Most people choose to go to a cabin or visit relatives on the May long weekend but not us. We choose to paddle all day in the rain, then spend the evening sitting around a mud hole and call it good fun. And that pretty much describes how this years annual canoe trip on the Torch River went.
On Sunday the day started nice with very little wind and overcast. People from all over came together on the banks of the river to enjoy a day of paddling on one of southern Saskatchewan's best kept secrets. The Torch River. The wet weather had washed out the road but luckily at this point the river was mere meters from the road. It should have been a sign of things to come when the rain started to come down the moment we got on. Many of use hadn't paddled this section of the river, known as the Northern Loop. We all laughed when Steve jokingly said that we had to be getting near the end because the rain was beginning to let up. And sure enough, the very moment we pulled our boats from the water it stopped raining.
The northern loop is a very picturesque area with lots of forest to make you feel like you are on a wilderness river. And I guess it is fairly remote because you can't get a cell phone signal here as we were to find out. Just at the tip of the loop three creeks join the torch. This area has some great rapids and high banks making for an interesting place to stop. If is wasn't so wet and a bit cold. Thanks Larry for bringing us to such a nice spot.
Some people even went for a bit of an unintentional swim.
The rain quit just long enough to get a camp set up and a few tarp put up to cook under, then it started to come down again. A few of the crew were only with us for the day and had to leave to go back to the city. With all the rain that day some were a bit concerned about the trail from the camp to the road. As Jay found out, driving through the mud hole at the beginning of the trail wasn't the best idea.
But after we pulled him out and he was on his way the rest of us settled in and made supper. Now the mud hole that jay was stuck in also happens to be very near and dear to our hearts. It is there every year and it just seems to be an inviting place to build our camp fire. Add to it the grassy area along the side for seating and you've got a great place to sit and spend the evening visiting.
Now we didn't know it at the time but the people that had left that evening had a hell of a time with the roads. One person (who will remain nameless) even got stuck again and reported to have pulled over 30 lbs of mud from the engine compartment of his van. It continued to rain all night and didn't quit until around 9:30 the next morning when Robin and I decided to take his big 4X4 and check out the roads. Well we knew it wasn't going to be the best of times when even the 4x4 almost didn't make it up the hill and almost slid into the ditch on a number of occasions. If Robins truck troubles there was no way the 2 wheel drive van was going to make it up the hill. This is when we tried to call for help and discovered that cell phones are useless in this area. The decision was made to stay put for a while to see if the sun would come out and dry up the roads. We could have walked to find a farmer with a tractor but as we would find out later, it would have been a long walk to the nearest farm. So again we made a fire in our favorite mud hole and sat around for most of the day waiting for the road to dry. The sun did eventually show itself but what really helped the situation was the wind that came up and finally, after some debate, at 3:30 we decided to try our luck and get out. The roads had dried enough to allow the van to pass but watching in the mirror, I could see the van fishtailing back and forth in the mud.
Even though the second day was a write off in terms of paddling I think most everyone still had a good time.
Paddling in the rain and sitting around the mud hole!