Day 05: Wild ride, trees, and wetlands
After a tiresome first day, I slept in a bit (830). I made some oatmeal and cleaned up camp. I am looking forward to the opportunities this summer to get cold drinks and food. I set off to 1 mile of rapids right out of the gate. They were not too bad, but enought to make sure you are awake. After they calmed down, I was heading into some grasslands with some overgrown tree areas. I came to a point where I could go left or right. I chose left and adventure. That was the wrong direction. After being in too deep, I hit trees. Not little trees, but one on top of the other trees. I managed to slide through the first few, then I was stuck. I had no choice but to figure out how to get through them. I jumped out of the boat and began clearing them enough to get my boat through. My legs were getting thrashed on the branches below me. I was stomach deep and wondering if this was a real bad decision. I forged through as I could hear the water to my right. Between the water and I, there was a thick line of trees and a wide stretch of marshy grass. I pulled the boat over, under, and through the trees. I was getting tired quickly. I got to a point where I could not pull the boat forward any more. I walked through the marsh and saw that there was a way out. I had to lift and pull the boat throught the grass, but I was back on the main channel.
Once I got moving, it was a quiet day. Just the sounds of mother nature and simple quietness to keep me company. This second day would include some awesome first. I saw a couple of Osprey flying in the distance. I kept paddling and then I looked up. I saw my first bald eagle. It was only for a second before it flew off over a ridge, but it was so impressive. I was happy. I stopped for lunch around 1:00. I think I will need to eat an earlier lunch in the future. It is a fun balance of moving and diet. I will have it down soon. After lunch, I was moving along at a good pace. I knew after the 4 mile stretch of grasslands, I would be hitting more rapids through a fallen pine forest of trees. My previous day skills of rapids made today much easier controling the boat. I made it through with no problems. I moved along and made it past the next campsite. My water bag was not sealed tight and I lost a lot of fresh water. That would make the day interesting. I clipped along through a golden greaaland that reminded my of Kansas wheat fields and the piairie of Montana. As the sun was getting low, I began to move to get to the next campsite. I stopped at what I thought was it and sat there without fresh water. I read there was water up on the ridge, so I walked with my Nalagene and bags for water. After a mile up the road, I realized that there was no water. I was not liking this. As I came back to my boat, I looked off to the distance and could see a bald eagle perched on a tree about 150 yards from me. I pulled out the telephoto and got a few shots. They are not the greatest, but still cool to me. I forged ahead about another mile to find the spot I am at now. It is up on a hill top with no real docking area. I pulled up to the shore and jumped out. I pulled out my screw leash and anchored it down. I figure since I had not see anyone on the river since I left, I was not going to now. I pulled my gear and moved up to the shelter that was at the top of the hill. I counted a few ticks and 8 leChes that had dug in while i saw standing in the water getting my gear. I hate leaches. I pulled them off and my legs were bloody. Ugggg.
I did not feel like setting up the tent since I had to get all the gear up the hill, so I opted for the hammock. I started boiling some river water and set up the hammock with the bug net. I watched the sunset while eating dinner. I realized I have one very kick ass camping spot. I closed up all the bags darted for the hammock. The mosquito army found my location.
I settled in and began to listen. First was the swarm of mosquitos around me all wanting to get me. Then the bird of the night began talking. Next, I could hear these swift wing flaps zooming in and out. Bats. Now, I am listen to a thousand frogs again. This simply does not get old.
I looked at the map before bed. 25 long and adventurism miles today. I have about 23 to get to Mark’s tomorrow. I plan on an earlier start and plan in making it.
Under a nearly half full moonand a few stars coming out, I am going to call it a night and a very fun/long/exciting/relaxing day.
Never. Miss. A. Moment.