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Day: April 16, 2016

Nebraska, Ticks and Terrorist

Dawn was reddening when I looked outside. I noticed a wood tick on the screen. When I looked around I saw another one and another one. There must’ve been a half a dozen visible.


wood ticks

Wood Ticks at Dawn

I have another ultralight shelter in which there is screen going down to the ground, but the floor is open. In my opinion that’s an extremely silly design. For a few more ounces, you can prevent the wood ticks from crawling underneath as well as ants and various other crawling insects. Happily this shelter is fully enclosed or I would’ve had wood ticks inside for sure.

I believe this was the most pleasant morning since the Katy Trail. There was almost no traffic and for a long way I walked along the river, it was cool calm and beautiful.


cottonwood tree

Cottonwood and Vines

I reached the border of Nebraska. As always I’m delighted to walk into a new state, but I was sorry to see Kansas go; it was two, short, fun days.


Nebraska Sign

Nebraska Sign

Today two rooster pheasants flew up from nearby, an invasive species that most people, including myself, are happy with. A wild turkey also flew up and disappeared. Yesterday I saw one take off and it may have flown over the Missouri River after disappearing behind the trees. It’s amazing how well such a large bird can fly.

I walked along the Rulo levee which was even more like the Katy Trail.  I had the whole world to myself.

Rulo has seen better days. Whatever it had been relying on economically, presumably river trade of some kind, has changed, many houses are gone many others are falling into disrepair. I saw an open bar and asked a couple people going inside if they serve burgers, and they said they did.

I looked over the menu and in a spirit of adventure I ordered the carp basket. Undoubtedly carp can be prepared so it is good. Those things were not done to this carp. This carp tasted like you’d expect a carp to taste. Even the fries failed to meet my very low standards. Still it was good to get off my feet and get a hot meal.

Farmers have been planting like mad the last few days in Missouri and Kansas and Nebraska, using giant planters, the likes of which I never saw as a kid growing up on a Minnesota farm.

It was about 9 miles to Fall City so I decided to walk an hour at a time, in other words, 3 miles at a shot. I had just reached my mile marker where I would get my break when a sheriff’s car pulled up. The deputy introduced himself professionally.

“We got a report of a man in camo in a ditch with a gun,” he said. “Would that of been you down the road a few miles about an hour ago?”

“I was taking a break in the ditch exactly an hour ago.” I said. “I’m sure that was me they reported. Some people have active imaginations.”

“Yeah,” he said “no camo and no gun.” Unlike the Missouri Trooper, he knew this was the Lewis and Clark Trail and clearly knew there was nothing going on, but he still called in my license, apparently S.O.P. He made small talk. A good guy.

You know what though? I don’t like it.  I don’t like it when people think walking down the road is suspicious.  I don’t like having to prove that I am innocent when there’s no good reason to believe I’m guilty of something.  And I don’t like having my name run through a database, just for drill. I just don’t like it.

But for every busybody worry-wart who sees snipers in the ditch, there are 1000 nice people. At that very break spot a car pulled over just to ask if I needed anything. After the cop check somebody pulled over to ask if I wanted a ride. When I got to the edge of Fall City a lady pulled over and said there is a great camp spot, the State Park by the lake. Later she saw me at the burger place and said she’d give me a ride over there. That was awfully nice of her, but I’d already decided that I wanted to get my laundry done and to get a good shower and to kick it in a motel tonight.

I checked my route and made my best guess as to where I can resupply next, then stopped at the grocery store and bought about two days worth of stuff.  Buck aka Colter

Clark, July 12, 1804

“I went on Shore, & passed thro the plain passed Several noles to the top of a high artificial Noal from the top of this noal I had an emence, extensive & pleaseing prospect, of the Countrey around, I could See the meandering of the Little River for at least 10 miles winding thro a meadow of 15 or 20000 acres of high bottom land covered with Grass about 41/ 2 feet high, the high lands which rose irregularly, & were toped with Mounds or antent Graves which is to me a Strong evidence of this Countrey haveing been thickly Settled-.

…on the side of a clift Sand Stone 1/ 2 me. up & on Lower Side I marked my name & day of the month near an Indian Mark or Image of animals & a boat Tried Willard for Sleeping on his post, our hunters killed some Deer, Saw Elk & Buffalow.”

[note, I passed this spot but did I don’t know if Clarks name has been found. Archaeology had shown that he was right that the land had once been thickly settled.]

Trip overview and route map with position updates:

Cool Water, Rolling Kansas

It wasn’t long after starting out this warm morning that the sun was casting my long shadow  across the fields. It was so mild that I hiked all day without wearing a jacket at all. I saw my first buffalo only a couple days past where L&C had their first sighting, but unlike Lewis and Clark mine was in a high fenced field along with some magnificently horned Longhorn cattle. It looked to me like the biggest ones had horns over 6 feet wide, eminently impractical.

Today was the first really warm day. It’s been surprising how slowly the leaves have come out but today it seemed is if they grew rapidly.

Water was going to be an issue today. I started out this morning with about a half a quart. I have a water filter, but man, all those water hydrants in peoples yards along the way! I saw the perfect set up a pickup in the yard and a little black and tan wiener dog barking hysterically at me, and a water hydrant right there. I love wiener dogs and I thought that would be perfect opportunity to use the hydrant and talk to the owner and meet the wiener dog, but alas the owner was absent.

I stood and looked for a while at an unappealing looking stream and walked another half mile and here was a fertilizer distribution compound. I spotted a water hydrant, walked up and knocked on the door but no one answered. The hydrant was right next to the door, and confident that their answer, of course, would be go ahead I was bold and filled up every bottle I had with ice cold water, also drinking as much as I could hold.

My shadow on a Kansas field

My shadow on a Kansas field


This is a fairly unusual area of Kansas. There’s cosiderable topography with bluffs above the Missouri River, ravines from streams and then later on, glacial country.

Teresa, a lady from the pizza place in Atchison, happened to spot me along the road and stopped for a chat.

Another old house

Another old house

In the afternoon I passed a small RV camp were I spotted four dachshunds. There were people working around some picnic tables and I asked if I might fill up my water jugs. They were happy to help me out. The dogs were mellow, only a single bark out of the lot of them.

There was a Lewis and Clark historical site at White Cloud and a hydrant. Luckily I had gotten water elsewhere or I would’ve been extremely disappointed at its failure to produce water. It was nice to be right along the Missouri River again. Around 6 PM I found I had gone nearly 25 miles and spotting a good campsite right on the bank of the river beneath the trees I elected to camp here. My feet have started to really adapt to the road walking at last.

Missouri River Camp

Missouri River Camp thru door

Clark, July 5, 1804

“Set out verry early this morning, Swam the horse across the river…Boat turned three times once on the ____ of a Drift wood. She recved no proceiviable damage, we came to for Dinner at a Beever house, Cap Lewis’s Dog Seamon went in & drove them out…Elks are plenty about those Praries. Some Buffalow Sign.”

“6th July Friday…a verry warm day (worthy of remark that the water of this river or Some other Cause, I think that the most Probable throws out a greater preposn. of Swet than I could Suppose Could pass thro the humane body Those men that do not work at all will wet a Shirt in a Few minits & those who work, the Swet will run off in Streams)”

“July 8, 1804 8th of July Sunday…five men Sick to day with a violent Head ake &c. and Several with Boils…Saw a fire on the S. S. Supposedly the four flankers, to be theire, Sent a perogue for them, the Patroon & Bowman of the Perogue French, they returned & informed, that when they approached the fire, it was put out, which caused them to return, this report causd. us to look out Supposeing a pty. of Soux going to war, firierd the bow piec to allarm & put on their guard the men on Shore everey thing in readiness for Defence.”

July 10

“we came to & Camped for the night. at a point on the S. S. opposit a yellow Clay Clift.—our men all getting well but much fatigued, the river is on a Stand nether rise nor fall, The bottom on the S. S. is verry extensive & thick. the Hills or high land is near the river on the L. S. and but thinly timbered, back of those hills is open plains.” [note: I camped near this point]

Trip overview and route map with position updates:

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