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Day: June 19, 2016

Wind Portage

June 19, Day 88

Looking at the map I noticed my camp was at nearly the same spot as the Lewis and Clark camp of May 2, 1805.

The mud near my kayak was pockmarked by the big hail that fell last night. It was fortunate that things went so well with no damage and I stayed so dry.

My early start to beat the wind was only marginally successful. A light wind turned to a strong headwind. I was somewhat baffled to find I was fighting a headwind paddling northeast and then on the other side of the bend when I was paddling southwest. Presumably the bluffs and river funnel the wind to some degree, and of course the wind often changes direction.


The wind was strong enough that in places I was barely making any progress. I fought to make it to a narrow peninsula where I would have the option of doing a portage. Once I had arrived I carried a bunch of gear up to the shade of a big cottonwood to take a break and plan. I set out my solar charger and sewed a small duct tape patch onto the knee of my pants using a needle and dental floss. I cooked an early lunch of oatmeal as well.

Like last night, I set out a container of 3 quarts of river water so I could settle out the sediment and then treat the clear water with Aqua Mira.

I scouted two routes across the peninsula and found a good one along the grassy edge of the field. I was able to find a route up the fairly steep bank and use my kayak cart to pull my boat up on top. It was relatively easy to pull my kayak through the short grass along the edge of the field and down to the other side to what is now a dry river channel. Although it was 200 more yards over to the water it was hard packed sand and mud making for an easy tow. The portage was fairly easy and saved me about 3 1/2 river miles.

The wind was still howling so for a while I relaxed in the willows and read. It was hard to believe there weren’t any mosquitoes. After an hour or so I set up my tent in the shade of a tree to escape stray ants. It was surprisingly chilly in the tent with the howling wind and the shade so I moved the tent over to a nice sunny flat spot in the willows.

I did a bit of reorganizing and minor repairs. The wind calmed down considerably at about 7:30 PM but I decided to call it a day and get a good sleep and an early start. Colter

Lewis: Thursday May 2ed 1805 The wind continued violent all night nor did it abate much of it’s violence this morning, when at daylight it was attended with snow which continued to fall untill about 10 A.M. being about one inch deep, it formed a singular contrast with the vegitation which was considerably advanced… this evening we also shot three beaver along the shore; these anamals in consequence of not being hunted are extreemly gentle, where they are hunted they never leave their lodges in the day, the flesh of the beaver is esteemed a delecacy among us; I think the tale a most delicious morsal, when boiled it resembles in flavor the fresh tongues and sounds of the codfish, usually sufficiently large to afford a plentifull meal for two men.

Trip overview and route map with position updates:

Halfway, Hail, and the Hammer of Thor

June 18, Day 87, Mile 1668

I am halfway to the Pacific Ocean, having passed 1,661 miles today. It is a big landmark on this journey. I’ve now paddled up the Missouri River farther than I’ve backpacked. 

I got a bit of a late start yesterday, (meaning I left about 7:15 AM) and I needed the extra rest. Doing 20 miles upstream is just about the max given the recovery time I need to do it again the next day. 

It was a sunny morning and the rooster pheasants were growing continuously, about once every three seconds by my count. 

There was enough wind to be a significant issue today. With all the bends in the river, sometimes the wind was a big hindrance and sometimes it was actually a help. Overall it made the paddling much tougher however. 

There were many fuzzy baby wood ducks paddling along the riverbank with their mothers. The most amusing encounter is when a large group of them went scrambling up a steep sandy riverbank, when I passed them they went running back down to jump in the water and most of them lost their footing and went rolling down the bluff into the water, alternating gray and yellow fluff as they tumbled.

At about 6 PM I was tuckered out and looked for a camp spot but couldn’t find anything serviceable until 7 PM. As I begin unloading the boat I noticed a storm approaching. I picked a spot partially protected by tall grass and sparse willows. 

About 10 PM the rumble of thunder started and as it began to get dark there was a steady flicker of lightning. Rain began pattering and the wind began to blow. It started to rain and blow harder and harder. When it became violent I knew that something was going to give. I sat up and held the tent pole to ease the strain on the stakes. A piece of hail bounced off the fly, followed by another and another with increasing frequency, marble sized hail. The hail grew in size until it seems as if it would start pounding through my tent fly. I had thought about what I would do if I got in really big hail and I put that plan into action by getting underneath my sleeping pad. When I peaked out and looked in the flashes of lightning I didn’t see any holes in my shelter. I wondered how the fuzzy wood duck  chicks had fared. Hopefully they were under some cover.  

Hail Stone

The wind started to let up and the hail stopped. The rain slowed down to a breeze. I went outside in my underwear to assess damages. The tent was fine with one loose stake. My kayak was also OK. It was one of the most violent storms I have been in in a tent, luckily it only lasted a few minutes and I was none the worse for wear. In this mild weather the worst that would’ve happened is I would’ve been miserably wet. Colter

Lewis: May 1st 1805. Set out this morning at an early, the wind being favourable we used our sales which carried us on at a good pace untill about 12 OCk. when the wind became so high that the small canoes were unable to proceed one of them which seperated from us just befor the wind became so violent, is now lying on the opposite side of the river, being unable to rejoin us in consequence of the waves, which during those gusts run several feet high. we came too on the Lard. shore in a handsome bottom well stocked with cottonwood timber; here the wind compelled us to spend the ballance of the day. we sent out some hunters who killed a buffaloe, an Elk, a goat and two beaver. game is now abundant. the country appears much more pleasant and fertile…

Trip overview and route map with position updates:

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