|Night Paddle on the Restigouche|
Last Saturday, July 8th, I managed to get my night paddle in!
I rented a beautiful 16' Esquif Prospecteur from Canoes Restigouche and put in at the Kedgwick junction at 10 pm. 13 hours and 90 km later I finished at the rafting ground.
Monday was a full moon and the forecast Sat night called for clear skies, when I saw the combination I just had to go for it. For the first half of the night (till about 2 am) the moon was so bright it was casting my shadow in front of me. It wasn't a problem navigating the fast waters (they're not quite worthy of the name rapids).
From roughly 2:45 till 4:30 however it was close to pitch black as the moon had set. Still, the stars gave a moderate amount of light - and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. So incredibly peaceful with almost no noise, just me and the faint reflections on the river and the gurgling of the current over the rocks.
It was, however, annoying to look at the map going, "Okay there's supposed to be an island in front of me and I'm suppose to go right ... where's the island?" ... and then I ran into it !
The one section I didn't want to hit when it was too dark, Tom's Brook, I didn't get too till about 5:30 am when there was plenty of light.
Best of all, I managed to avoid almost everyone. I only saw one fishing boat that was mooring at 10:15 pm, and then didn't see another on the river till 8 am the next day. Can you imagine any other time when you could paddle 10 hours on the Restigouche in mid July and not be surrounded by others?
In fact, the next morning I paddled by a campsite with 56, FIFTY-SIX tents!!!! URGH!!! At that moment I was so glad I had gone at night.
So if anyone is ever up for a night paddle I highly recommend it, just make sure to do a route you've done before, there's a clear sky with decent moon and starlight, and little (or better yet) no rapids. Also remember that if you tip for whatever reason you might not be able to find your canoe at night - so make sure you have enough on you to be comfortable that night.
Here's one of my paddling memories that helps me make it through the long winter - a perfect moment on a quiet lake.
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