Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Canoe Trip, Damn Dam!

This is Dillon Dam. It was built by the Army Corp of Engineers, bless their heart's and all the noble work that they do, but it turns out not one of these sumbitches ever tried to canoe around it.

It never occured to them, or in all honesty, to me either.

I knew that Dillon Dam was one of the obstacles that we had in front of us for our trip but it never occured to me prepare for it.

In my defence, I had seen Dillon Dam twenty-two years ago and it was a concrete spillway/waterfall of about four feet. I planned on a half-hour setback to our time table to manuever our gear and the canoe around it. No problem. It would be easier than getting past the beaver dam on the first day.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

It was not a four foot spill way. It was four hundred and fifty feet of dam, not quite straight up, but almost.

We found the dam in the fog and haze of the thunderstorm that had just passed over us and beached the canoe with joy. Then the sun came out and we saw what we were up against.

In the photo you will notice a road that leads from the lake side of the dam down a hill where the road turns and head towards the river side of the dam. Along the river is a small string of trees. While the scale of the picture is desceptive, it is a half mile from the lake to the end to that row of trees, up hill and down, and it took us five trips to get everything there. I'm no mathmatician but a half mile each way by five trips comes to five miles.

By the time we were done and loaded the canoe, paddles in hand, it was dark. There is no stranger sensation than paddling your canoe by the beam of a flashlight. We had to get away from the State Park as there were signs everywhere forbiding camping, and we didn't want any trouble with the Rangers.

We lucked out and found the best campsite of the trip, but that's another story.



  1. What a kick in the pants! The rain stops. The sun comes out. You think things are finally going your way and you're confronted with a gear-laden ten mile hike. I imagine there may have been some cursing.

  2. Well, about the point I had tied my waist to the canoe to drag it across the grass like an ox because my arms had totally gone on me and my legs were going fast, yeah, there was some hell to be raised.

    Even though we had spent most of the morning struggling against the wind across the lake, it was such a pleasure to be rowing again after that.

  3. Holy shit! Were you discussing what items in your load you could do without and just leave there?

  4. It was a race against time, since the sun was setting fast behind the dam, so it was more grab-and-run than an organized event.

    We spent a good, long time the next morning recovering and re-organizing the swag box. We could've done it in four trips after that.

    We just took way too much stuff.


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