The Bog of the Shogomoc

shogomoc_BigFalls (41K)
The last ten km are seething falls and whitewater.

Many’s the bog filled me with dread
since first I touched a rock,
but never a bog so solemnly dead
as the bog of the Shogomoc.

The stream wound round and round itself
First left, then right it would sway.
We thought we’d soon run into ourself
turning our boat every which-way.

We followed its winding maze-like trail,
the Kilburn Lake waters to seek.
The water was brown, the forest was pale.
The lake was barren and bleak.

The shores were naught but rocky swamp.
Nary a dry spot we could find.
We set up the tent without any pomp
on a small patch beneath a duck-blind.

A fire of straw and beaver-chaw ends
was all we could manage that evening.
As I looked back at the streamlet’s big bends,
the breeze was calm but deceiving.

The wind blew strong and stronger that night
and kept us awake with its keening.
I had a suspicion of something not right
but couldn’t decipher its meaning.

At sunrise, the wind decided to make
peace and grant us a brief truce.
We paddled our boats out onto the lake
in search of the elusive big moose.

As we pulled into the farthest bay,
the wind rose and slapped at our faces.
The waves were tossed in a fearsome fray,
like horses freed of their traces.

We tied down our hats, leaned into the blow,
of effort we showed no shortage.
In the teeth of the headwind, progress was slow.
Two hours to the hillside portage.

The trees by the trail were dry as old bones,
old witches draped in black rags.
The fierce wind moaned in haunting tones
through the rotten and shorn-off snags.

We set down the trail toting our packs.
The footpath was rocky and twisting.
The forest resounded with groans and cracks
as trees swung swaying and listing.

As we carried our gear down the steep walk,
a tree cracked and groaned beside us.
I turned and saw its ten-tonne bulk
brush Biff's back and hit the dust.

We took to our heels, dashed to our boat
in our rush to escape the wood.
As quick as we could, we got us afloat.
Still, things weren't looking that good.

We emerged from the alders onto the lake,
the wind blew straight in our faces.
The waves wouldn't let us take a break,
We'd lost the river gods' graces.

Gritting our teeth, we leaned on our blades,
and set out for the lake's far shore.
« Don't give up, Biff, whatever it takes, »
I shouted over the wind's fierce roar.

Two hours later, thirsty and sore,
we glided into the calm bay.
We stepped out wobbly onto the shore,
thankful the gods spared us this day.

 Nanook of the Nashwaak 
 Reach out and touch a rock 

slide (
An intrepid paddler slides down a Shogomoc rapid.

Ancient Spirits

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