Day 51: Big swells and white caps.
I woke up around 6 am because a fisherman was launching his boat to try his luck on the river. I was not able to go back to sleep, so I figured I would get moving as I had a big day ahead of me. I walked up to a gas station and filled my bags with ice water. I had a nice talk with the woman behind the counter before launching my day. A gut down by the boat launch helped me get the boat back into the water and I was off. Paddling in the early morning hours meant calm waters, no boat traffic, and a smooth paddle. I watched the trains pass by and checked out the town from the water. I approached a train bridge that they were doing some work on. They were loading in the support pillars with heave rocks. I passed by and realized I would be having the river to myself for most of the day. I also knew I would be facing a strong headwind all day. This would be my challenge. The water acts funny when there is a head wind. Swells are kicked up and can come from different directions depending on the bends in the river.
I tightened everything up and charged forward. Some parts were not too bad, but as I hit some of the open water sections, it became a fight. The swells were 2′-3′ with white caps. They were crashing over my boat as I worked to get my timing down so I could avoid that from happening. It was exhausting as I worked my way towards the Clinton Lock and Dam. I arrived and called ahead as I was crossing some of the worst parts. I saw an approaching barge and wanted to get and a time estimate. They told me to approach the long rock pike and to hold tight. I now know that hold tight translates to about 2 hours. I pulled up on the rick pile and got out. I was tired from the previous 30 miles of hard paddling and wanted a break. I ate some granola and waited. Once I was able to get through, I knew I would be able to get food in Clinton. I finally was able to lock through and I was off to Clinton.
I arrived at the marina, docked, and headed up to get some food. I sat at the bar and ordered a big burger. I realized my eyes were more hungry and I was looking at the menu with my old eyes. Those old eyes were when I weighted 265 and ate a lot. My stomach has gotten smaller along with my shape on this adventure. I ate the whole thing, but also committed to not doing that any more. I like this being trimmer and fitter. It feels great. I got back in my boat and had some more miles before getting to Princeton. I began to paddle and realized my arms were spent. I was exhausted from a hard day of paddling. I made it to a town called Camanche. I did not have much left in me. I made it to one of the first houses on the river. I docked and went up to ask if I could camp on their front lawn. They agreed and I set up camp. It was still early, but I was beat. I called a few friends and my mom before passing out. t was a very long day. My arms were shot and my fingers were very sore from gripping the paddles through the waves. I was glad this day was over, but still happy to be on this adventure.