If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Monday, July 6, 2015

2015: Post 31 – Gander River camping

A few months ago Banana Smith (Neville) and I conjured up a paddle down the Gander River in our cross-over kayaks; me in my Karma RG and him in his P&H Hammer.  Then we started to recruit a few of our paddling buddies and ended up with five of them.... but they would all use their sea kayaks. 

I left town a couple days early to visit family in the area of the river.  I hadn't made the time to do a trial test of how best to pack my RG, and so I had just thrown a bunch of my gear into the car and headed down the road.  

The day before our departure I got my gear out and had a go at packing the RG.  I couldn't take the gear I would normally bring in my Nordkapp for a trip, but I had plenty of what I needed.

Day 1

I met the guys in Gander on Friday at noon at a local Irving Station.  Of course, they all had to have their lunch before we could get going... They must have thought we were going to eat at noon, but I clearly remember the plan was to meet at noon.... Nevertheless, they filled their bellies; I just had coffee since I had a late breakfast.

Eventually The Old Master (Brian) and Clyde started their trucks, and we set off to the put-in...

I was rearing to get going, but these guys were in relaxed mode

Put-in at Glenwood

After the kayaks were packed, Terry and Gary stayed in Glenwood with the gear and the rest of us drove the vehicles to the take-out in Gander Bay.  We then piled into Neville's car and drove back to Glenwood.

        Clyde                    Old Wobbly               The Old Master

It seemed like an awfully long time to me, but then we were finally on the water...



Brian and Terry

Da guys

Clyde was ahead of me and he ended up broad-side to a couple little rocks.  I came along and grabbed his bow, thinking I might be able to pull him free.  Instead I nearly capsized myself a couple of times as the water piled up on my edge.  Neville and Terry came in to get in on the action and I took over as the incident photographer, while they managed to get him freed... and we carried on down the river.

Neville and Terry to the rescue

Banana Smith and The Old Master

Old Wobbly watching Gary playing up river

Brian took a hard knock to the hull of his strip-built kayak along the way and he pulled up on a little beach to check out the damage.  When he removed the seat he found the crack had actually gone all the way through. 

Yep, folks... that's paint covering up the beautiful cedar strips!!!

We were only about five and a half kilometers from the put-in but it was after 4 pm and where Brian had landed it was actually a decent place to camp.  We had figured possibly camping up the river a little way when we planned this trip, but someone else was already set up there.  We had lots of time the next couple of days to paddle to the take-out in Gander Bay and so we set to work to make camp right where we were.  Good thing too because I was getting hungry... maybe I should have had my lunch too.

Brian, Neville, and I set up out tents in one spot...

... while Terry, Hazen, Gary, and Clyde  set up a litle farther from us. 

While I was having my supper the guys were relaxing

Terry got a cooking fire on the go

There were lot's of Gander River boats on the move...
this one was chauffeuring a dog up the river. 

Relaxing down by the river after supper
It rained for a while during the evening and so we spent some time under Brian's big tarp... I don't think Brian has named his tarp, so I think I will do it for him... I'll call it Vitamin C...

C'mon guys, look happy....

After the rain slowed we migrated down to the fire, then the rain eventually stopped.  Some of the guys went off to their tents after it got dark, but the rest of us scrounged up a bit more wood to build up the fire up against the chill in the air before finally turning in at midnight...

Day 2

Saturday morning came.  I think we were all in slower-pace mode since nobody seemed to be in any particular hurry.  We took our time with breakfast, breaking down our camp, and packing up our gear.    

Hazen making eggs and bacon for his breakfast

The guys breaking camp

It was 9 am by the time we got on the water.  The plan for the day was just to get far enough down the river so that we would have a shortish paddle on Sunday to the take-out.



We stopped to check out one of the
many river-front cabins along the way

Break time

Further down the river we pulled in.  Hazen grabbed up a flyrod to have a few flicks while the rest of us ate our lunch.

We all waited for Old Wobbly to eat his lunch after his fishing excursion, and then we got on the water again.

Old Wobbly


Brian, Clyde, and Neville

We checked our progress on the
map during our mid-afternoon break

I was the slowest person in my Karma RG, and therefore was often in the back of the pack when we had to paddle the 'ponds' along the river....

At 4 pm we had made it to our camp-site partway down Second Pond.  We briefly considered going farther but decided the thirty kilometres for the day was far enough.  It was time to enjoy some camp-life...

Clyde in full relax mode

Having supper

While on the beach we spotted a moose swimming down the pond...

Click on the picture to enlarge it... you will just see
the moose's head at bout the center of the picture

We must of been highly interested in the swimming moose, because we did not initially see the other moose standing on the shore down the beach...

With supper eaten and dishes cleared away, we gathered up some firewood and got our campfire going.

Terry was pretty much the campfire warden on this trip

The wind was chilly but we
had Vitamin C up to huddle under

Banana Smith got the jiffy-pop on the stove

Clyde took a liking to the
pole holding up the tarp

The wind "almost" dropped out after a while, and so we emerged from the tarp and saddled up to the fire...

Gary, Clyde, and Brian eventually called it a night and went off to their tents.  Neville, Hazen, Terry, and I  stayed to watch the rest of our firewood burn down and finally called it quits a little before midnight.

Day 3

Sunday morning came.  I had been awake for a while and when I finally got out of my tent Clyde was already down the beach with a fire started and a cup of tea in hand.  Everyone else starting getting up and getting their breakfast.

It wasn't long and everyone was packing up their gear.

Before 8 am we were on the water and heading down river.


Clyde and Neville

After about an hour and a half we pulled up on shore for a stretch.

When we got back on the water Hazen and I ended up ahead of the other guys... they had stopped to play in some faster water for a while.  The water was flat calm and we took our time, chatting about this and that.  

It wasn't long before the other guys caught up, and then passed me.

About three and a half hours of paddling this morning had put us at the take-out in Gander Bay.

We packed up and made plans to go for lunch, but Terry and Old Wobbly did not join us. They headed in the opposite direction as they had planned to spend a couple days in the Exploits area.... I later heard from Hazen that they paddled another twenty-five kilometres that evening, adding to the eighteen we had already done in the morning, while the rest of us drove back to town.  

So there it is... my third camping trip for this year is in the blog.  Thanks to the guys for another good one...

     Banana Smith - The Old Master - Clyde - Terry - Gary - Old Wobbly  

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