The portage on the Raquette River is a brutal 1.3 miles. And we do it twice: once with each kayak.
The boats are heavy. My hands are soft. The portage “saves us” from a series of rapids and falls but is so taxing I joke that, next time, I’m just going for it.
The kayaking trip (40-ish miles) is otherwise peaceful. The only “disturbances”: an eagle, some loons, a little rain, a stretch of deep mud, a beaver, coyotes howling and yipping in the early morning, several ducks, heron, a few deer, including a doe and two fawns who walk right through our campsite.
I mean… take a look! This series of photos includes the only poem I wrote as we made our way from Long Lake to Tupper Lake by way of the river:
You can drive the route in about 20 minutes, but we chose to kayak and camp it, stretching it out over four days and three nights — one in a lean-to, the others at primitive sites (one with a privy, one without).
The excursion is part of how I’m preparing for the sad goodbye to my favorite season (summer) and all the freedom I’ve been giving myself to just “be.”
Somehow, it’s already September. Today is Labor Day, a rainy one here in Upstate NY, and I’m using it to get started harvesting “the good stuff” from a writing journal I finished in the last half of August. I’m hoping to find some poems — or at least decent starts of poems — for my current “Gertie” manuscript. Regardless of what I gather up from those notes, the hard work begins.
I’ve been putting off writing the final poems. I’ve been putting off finishing the manuscript. Partly, I just needed more distance, time, space… all the dimensions of opening to how it wants to go vs. what I try to impose on it.
Another big factor in putting it off has been my own fear of failure. I’m working through it. Outings like this August kayaking trip are not unrelated to conquering my fears. I’m tougher than I know and surrounded by people who keep trying to show me… and plenty of opportunities to prove it to myself.
I’m not interested in doing that portage again, but I’m glad I did it the one time. I may not be be built for carrying heavy boats long distances, but I can push through and accept help. I can find worn metaphors and float them into waters they were never intended to navigate.
Yes, just like that.
Now, back to the writing. I’ve got a full writing journal to dig into!