Most years we try to take a 3-5 day canoe trip in early October, the leaf colours in Nova Scotia at this time of year are stunning, the weather is variable but not usually too cold, the water still reasonably warm and there are no blackflies or mosquitoes!
This year we decided to repeat a trip that we had done in Oct 2012, (Pictures from that trip are here ) but to make it a day longer. The plan was to launch at a place called Eel Weir in Kejimkujic National Park and paddle home via the Mersey river, Rossignol reservoir and Christopher lakes.
So the owl and the pussycat went a-tripping in a beautiful bright red kevlar canoe. We took 5 days food including home dried eggs and ham for breakfast.
The trip started with a portage down the right bank to avoid banging the canoe on the rocks of a rapid with little water in it. Then across a lake to a second portage. In retrospect, this is where things started to go awry. While loading a 50 lb portage sack into the canoe I slipped in the mud and twisted my back. I thought little of it at the time and that the pain would soon settle. It was windy and the river was low and we made slow progress trying to avoid damage to our eggshell of a canoe. After 3 hours and the time about 1600 hrs we spotted a camp site at the Mersey bridge and made for it. We would have liked to get further but were conscious of the short days and the next site being an hour or so away
We had a good meal, good sleep and good breakfast and although our packing had been delayed by the heavy rain were not unduly worried though my back was very stiff and a little sore.
Down stream was not good news, water levels were very low and I waded and floated the canoe down 3 or 4 sets of very shallow rapids choked with logs left over from logging days. This made for slow progress .
Never mind we got onto Lake Rossignol and had water under the hull, though the lake did seem rather low. We had lunch at Low Landing and set off happily to find the portage to Carrigan lake . Twenty minutes later it dawned on us just how low the lake was. We could not get closer to the portage than 3k., There was no water! Just 3 km of lake bottom that was like a glacial moraine of boulders up to 3 or 4 feet across.
We decided portaging across that was a non starter - it would take a day! We decided the sensible thing to do was to camp and return up river to the car. So we headed to a camp site we had spotted on a trip 5 or 6 years ago. The closest we could get the canoe was here and so we camped here in a nice little beach with turtle egg shells.
It is a great campsite. We scavenged enough wood for a fire and after several cuppas all seemed good though my back had deteriorated during the day and by the time we had tent and tarp up, eaten and got to bed I was feeling very sore.
The next morning I was worse. I struggled to carry the sac with the food in from the tree where we had hoisted it away from bears etc. I came to the conclusion it was time to ask for help. Lake Rossignol is 25 km across , (when the water levels are normal) and has only two road access points , fortunately it has cell phone coverage and one of the road access points is Low Landing.
I had left our route plans with Kevin, and when I spoke to him at 0800 he said “I will be there at 1030”, We scrambled as best we could, Vivien scrambled better than me, and we landed as Kevin parked his massive Dodge pick up at 1030.
As I write this 3 days later my back has improved markedly but I am still getting some pain. We are glad that we left the route and map with Kevin and although we are a bit disappointed we know we made good decisions regarding campsites and swallowing our pride and asking for help, To make it seem worth while the autumn (fall) colours were fantastic and the campsites beautiful.
The pictures are here https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZYUy1yAig2Jb9Dqk7
The red lines on the map are my GPS tracks