I was looking forward to the Pollett River Run this year. George, an experienced canoe man, with two of his friends wanted to hit the Pollett. Bee (my daughter), being 16 years old, I felt that she was old enough to experience the Pollett River Run for the first time. The last Saturday of April arrived, which for the past 25 years, is the day of the Pollett River run. The timing was good because the river was high, it was 10 degrees Celsius, and I was recovered enough from the cold I was battling to make the trip.
George left his van at the takeout on the Sanatorium road. My jeep and the blazer carried us and our gear to the put in near Elgin
We skipped the traditional breakfast at the community hall and opted for an early start. We set sail around 09:30 A.M.
George has a loud voice that carried half way down the river. He told joke after joke to people 100 yards away. Brianna and I laugh our heads off for many hours as Big George kept us entertained.
George was not only a good joke teller and canoe-men, he was good at rescuing. One guy about 50 years old in a rubber boat hit a sweeper (a tree that was leaning across the river). He found himself in fast deep water holding on to the tree not wanting to let go. He was scared. George landed the line close enough for the poor man to grab hold and pull himself to shore. He was almost crying in fear and that he lost everything. This sweeper caught many people off guard especially the rafts that could not manipulate around this outreached tree. The outreached branch was just high enough so everything on the raft got swept clean including the passengers. Coolers of beer, food, clothing could be seen floating down the river.
About 2 hours into the run, Bee took the stern. With a little teaching and practice, she quickly learned the tricks of the trade and guided us through the rapids, around rocks and bridges like a pro. We hit a side current which nearly flipping us but Brianna had her paddle firmly planted in the water and I felt the force or her counter action stable the canoe. People upstream said “ooooooo close one”. A proud moment for a father because they knew and I knew it was Bee who saved the day.
After about three or four stops along the way we came to a water falls on the river right. We beached the canoe on the left for lunch. This was a great spot for lunch for there was a big dry field sheltered from the wind. The sun without the wind felt warm and we enjoyed many laughs with these first time canoe partners. George proved himself to be a great outdoor cook as well as a canoe men, joke teller and rescuer. The salmon he cooked was incredible.
After lunch we nosed our bows into the current and did a peal out and headed down river. We stopped at a camp where many people were socializing. A canoe came down the river and didn’t make the turn. It hit a rock and dumped its cargo and passengers into the cold water. One girl had trouble getting to shore. Brianna had to go help drag her in. After looking at the injury, it appeared her leg was broken. The road was near by and a camp dweller took her to the hospital.
Brianna navigated without incident to the takeout on the Sanatorium road. At the takeout, there were about 1000 people partying and watching the mud bogging. Big trucks and 4 wheelers cracked their engines wide opened through the deep mud holes. Much of the field was muddy so there were drunken people slipping and doing face plants. Let's just say the Pollett River Run is a wild day in Albert County, N.B.
It was about 07:45 P.M. when we finally got back to Riverview. We unpacked and sorted the gear and bid farewell to our canoing partners.
Bee missed her soccer tryouts but she had a good time and was tired so she jumped in the shower and shortly thereafter headed to bed.
It was Brianna’s first voyage of type. Hopefully there will be many more and hopefully she will cherish these trips like I do.