It’s the last day of the expedition on the Mistassini River. A relatively short day awaits us. We return this Saturday evening to the base camp of Mahikan Park with the facilities for modern life.

This morning, the mist completely covers the river; when the participants get up, only a few shreds of it remain. It’s the first morning that everyone is still in their tents and many had to be awakened to the sound of Catherine and Marie-Michelle’s Ukuleles.

Pancakes, bagels, toasts are on the campfire, parts of oranges and apples for breakfast. No one looks up on this.

All canoes are tied together on the water at the end of the trail. We therefore make a human chain to fill them up.

The morning goes by without anything special, those who are interested observe the boreal forest and the waxwings.

At lunchtime, Radio-Canada is here to make a media report on the expedition and the Foundation. Jeanne, Maxime, and Samyra, as well as Marie-Michelle and Marie-Ève represent the group well. The journalist and the photographer watch us leave. I don’t know if it’s the camera effect, but everyone does it like a pro.

Shortly after, we arrive at another sandy beach. Since the current is quite strong, those who get in the water keep their PFDs on and float to the other end of the island and start again.

There are only a few kilometres left before our exit point. We take full advantage of it. Quickly we hear about the showers that will be taken and the beds that will be welcome.

There are only a few kilometres left before our exit point. We take full advantage of it. Quickly we start hearing about the showers that will be taken and the beds that will be welcomed.

The exit point is quite steep and rocky. At Catherine and Marie-Michelle’s request, everyone gives a helping hand. Some participants even carry a canoe up the slope on their own.

(Another concert of wolves in Mahikan Park: they seem sad tonight, unless they only reflect what we all feel at the end of the expedition).

Another bus ride, to our base camp with masks and Purell. Along the way, unexpectedly, in one of the two vans, we heard the end of the Radio-Canada report.

A surprise awaits those who thought they would jump in the shower when they arrived. As the tents were folded still wet this morning, they must be hung up to dry, the same for the sleeping bags to evacuate the humidity.

Afterwards, it’s finally the shower time, which does the greatest good. It’s funny how we fully appreciate what we generally take for granted, such as hot water and a toilet after a stay in the woods.

After another fabulous supper that ends with brownies and ice cream and even a double portion for those who still have room, as our two facilitators announce the program for tomorrow.

They point out that this is the last day on the water and that we have the Ouasiemsca River on the program and an introduction to whitewater canoeing techniques. They remind us of the risks inherent in the activity and insist on the absolute necessity of respecting the guidelines and instructions of the guides.

And so tomorrow, a river in three sections: a first where we will encounter some rapids, a second whose navigation will be more like that of a lake, and the third where we will have to navigate class 1 and 2 rapids and the end, a class 3 rapid.

– Louis-Étienne Prévost, Blogger and Photographer for the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation