I thought it was only toddlers squirming in the back seat of the family sedan who asked this question every two minutes. Or perhaps they would utter the equivalent plaint, “How much farther do we have to go?”
I admit it wasn't the most exciting river trip I'd been on. The Cains is a mellow run, even if you put in at the very start behind Taymouth, where it first emerges from between the alders on the meadow. There is one enchanting spot up there in the back of beyond where the narrow stream speeds up around the turn to nearly “rip” status.
When I last cruised by, a coupla years or so ago, the charm of the corner was offset by a red sign on a tree at head height in the center of the view which said, “Don't litter.” Irony, for sure.
So it can be a long leisurely five-day paddle from the Cains' start out to the only convenient takeout on the Main Southwest Miramichi at the municipal park in Blackville, especially if the sea trout are not running.
Four of us were sailing down the placid Cains that weekend, and my buddies were getting impatient, yeah, even bored. I was the only one who caught a fish, a salmon parr which fit in the palm of my hand which went back into the stream.
When we got to Shinnickburn, a hunter's hamlet halfway down, I had a difficult time persuading them to continue, rather than leave their boats and gear here and hike out the 15km to the highway. They proposed to hitchhike the remaining 100 km home rather than finish the trip.
I guess if it had been sunny, the stream more lively, and the trout more eager, they might have been happier. So I get where they were coming from.
Nowadays, when my paddling partner inquires when we'll arrive at the takeout, or how far it is, I answer, “Soon,” or “Not far,” in the most philosophical, non-committal tone I can muster. As if I could change anything with a stroke of my stick anyway.
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