and packed and underway at 6:30. The surfaces were firm and not that bad hauling at first. I hauled the wide sections of the river and then crossed Tanner Lake. I could hear the Tanner Rapids shortly after I left camp. The roar got louder as I crossed the lake. The sounds of the rapids were amplified by the cold calm air. Hauling was harder on the lake, the soft powder drift gave a lot of resistance to the canoe. As the lake narrowed back into the Maligne, hauling was better. I could see the black water ahead. At waters edge I pulled to the shore to waterproof and tie down everything and then dressed up with my hydroskin outfit and launched the canoe. I paddled the calm waters above the rapids and as the current picked up I tried to pull over on the south shore. The shore ice kept me from the actual shore, but I managed to find a weak spot and break ice to land and pulled the canoe up on the bank. I had a short portage in deep snow that took me an hour. I found a good launching spot directly beneath the rapids and shoved off. I was extremely cautious. The black water hides the rocks. The dangerous spots where the calm waters that had shore ice on either side. I paddle very slowly, very carefully with absolute full attention. I have never been in this type of situation where over extended periods I could not let my attention go for an instant. Mountain climbing often demands total attention, but there is always a ledge where you can relax and look down and around. The strong southwest wind amplified the current and began to break off slabs of shore ice, which started to float down the stream. In several places these slab started to jam in a narrowing between the shore ice. In each case I found a weak spot and broke ice to get through. There was also very very thin ice that looks like calm water. It made it tingling sound when I paddled through this. There are many things going on at once. The moving water was deceiving and sometimes it looked like waves from the wind when it was caused by the current and sometimes it was just waves. It was quite an adventure. The river finally pinched together again solid. It took me a little doing trying to find a landing place through the shore ice. The wind was strong, blowing me into the ice, but I had everything all figured out and I was as relaxed as I could be given the situation. I found a landing spot and once I got the canoe in the deep thawing snow it wouldn’t budge. It was like someone had glued it to the snow. So at 1 o’clock the travel day was over.

It was a beautiful warm day with altocumulus clouds and a southwest wind, a sign of a serious thaw. I took my foam pad into a place in the woods that was sunny and protected from the wind. I ate a lunch of cold dehydrated beans and napped with bare feet. Later I skied down the river 2 miles to check out the ice. Some open places, but not long enough for serious paddling. I plan to get up tomorrow morning at 4 AM and be underway and very first light. No traveling by the stars on these rivers. I think it will be very warm tomorrow and it may not freeze tomorrow night. My objective is to make the lake country tomorrow. On the big lakes I can travel day or night in a major thaw when the snow melts to the ice. These conditions are the holy grail of canoe hauling, but who knows, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how it all shakes out.

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