No worries, it was all a learning experience. I think if we go again we will just base camp somewhere and relax like many do. In any case, we had a great time and really came to appreciate the beauty of the area, in spite of our difficulties. We're all home safe and we met the challenges that arose for us, and that's what makes a good trip in my eyes!
I'm glad you were able to get help for your friend and that he is okay. It sounds like you all handled it well and made good decisions. Great teamwork. You did a tough route and difficult portages. I hope that you attempt it again. If the friend that needed assistance goes again, which I hope he does, rent a PLB, Spot, InReach, Satellite phone, or similar device from an outfitter or purchase one. With an InReach or a phone you may be able to get instructions to stabilize him better or even treat the problem and continue on at a leisurely pace. With two-way communication a situation like this may not require urgent evacuation. Don't forget to take the names, numbers and email addresses of the outfitter that you use (and possibly others in the area) in case you need emergency assistance.
WOW! Great team work! You guys covered a lot of ground. If I ever have a medical situation I hope I can think clear or have someone think that clear. We happened to be fishing that day on Long Island Creek, we wondered what was going on, when we saw the two canoes tied together. Glad you were able to get your friend out and all of you were safe.
That's a scary situation to be in. Having slightly elevated glucose and ketones and exercising strenuously may have contributed to his condition. For scouts everyone had to have a check-up and medical clearance before a wilderness trip. 2 of our leaders couldn't get clearance, including 1 who passed away from a cardiac arrest 2 weeks after we got back. I've always wondered what we would have done if he'd been on the trip. Never a bad idea to have a physical shortly before going and ask dr for any emergency medications and testing supplies that might be a good idea to take along for your particular issues and have detailed treatment guidelines with early warning signs that at least one other person is aware of. I usually also have aspirin for chest pain, a mild muscle relaxant in case of sprains , an antibiotic and a general first aid booklet that gives advice on how to handle various injuries or problems. Some dr's will give these prophylactically if they know you are going to be in an area with a chance of travelers diarrhea or other problems. Be sure you know in advance if anyone has an allergy to any meds you might be taking along. An Epipen is a good idea too if someone has a lot of allergies.
"Geography is just physics slowed down, with a couple of trees stuck in it." Terry Pratchett