Day 19: The strength of the river.
Baxter to Little Falls, MN
After a fun night last night drinking and talking with Kevin, this day needed to get moving. He made me some breakfast and toast before I set out on the river. I thanked him and told him I would send him a post card from N.O. or Clearwater. He was a great host and a good guy.
The river had a little more ‘umph’ today. The rain from last night may have contributed to that. I got moving and off for another day of adventure I went. I knew I would be hugging the boarder of Camp Ridley most of the day. Their shelling did not quit from the night before and they were still at it. May I never be on the other end of one of those shells. It was raining and I decided I was just going to hunker down and clip off some miles. I was facing a head wind right off the get go and it would remain with me all day. This is where you earn the miles. There were some points when the river was moving and I was in the right channel, I would be flying. There were other points when I felt like I was paddling in warm honey and not making much headway. My arms are lightly sore, but that was to be expected. I did however have the power to get out of situations the river was trying to force me into. I was happy about that.
I was clipping along when I came around this little corner. Just to my right was a baby fawn. I had to look for a second as it looked like a stuffed animal you would find at a Disney store. It was so new and still had its little white spots. It was a treat to see a real Bambi. I did not make contact with anyone else today until I saw a bunch of soldiers watching me as I entered a rough white water section. I muscled through it with a smile on my face. I ended up turning around a quarter mile downstream and fighting my way back up to see them. I arrived back where they were and they could not see me down the embankment. I blew my whistle and they all came over. I asked permission to come up and shoot photographs of them training, but I was turned down. I figured that would be the case, but I had to try. A Mr. Doug Schultz shot a photo of me to show his friends and then I was off.
The next 15 miles came with some work, but I was enjoying moving. I made it to Little Falls with thunder catching up behind me. As soon as I got over to portage around the dam, lightening started flying. I was tired and done for the day. I wheeled my boat up and pulled it down the street from where I got out. The rain was coming and I was looking for some shelter. I met a woman down the street and she offered me to put my boat in her fathers garage. They were just visiting their elderly father. I pushed the boat in and came in to talk with them for a few. Shortly after that, they had to leave and their dad had to get some sleep. I grabbed my camera and went out to photograph the town as the sun had yet to set. I walked from one end to the other working to capture the essence of the small town. I pulled some good shots and I also found a breakfast joint for the am. I wil photograph that too before I leave.
River situation: Currently the river is above flood stage. It is moving quickly and with some weight. It is flowing very quickly and I will assess it in the morning.
As for now, I am whipped. Time for some sleep before a wild day tomorrow. Cheers to you, my friends and people following this journey.