Trip Reports

Thanksgiving comes early on the Petawawa

Thanksgiving comes early on the Petawawa

From bad experience comes good stories…

Bruce H and I (Scott C) and two friends from Montreal did the Petawawa last weekend, Sept 21-23 2018.  We dropped one car at McManus Lake and carried on to Lake Travers.  While we unloaded, a somewhat contemptible canoe landed, carrying two men:  one middle-aged and barefoot, the other a young adult, both dressed all in cotton and soaked to the skin.  The canoe was a 14 foot fiberglass beast, complete with folding seatbacks, suitable only for kids fishing in artificial ponds. The gentlemen walked up the landing to talk with us, and their story emerged…

They had set out from Lake Travers the day before, intending to run the Petawawa (they said they had run it twice before, accompanied by others).  Apparently, they had made it down Big Thompson rapids, but dumped on Little Thompson, losing their boat and everything in it. They spent the night huddled under a spruce tree, cold, wet and hungry (low temperature that night:  6 degrees).  In the morning, they walked downstream and luckily found their canoe -- with one paddle and a fishing rod, but nothing else – on their side of the river.   They decided to return to the put-in, and along the way encountered another group who loaned them a second paddle.  Somewhere on the lake, the skies opened and they got another soaking, but they made it back to the landing as we arrived.  Upon hearing their story, we gave them a ride to their car at McManus and enough cash to get them some food and gas.

Just think of all their mistakes:  wrong boat, no backup, wrong clothes, wrong shoes, not wearing PFDs, no helmets, wrong map, gear not tied in…make your own list.   Later we caught up with the other group, who had picked up some of their gear:  a Ziploc bag filled with wallets, cell phones and water, two-litre pop bottles of drinking water, a ten-dollar PFD, and a cooler bag full of bacon and eggs.  We never saw any more gear, so presumably that is all that was recovered.

As for Thanksgiving?  Those two had plenty to be thankful for, starting with their lives.  As for me, I’m grateful to every member of the RACCC, past and present, who has taught me so much that I avoid those mistakes, and make my own!