Nahanni Day 17 – The Splits
Distance travelled 50 km
Bug meter 1/10 (cold, cold, cold)
What a change compared to yesterday – we woke to clouds and about 15 degrees!
We started straight out with Lafferty’s rapids and as we scouted them Dale said ‘Is that it with a look like – that’s nothing?” (foreshadowing….). Perry got the Drone set up and the three boats – Rob and Dave, Mike and Sarah and Dale and I paddled back up river in the eddy and then did a forward ferry to get the line right. Perry was on Drone duty and Wendy on the camera.
We turned into the waves – needing to avoid a big rock/hole on the right, a large cliff face on the right and try to hit the waves at a perpendicular angle – i.e. head on, yet the waves were slightly angled. Just like they say loose lips sink ships – in canoeing you need to remember that loose hips, floats boats. Really important to be very flexible in the water and let your hips roll with the punches.
Once in the waves Dale got his wish – whereas the 4th canyon waves get bigger with rain (which we had a plenty in the days leading up to it – so they were HUGE); Lafferty gets bigger when the water is down a bit (and we had had three glorious sunny days…..). The waves were the highest Wendy thinks she has seen in > 10 trips – likely 7-8 feet. Holy Rollers to be sure. A once in a lifetime run. We started to lose our line and I thought we were goners, but we got it back. We caught air!!!! It was magical. And the best part is that there were no dumps, everyone stayed in their boats. The three boats then pulled over and Perry and Wendy packed up the filming gear and did the run (see photos).
We were on such a high! We paddled for about 30 minutes and came to the hot springs, Sulphur springs (a bit rotten egg stinky – but hot which was brilliant given the day). Had a soak and then rinsed off in the Nahanni (which is a brutal 6 degrees….). We hung our memento in the rangers cabin – it doubles as an eagle and a yoke (the centre piece in the canoe that allows you to single portage). Dale carved it. It has all of our names and will stand as a reminder that the TestYourLimits team was here.
We then continued on and about 40 km later exited the park. We are in the splits, an area where the river is divided by multiple sandbanks and obstacles – having managed to get through the rapids, Dale and I almost capsized on a gravel bar! It was actually hysterical.
Tomorrow is our final paddling day.
Mike and I give a huge shout-out to the Rogers Centre of Excellence in Heart Function and Heart Transplant Programs for all the work they are doing while we are gone. We couldn’t do these trips without our colleagues and friends who make it possible. I know we transplanted RM and I send my wishes out to him and his family!
lafferty rapids 1