Isabella Falls to Gertrud Falls
Wayne had warned me that it would be easy to be sucked into the falls (Kilometre 22 on the map above) as it goes through a slot in a rock wall. Just before the falls, I found a good campsite for the night.
The slot is below.
I spent the late afternoon climbing around the falls.
The next day I had to portage around the falls. Waye and Carl had done it by what they call a staircase gorge. I had climbed down it the evening before and I barely made it down and up, let along try and get canoe and gear down it.
The gorge ended in a narrow slot leading to the pool below the falls, with foam from the falls caught in it. There is a drop-off into deep water just at the edge of the boulders. Also, the width of the slot seemed be to less than the length of my canoe. Thus it was going to be complicated loading my canoe with my packs and launching it, assuming I could find a way to get my canoe and packs there in the first place.
I found an easy portage route to a cliff overlooking the above slot. I put some extra boulders at the edge of the slot to keep stuff from rolling into the depths and lowered my canoe and gear over the cliff by rope. I had to lower everything nearly 40 feet and fortunately had leather gloves to protect my hands as I let the rope slip through my hands. Below is a picture of my ropes, one for lowering the canoe and each pack in turn, and the other a safety rope tied to a boulder and tied around my waist. I could not see the canoe and each pack after it went over the edge and would give each item a good jerk when it reached the bottom to see if it was in danger of falling into the water. Only then did I dare release one end of the rope and pull the other end back up to me through the loop or strap on the canoe or pack being lowered.
I then climbed back down the staircase gorge and saw that none of my gear had fallen into the water.
I managed to load my canoe and launch it without going for another swim! The picture below is a last look at Gertrud Falls from the pool below and then I was off to paddle to the other spectacular waterfall on the Naskaupi, Maid Marion Falls.