A massive fan of debris spreads outwards from the mouth of Dodo Canyon, leading towards the Carcajou River, and this obstacle took us almost three wobbly hours to traverse. By the time we were done, neither of us wanted to see another boulder field again. Nearing the Carcajou, our last major crossing, we found a mess of wet mud, sticks and leaves plastered through trees and across boulders. The river had been flooding, and only receded recently. Arriving on the shore, we carefully sealed the contents of our packs in garbage bags, and began to trudge through riverside muck, looking for a place to ford the flow. There was no obvious way across the wide and deep river. The water was silty, making it difficult to judge its depth, and several times we waded out into calm pools only to turn around after a few steps, the water inching up past our armpits. Upstream we found shallower braids, but the current ripped past frighteningly quickly.
It is extraordinarily difficult to wade through fast moving water that is any deeper than ones waist. Up to this point, balance is the primary issue, but beyond three compounding factors arise that make maintaining footing nearly impossible. Firstly, as more of the body is submerged, there is an increase in the buoyant force acting on it, making footsteps lighter. As well, instead of pressing against just the legs, the oncoming water hits a far greater surface area from the waist up. And the force this water exerts acts on a higher point. All of these factors will contrive to topple even the most sure-footed hikers rushing water any deeper than their crotch.
So Ferg and I stuck to the shallows, eventually connecting a route through a maze of gravel bars and beached logs that took us almost to the far side. Only a single, swiftly flowing channel separated us from the opposite shoreline. Unfortunately, that water appeared to be more than waist deep, but we had run out of options. Unclipping our chest and waist straps, we prepared to ditch the packs and swim if suddenly swept away. With each step the water rose higher. We leaned forward onto our poles, but the current was strong, and our feet skittered backwards along the rocky bottom. Only the weight of packs kept us from floating away. Fighting to stay upright, we inched our way sideways. The shore grew closer, but our hold on balance was tenuous at best. With a final splashing scramble I launched myself towards the muddy bank and crawled ashore. Ferg, a few inches shorter than me, was having problems. Dropping my pack, I leaned far out and offered an extended ski pole. Seconds later he was across. Had the water been only an