Seven days and six nights, driftwood saunas and driftwood fires, a ton of fishing and a ton of drinking, seven friends and a beautiful river. That pretty much sums up the Kopka River Trip. We headed out with three canoes: two canoes of two people and the party canoe. Whoever sat in the middle of the party canoe spent most of the day either reading, fishing, or drinking depending on who it was.
It was cold and rainy for the first three days, sunny and hot for the last four. On day two Ashley slipped and fell armpit deep in the cold river so we stopped to build a fire and make camp. The boys would have liked to stay as long as the pickerels were biting, which could have been for weeks by those rapids. We had a fish-fry feast that night.
By day four we had taken our canoes and gear through many rivers, lakes, and portages. That’s when Marty brought out his 20 pound watermelon. Everyone knew why the booze pack weighed so much, but the pack that Marty, Ti Jo, and Ashley shared – big black – remained a mystery for the rest of us until then. We enjoyed eating that watermelon and by the time we left the waterfall campsite two days later, both big black and the booze pack were a lot lighter.
It was the best campsite and that’s why we spent two nights there. The guys packed themselves in a canoe to go fishing and almost sank it, the girls stayed on shore to drink wine and go skinny dipping. Later on everyone howled from behind a curtain of water on the second tier of the waterfall. And even later, when the stars brilliantly dotted the sky, everyone howled and jumped into the lake, skin steaming from the sauna. We alternated warming ourselves by the fire and in the blue-tarp-sauna Marty had built earlier that day.
On day six the wind was blowing from behind so we put up a sail, laid back, and let it carry us onward. That’s also the day we decided we had to eat all the bread and cheese we had been carrying until then. Chris ate seven grilled cheese sandwiches, Marty, Cory and Ti Jo had six each, and Ashley, Gilly and Curniss had three.
That night Marty and Ti Jo made a dinner that ended up being dumped somewhere in the forest, partly because it was uneatable and partly because we had already all had enough. We always dumped things at least 100 m from the water’s edge, buried our business, and set up “bear alarms” before crawling in our sleeping bags. Leave no trace; we all love these woods, their rivers and creatures.
Our moto for the trip was “eat more” because Curniss had planned out the food rations and she is used to feeding a 6’6″ 200 pound man with a high metabolism. If it had been “drink more” then we would have run out of booze by the third night but not because we didn’t bring a lot. We didn’t run out of food but we did finish all the rhum, vodka, tequila, fireball, and wine.
On our last night we strung the tents together; the party tent. The guys thought it was hilarious to fart in there and steamroll everyone. It was actually pretty funny. Gross, but funny, and we all laughed.