The KO Rebuttal – Ian Urquhart Take Note

While camped, Craig and I decided to run a difficult s-turn rapid below our site for practise purposes. We set up a safety canoe downstream and of course cameras were at the ready to see the KO canoe in action – a photo-op of sorts. That’s why Mike Sainsbury was able to snap the photos of Craig and me swamping an empty canoe. Nothing compared to what happened to the Sainsbury/Urquhart disaster for which, conveniently, there are no photos.

Tim Kotcheff

On closer scrutiny of Ian’s entertaining narrative (and Michael’s timely photos), I note some serious omissions. On one particularly difficult span of rapids which most of us decided to portage, Mike and Ian opted to run the top section but line their canoe down the lower part. During this procedure, a stiff current caught the stern, ripped the ropes from their hands and sent the fully loaded canoe careening helplessly down the rapids. It disappeared from sight. We managed to retrieve packs, wanigan, and other gear in downstream eddies.

The canoe was spotted further downstream and pulled to shore. It was damaged in several spots including the centre keel which developed a leak – still canoeable but pretty well a write off. The casualty list included a paddle, water damaged food, wet clothing, a damaged camera lens – and oh…some bruised egos.

To bypass the Snare River Gorge, we had to negotiate a myriad of small lakes and portages with no marked trails. Getting through the dense brush and over the lakes with canoes and equipment was extremely tricky and easy to lose your way. This is what happened to Mike and Ian. They heard our shouting and whistling and we fired off a couple of rounds from our pistol to provide a direction for their return. Bruised egos? Maybe.

This incident had a positive effect. We resolved to stick together henceforth and blaze our trails to avoid a repetition. Egos, amity and peace were restored once again.

Craig Oliver

On the Snare River – July 1977

Group Snare

L-R: Tim Kotcheff, Ian Urquhart, Craig Oliver, Peter Stollery, Michael Sainsbury, Jean Pelletier (seated)

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