By the third day, we were all looking for a shower, except there was no shower. Any water we used came from the lake, carried by hand from the dock, up the steps and into the cabin. Most of the time, we just drank from cups dipped into the water. I know! I know! You're all thinking "not a good idea" but that is exactly what we did and none of us got sick. We've done it a number of times since then too and still haven't been made sick.
Anyway... Drinking water aside, we wanted water and carrying enough for individual sponge baths didn't appeal to anyone. So Mom and Dad headed in one direction and Chris, Autumn (my springer spaniel) and I went in another direction. We pulled up along along a rock ledge and broke out the ecologically and environmentally safe soap.
I've no idea how deep the water was, but it was deep. We jumped in, swam around and climbed out. Soaped up, lathered up and jumped back in to rinse off. Autumn had found something ripe to roll in at some point, so I intended to give her a bath too.
She didn't want to jump in the water. Now, Autumn was an excellent swimmer. She wasn't amazingly in love with water like some dogs, but she could swim very well and for long distances. This time, I called her and she sniffed the water, but didn't want to go in. I tried again, but she would not jump in.
So, I got close to the ledge and pulled her in because I wanted to give her a bath. Her legs paddled frantically and to my utter and complete amazement, she sank like a stone.
I reached fast and hard, caught something squirming in the dark water and pulled her up. I had Autumn by the skin on the back of her neck. She scrambled on top of my head and leaped up onto the ledge, giving me plenty of scratches and dunking me at the same time.
I have never in my life seen a dog sink. Not ever. Especially not her or a dog like her. Spaniels are good swimmers and don't sink.
Chris and I stared in amazement at each other and decided Autumn did not need a bath. She would remain wary and nervous about the water for the remainder of the trip, but still accompanied us in the boat.
The Root River helps to fill Otatakan lake along with three other rivers or streams and numerous small creeks and tiny tributaries, but it is also the only river that exits the lake. As mentioned previously, we spent each day exploring new areas and fishing. The afternoon after the dog-sinking incident, we went down into the bay where the root river left Otakakan on it's way (eventually) to Hudson Bay.
Chris and I were ahead of Mom and Dad as we entered the river. At first, the river seemed rather lazy and we were unconcerned. As we went further downstream, the current suddenly picked up and about that time, we hit a rock with the motor and it died. We were rapidly swept downstream and could hear the roaring sound of white water as I desperately tried to start the motor.
Chris shouted to me there was a major waterfall or rapids ahead (it's hard to tell exactly what you're getting into when you're upstream). Mom and Dad were trying to get closer, but the river was full of rocks and I yelled for them to not come closer. They were about 300 yards upstream from us.
We stopped the boat by grabbing a rock. It was at that point that Autumn decided to abandon us for safer harbor with Mom and Dad. She jumped out of the boat onto a rock and then jumped to another rock. I was trying to start the motor, Chris was holding the boat to keep it from going down the rapids and Autumn was jumping, sometimes over what seemed like impossibly long distances, from rock to rock.
I am not kidding. The rocks she landed on were sometimes less than six inches in diameter. And yet she jumped, rock to rock, making her way upstream to our parents with a fast moving current sometimes just a single paw slip away. Had she fallen in, there is no way we could have gotten to her and she would have gone over the falls.
The crazy dog was almost to Mom and Dad when the motor started. We got the boat pointed in the right direction and Chris watched for rocks as we navigated upstream. It wasn't until we left the river and went back into the deep bay that we finally breathed a sigh of relief and the adrenaline stopped flowing. We both had that shaky, just-missed-dying feeling.
You would think that after that little escapade, we would not try anything very risky, but be sure to come back next week and read about running beaver dams and riding waterfalls...
A true story by MJ Logan
Read Part 6.
Photo of a Rapid River by Perry Pics at Flickr.com
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