Wednesday, July 26, 2006 (Day 13):
My knee was a bit sore from the wild ride down the rapids yesterday and having thought it over during the night, it looked like it would be too dangerous to attempt to complete the remainder of the trip down the George with the equipment I had. This expansion was the last location where I could easily be picked up by floatplane for quite some distance. Thus I phoned Air Saguenay who were able to pick me up that afternoon.
The afternoon was extremely hot and I waited in the shade, lying stretched out on the entrance to one of the chalets. Suddenly, there was a snort right beside me. I sat up with a start and saw a hind end that seemed about the size of a Volkswagen beatle. It was a large black bear scrambling back behind the chalet, the long shaggy hair remaining fixed in my memory.
I got up and walked away from the chalet to the beach where I had all my packs waiting for the arrival of the floatplane. I looked back and could see the bear looking back at me from some distance behind the chalet. I had packed up my shotgun, so I reached into my shirt pocket and screwed the grenade to the plunger of my bear banger, which I had been carrying for the entire trip and which had been dunked each time I had dumped in my canoe.
I could no longer see the bear but could see where he could circle around behind without me being able to see him, so got out the different parts of my shotgun and loaded it. It was still extremely hot and I had no idea how much longer I would have to wait for my plane, so with shotgun in hand, stretched out again in the shade on the entrance to the chalet.
In the picture below, my gun is lying beside an impressive paw print made as the bear scrambled back behind the chalet. I had been lying with my head on the pack seen in the picture.
Note the paw prints beside the gun and the next paw prints a good 15 feet further beyond the gun as the bear scrambled away.
Finally in the late afternoon my plane showed up. To my surprise it was an Otter.
This time, my canoe fit inside the plane, next to several 45 gallon drums.
My pilot was Gilles Lefebvre.
He did not seem to be shocked by my appearance after 2 weeks in the bush.
After take-off, I was able to take the pictures of the rapid which ended my trip.