It was day two of our ‘workation‘, but being a Sunday, we took the full day off to explore the lower section of the Furen River. The 20km super-bendy section above this section was appealing too, but with a very slow flow and potentially a lot of downed trees, we opted for the shorter lower section only.
We’d expected to be able to put in on the river right at Furen-bashi Bridge, but it looked all rather awkward. A quick look at the river left side, however, revealed a much nicer put in.
We left the canoe under the bridge, and drove down to the take-out. We’d somewhat expected an easy take-out near the small one-lane bridge on the dirt road over Kimura River (more like a creek), but we ended up parking up next to some old fishing shacks just down the river. There wasn’t really anywhere immediately obvious where we’d end up taking out, but we just hoped it would all become clear once we arrived via the river at the end of the trip.
We unloaded the bikes and headed off for the 6km ride back to the put in. Along the way we saw an impressive stag. Haidee swooned at a mother racoon and her cub. All in all a very pleasant bike shuttle.
We got onto the water at about 10:30am. The weather was perfect. Fairly hot, but hardly a breath of wind. Not soon after getting on the water, we rounded a bend and saw two massive red-crested tancho cranes.
A little further on, deer greeted us on the riverside.
This felt like the wildlife haven we’d been expecting from way out east. The Furen River was living up to that expectation.
It didn’t take long before we approached the only portage on the route – the river-wide fishing fence. We approached cautiously, and decided on a river right portage. At this tide level, we were able to easily pull up onto a small but firm mud/pebble beach, and haul the canoe up through the long grass. There was no one else around. It felt like we were at the end of the world.
Beyond the fishing fence, we were now approaching the river mouth into Lake Furen. At first, the river was still glassy smooth. Then as we rounded a corner, we encountered a stiff headwind breeze coming off the lake. A juvenile white-tailed eagle, perched next to the water on a muddy beach, watched us paddle against the ripples.
Greg had dared us to try finding the Kimura River mouth without using our GPS. “When we did it, daylight was fading, and we were really struggling to find it,” he said. “We didn’t have a GPS on us, so it was quite scary!”
We tried not using the GPS for a few hundred meters. I had a mental map of the area in my head. But I chickened out and snuck a look.
We’d paddled right over top what was marked as a wetland island. The official topomap data was only updated in 2000, so I guess things might have shifted since then.
Even with the GPS, we made a wrong turn into what we thought was the Kimura River mouth, but ended up being a dead-end inlet. We backed up and headed another 20m up the shoreline, and only then did we see the narrow channel heading up the river. An old post lay in the short grass. We guessed at one point it had stood up, informing people of where the channel is.
With the tide as it was – about one hour after low tide – we’d never beached ourselves during our short foray across the lake. We’d got hung up on a submerged log, but that was about it.
Once on the Kimura River, it was easy going. We were paddling up the river, but the flow was pushing us along – such was the effect of the incoming tide.
We found a less-muddy spot to pull up, and went about getting the canoe through the long grass to the fishing shacks and the car. It was an awkward affair, with Haidee sinking down to her knee in mud at one point. Careful foot placement was a must.
We got there in the end though. An inglorious end to a nice adventure down the lower Furen River.