Haidee and I had paddled part of this section of river previously with a group from Canoa. It may well have been a completely different river though. On that day, the river was at almost-flood levels, almost a meter higher than today’s mid-summer levels. While on that day the whole width of the river had been covered with water, today it was a rather sedate trickle on the river left only.
We certainly weren’t complaining too much. Saoka and Akiko were beginner paddlers, so we’d take scraping-bottom levels any day over the grand torrent we’d experienced previously.
It was a hot day today. By the time we got all the canoes down to the river and packed, it was 10am.
The weather was a model of perfection though. We were all excited by the prospect of a leisurely overnighter on the grand Mukawa.
For Haidee and I, the river was pretty straight forward. We led the way, with Saoka and Akiko following. They did pretty well. Even avoiding some wrappable rocks, and threading the needle through a must-hit gap in a ledge. Commendable.
By the time we’d made it to one of the campspots I’d scouted on Google Earth, we were all ready to relax into a leisurely camp. It was only 3pm, but this would allow plenty of time for me to bake the bread dough I’d brought with me. Haidee had chastised me for bringing a stupidly heavy Dutch oven for the purpose, and this was hardly unfounded. Our canoe appeared to be scraping the river bed much more than the other canoe.
With camp set up, we got a fire going, and enjoyed cooking over the embers.
I clearly had put too many coals on the Dutch oven lid, as the top of the loaf was well charred, despite having a couple of layers of aluminum foil on top of the loaf top to insulate it a bit. It wasn’t ruined though, and we enjoyed some freshly baked bread along with sausages and veges cooked in the Dutch oven afterwards.
As night fell, we lounged back and enjoyed the remainder of the day. Just after dark, we were amazed to see one lonely firefly zigzag its way through our camp. We’d not seen a firefly in many years, so that was a real treat.
The next morning, we packed up camp early, so that Akiko could get back to Sapporo for a 2pm appointment. The remainder of the route was even more straight forward than the first half.
Oh the horseflies.
They were horrid. The worst I’ve ever experienced in Hokkaido. The merino wool long-sleeve shirt I was wearing was useless against them. I was getting eaten alive. Haidee, with her insect-proof shirt was hardly being bothered at all. By the end of the morning, my end of the canoe was a veritable horsefly graveyard. Many a horsefly died a swift death.
This final lower half of the route was also teeming with wildlife. Lots of deer crossing the river, and plenty of birdlife.
A perfect weekend antidote to the business of Sapporo City.