It was a dreary sort of morning. It was raining. Chilly.
“We should wear our drysuits,” proffered Haidee.
It was a good idea. It was chilly enough that we’d not overheat, and the seals would keep rainwater from seeping down our necks.
So it was that we ended up wearing drysuits on a very mellow wetland river, in the middle of summer. A Hokkaido summer.
It wasn’t soon after setting off that we had our first eagle sighting. Sitting regally on its high perch, it only occasionally peered down at us. We were clearly visitors in its territory, over which it reigned supreme.
Further on, we spotted a diminutive kingfisher. A little more skittish than the eagle. But it stood still long enough for me to snap a frame.
Further on we came upon a gorgeous hydrangea vine, clinging to an old downed tree spanning most of the width of the river.
Despite the rain, it felt like the Bettoga River was putting on a show for us.
When we arrived at the salmon hatchery weir, I wasn’t quite ready to turn around. It would have been an awkward portage though, so we reluctantly turned tail and headed back downstream. The surrounding forest felt prehistoric and calming.
We decided to keep paddling downstream past the put in point, at least to the small fishing port. By now the tide was heading out. It was an easy ride therefore further downstream. But the return felt long. Overall, the section below Route 44 also felt a little more bland and featureless. A broad river just impatiently finishing its way into Lake Furen.
A thoroughly enjoyable river, and one we’d happily visit again given the chance.