After 48 days in the canoe we are working on our last days to the end destination. In less then a week we arrive in Fort Kent, a small village one bridge away from Canada. We don't want to stop before we get to see a moose, but no luck so far. The water is low and we have to take wide turns around gravel beaches. If we don't follow the deepest channel we directly get stuck on the stones. After so many days of practicing we became quite skilled in avoiding stones even in the shallowest rivers. The water has been low on nearly every river that we have passed. Often we had to get out of the boat to maneuver around rocks.People warned us before we got on the trail, so we knew we would be the only 'fools' going for a paddling adventure when there is low water. The register forms in kiosks along the route, proved nobody had been on the trail since two months.
The most remarkable 'low water' or better 'no water' sections of our trip was on 'little spencer stream'. A stream that is famous for low water even in spring. There are no roads, houses or anything that looks like civilization around and there is no way to bypass the stream. We prepare for a heavy day, but waren't prepared for one of the heaviest days of our three year long trip. The moment we turn around the corner the dry boulders of the Little Spencer stream are looking at us. Zoë's shoulders fall down and all energy leaves her mouth while she moans 'ohhh noooo'.
We look at the stream that looks more like an adult play ball pit. Dragging is meaningless, too many rocks block the stream. If we want to save the bottom of our canoe, we will need to walk the next eleven kilometers with the canoe and bags on our shoulders. Impossible. We each cary 50 kilograms of luggage. Olivier the food bag on his back and the canoe with peddles on his shoulders, Zoë the bag with the sleeping gear, the camera equipment bag and the wheels. We try to walk over the stones but our feet disappears in a pit of rocks. It doesn't work. We have to try another way. The forest around the stream is wild. We try to find a trail, but with a 5 meter long canoe on your shoulders there is now way to turn in a packed forest. We return to the stream and make the conclusion we have just done one kilometer in one and half hour. If it continues this way we will not make it to the lake before the night falls and it doesn't seem like the forest has saved a nice camping spot for us.
There is no time to worry or be mad, we need to push on. Again and again, over and over. We pick up all our gear and walk on. We twist enkels and every muscle in our body is sore. Our minds are loosing confidence, but we go on. Seven hours later we did 9 kilometer. We have a short photo break and just make ourself ready to continue when we hear 'tick, tick, tick'. We look behind. 'tick, tick, tick and then Brad turns around the corner. Zoë almost faints by seeing an other human beeing. Not because she is scared, simply because she cannot believe where on earth he suddenly comes from. The man is grey, but energetic like a migrating caribou. It can not come to our minds to understand why an other paddler is on the trail and how he just by passes us. When he lights up his head and sees us he says 'hay guys, I came to say hi from my wife'
The sound we heard was from his hiking poles. He found a canoe-unfriendly way to make it fast trough the Little Spencer stream. He just ties a rope around his wrist and drags the canoe behind him over any stone crossing his path. With the hiking poles he keeps himself balanced on the stones. Pretty smart. We look at his way of doing it and are a little jealous, we consider but decide to finish it our way, to safe the canoe. From that day we travel together with Brad. And we still are. We enjoy the days and evenings together. He is a little faster with his slim one person canoe, but he likes to stay with us. We are desperate to see a moose and brad can't believe we haven't seen any. One day Brad says 'oh boy if we still don't see a moose, I am affright I need to rent one'. One night of sleep and some cold feet further, we finally get to so 'our' moose. It is a cold night and we wake up at 5 o'clock because we need to pee. We try to postpone to get out of the tent when Olivier suddenly hears footsteps in the water. Within 2 seconds he stands outside the tent on his bare feet and underwear. It rains and is 0 degrees. "Zoë, get out! Three moose on the other side of the river". As silence as she can she prepares the tri-pod and the camera, but it is still dark. Two hours and completely frozen later, we finally make the shot we wanted. A bull moose drinking in the water.