Day 03: Launch point
The boat arrived to Diamond Point on Lake Bemidji. I arrived to see the staff unpacking it. I was happy. I worked with them as I reassembled the rudder and put the needed gear in it. I took out some of the food to lighten the load. I would end up storing it at Mark’s place. I got everything situated and then I was off. The boat was on a trailer as Ann drove the van. We stopped by Subway to grab a sandwich before heading to Lake Itasca. Upon arrival, we stopped to get a quick picture. I looked down and found $20. I picked it up and two ticks decided to jump on me then too. After the pic and removal of the ticks, we went to Itasca Sports. I asked to sleep near the dock so I could be close to my gear. They turned me down. I headed off to get a campsite. $22. Not the cheapest campsite, but with my new found $20, it came out to $2. I liked that. I was dropped off with my boat to a camp site that is 50 feet from the lake. I will launch from here in the am.
It was lightly raining and there were not too many people around. I was lying on my camping pad when I heard a RV pull up to the next camp site. A guy said, “There is someone from Colorado”. I smiled and thought, “Damn right”. I put up my Colorado flag on my boat before getting out of the rain. 🙂 I came out and introduced myself. They were a retired couple (Nancy and Jon) and their nephew (Joe). They invited me in and offered me grapes, sausage, cheese, and crackers. We talked for a bit about our adventures. Nancy had traveled well in her day and she still had that free spirited nature in her, regardless if she was in a RV or not. I wanted to get to the gift shop before they closed but I have no real wheels. She offered to take her sons car, who was studying at the lake, and bring me to the gift shop. We got there and it was closed. She said I should run over to the headwaters which are about 800 feet down a path. I walked and walked over a bridge. That bridge was over the Mississippi River!!!!! I got to the headwaters and began to come overjoyed with emotion. This is one of the first times I had been able to live a dream that I have had for so long…and I was here. I walked over a log bridge and back. Nancy had joined me and began taking pictures for me. I walked through the river to the other side. It is something I will never forget and look back at it when I get to New Orleans.
I walked along the path next to the river, simply absorbing what my eyes were taking in. I was extremely, happy, proud, emotional, and excited. My inner 12 year old was out and playing. It was then I decided I would sleep in and leave time to get to the gift shops in the morning. I have about a 2 mile paddle to get there. I am only here once. I am going to get some memory keepers while I am here. I made it back where the rest of the crew was making dinner. They invited me in to a wild rice soup, some cut broccoli and some rich choclate brownies. They were good. Everything was good. I went back to my boat afterwards and did some more organizing. It is all set for the paddle tomorrow. I said good night and went down to try to captre the sunset. I did get it. I closed up all my hatches and now I am in my tent/home. The air is cool and the clouds are moving out. I can see the sliver of the moon through my screen door and the birds are making calls from both sides of the lake.
I am not shortsighted and know how fortunate I am to be able to have this adventure. I will blog about the richness that the Mississippi River has to offer. I will not take a moment for granted and do my best to capture the beauty around me, help other as I can, and live a great adventure to tell great stories. Time to call it a great night as the new day and the Mighty Mississippi awaits me tomorrow.