I could go on and on about how slow and boring the progress was. How there was little to see but tree after tree. How the sun beat down upon us relentlessly. How the heat caused sweat to pour out of us almost as much as the water and electrolytes we poured into us. But let’s get to a little magic.
We got to beautiful Stockport lock early and waited in the shade enjoying the view of the old mill and hearing the rush of the water over the dam. Soon we were through and on the other side awaited very turbulent water that most enjoyed, pushing them along at super speeds. Then more mile after mile to Luke Chute where we enjoyed lunch as a log was cleared from the lock to let us pass. I think maybe the river knew this was a much needed break from paddling and maybe put that log there. If you have not been to Luke Chute, go. It has lovely grounds, lots of camp sites. not much traffic and is way off the beaten path.
Next came a big challenge. Since the lock is not operational at Beverly, we chose to go to the other side of the river and portage out boats around the damn. A trusty knight of the magic people, Mike, was there again to help is with is truck and trailer, hauling boats and gear down roads that were almost impossible to walk. His services were so valuable to this trip. I can’t thank him enough. Boats in the water, eddies to manage, we rushed to the other shore. Dangerous storms were on the radar and we needed shelter.
It is hard to explain how muddy Beverly lock boat ramp was. There was a wooden ramp that sufficed for many to get their boat out without sliding their way through 6 inches of pure slick goo. Mixed in was a blown up dead racoon that added to the ambience. Lightning was in the air, so we pulled out quick and found shelter. Some of us better than others. I chose to stand outside in the rain letting it fill me with refreshing energy. The lightning and thunder had gone so it was nothing more than a good strong shower and I felt clean through and through.
Skies clearing, we were on our way. Some chose to porpoise their boats on the wooden ramp, and some went into the drink! But it was all in fun. The group was refreshed by the storm also, and paddle on we did. Until the crack of thunder broke the silence, so under the trees we hid. More rain and more thunder and lightning came and went and we ducked under the trees a few times, but eventually we made it to the campgrounds for the night.
There was hot lasagna and salad, cold water and beer, and a warm welcome from the hosts at Stonehouse Campground. It had become so routine, pull in, unload the boats, set up your tent, eat, make a campfire, etc, etc. After 5 days, we all just took it in stride. We settled around a warm campfire as the sun set and talked about the trip, and how we could improve it. There were many grateful hearts around that fire, much love was shared and we went to bed that night, knowing, we had one more day together, one more day till the end.