The crafty Hudson Bay Co (who at one time in history owned 6% of the world's land surface) built a mile long railroad on the island that is located in the rapids. By doing this they controlled all (except for the brave and foolish) freight traveling up and down the river.
The river from the Grand Rapids to Fort McMurray is littered with rapids, but a couple features make the Grand Rapids the most noteworthy. First the river drops 60ft over the length of the rapids and second, and most interestingly, the rapids are FILLED with concretions.
Despite these cool features, the Rapids are not easy to access (87 miles from Fort McMurray, 150 + miles from Athabasca) and, so were seen by far more eyes at the turn of the century than today! It takes a skilled boater to get close enough to the Rapids to walk into on the west side (which is the best view and access to the amazing concretions).
Lucky for us, Darcy, our guide, is a skilled boater. Due to the river being very low this year, the walk was a little longer then normal, but tbh I completely enjoyed the scramble along the edge of the river - well except for the recent mud slide that sucked my rubber boat right off as I scrambled through it.
Gotta say, the rapids are mostly hidden as you approach them from the south (due to that big drop) and I was a bit skeptical as we walked in that they were going to be worth the work to get to them. Once we forded the last little river my skepticism was completely put to bed!
Darcy guided us along the edge of the rocks to the far north end of the rapids and told us to take our time working our way back through the rocks. We had a BLAST scrambling over the giant round rocks, sitting watching the rapids, and dangling our feet in quiet little pools.
What a great day!!!!
Because this was Zelman's last trip to the cabins for the season we scored an extra day hanging out while they got everything ready for winter, so the next 2 days were spent paddling, fishing, gold panning, kicking Mark's ass in an archery shootout and just relaxing!!! I was actually able to finish a book I've been reading FOREVER and 2 more (one was a cookbook, so not intense reading!)
|No, not Mark's fish. A nice Walleye caught by Cole and eaten by us all!!! So tasty!|
|Ummmm.....no.....Mark did not find our fortune!|
Tuesday morning we loaded the boat and headed back to civilization!
It wasn't ideal weather, but still a beautiful trip!
|Wolf track at our lunch stop!|
Can't say 'THANKS' enough to Darcy and Shirley Zelman of Grand Rapids Wilderness for a LOVELY get away in our own backyard. I'm just annoyed that it took us so long to get around to doing it!!
Hope to see you this winter Zelmans!!!! ;)
|Bear track by the boat!|