Today was a lucky day for us all around. All week I was thinking this was going to be the first week since mid-April that I wasn't going to be able to run a river. The forecast was for serious rain with high winds which is the recipe for no trip. I woke up this morning and the hourly report said only a slight chance of rain for about a 5 hour stretch this afternoon. So we took full advantage, packing up and heading out early to get that chance to save the 25 trip streak.
Another great part about our lucky day was the tides. Timing was dead on for peak high tide. Palmer River would be our destination, and due to the huge full moon we had the other night and a tropical storm south of us, the tide was at its highest that I have seen upon our arrival and was still rising as we dropped in. With a tide this high, opportunities come up traveling on the Palmer to explore areas only accessible with extreme high tides.
Palmer is loaded with downed trees. It's a challenge at most tide levels to get past them. With water levels this high, downed trees are not a problem. Most of them you can pass right over. There are still a few though that will be a problem, and may not be passible regardless of the tide.
One other great feature of the high tide, which continued to add to our luck, was the added territory that we were able to explore. Much of the river’s edges all the way up stream are flood lands that on these high tide days, you can access it with the kayak. Areas that are normally just above the tide level were under a foot of water. This adds quite a bit too where we can go as we travel. Every flooded path we found, we took. You don’t get this chance too often. Even after exploring much of this, the tide was continuing to rise and we followed it up further and further.
There is a section of river which is where we would normally have to turn around. There's a huge downed tree that blocks the whole river. There is only one small channel cut through the branches that you can see in the picture above which will allow you to pass. The tide also needs to be at a good height to get through the path. If you are lucky enough to get by the huge downed tree, you will be able to continue up river, just as we were lucky enough to do today. Though, just as I said before, there's always another tree on the Palmer, as we traveled up river to a downed tree that did us in. We couldn’t make it over this one, not without a portage. So today, this spot which was further up river than I had gone for at least 3 years was where we would turn.
Even after turning, we continued to watch the tide rise as we headed against it going back towards the truck. Some of the trees we had to squeeze under were all the more tighter with the tides peak just around the corner. About half way back to the car the tide finally turned and stopped its flow. By this point we were moving right along, and quickly made our way back to the bridge by the put in.
It was cold, windy, cloudy, and could have rained at any moment, but our day was too lucky for that. We made it home, put the kayak away, and just as we stepped in the house, the rain came pouring down. Now that is a good day!
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