[Note: I have updated the prior two days posts.] A windy day was predicted today and tomorrow as well. I was something like 22 miles from Chamberlain. With a couple hours of paddling every morning until the wind comes up I might not make it until the third day. So close!
So this morning I got up at 3 AM and got paddling as soon as I could. Good thing I had a bright headlamp because I needed it. It had a good strong beam allowing me to make sure I was staying reasonably close to the shore. Once I saw two sets of big green eyes watching me from the shore, a doe and a fawn, I’m sure. It was eerie paddling in the dark out on the big water.
It starts getting light enough to see a bit long before sunrise. It was nice when I could begin to barely see the cliffs and trees lining the shore so I could cut across the moderately sized coves.
After three hours or so I was looking for a break but I decided to wait until I got to some trees that I could see up ahead. But when I got there they were flooded and there must’ve been 2 miles or so of shoreline flooded like that. At long last I had a chance to land and stretch my legs. I checked my position and looked at the map and saw that I only had about 10 miles left to get to Chamberlain. 10 miles! The wind was supposed to come out of the Northwest when it hit so if I could make it around the next corner and then hugged the shore for wind protection I should be able to make a dash into Chamberlan. If the wind would only hold off for another hour and a half or so.
I got back in the boat and begin to paddle steadily. For a long way beautiful cliffs lined the shore. Up ahead I could see Chamberlain. With any luck at all I was going to make it. That I felt the strong puff of wind. Here it comes! But it was coming from behind me blowing me straight towards Chamberlain.
I was 5 miles out. So should I strategize for the wind I have or for the wind I expect? I decided to run with the wind I had and if it started change, plan accordingly. There were both practical and safety issues to consider. I sailed for a bit and then picked up a paddle and dug in. I committed for the Chamberlain shore: if the wind changed to from the west and the waves got too big I could just land. I was getting tired but I couldn’t stop. I wanted to make sure I made it before that hard west wind hit.
It was a big relief to finally land at the American Creek Campground. I asked about a campsite and went to check out the tenting area. That cold hard wind was hitting there pretty good and having just escaped it I wanted to avoid it if possible. They were kind enough to let me look around for a better spot and I chose an RV spot somewhat protected by trees.
I could either do a long portage to my camp spot or paddle my kayak nearer. In the meantime however the wind had came up more. I should’ve either portaged or I put on the spray skirt for the kayak. The waves coming sideways were asking for trouble. If I swamped it would be a cold, frustrating, embarrassing swim to the nearby shore.
Luckily I made it and carried my stuff over to camp and locked my kayak to the picnic table. The wind threatened to blow away every unsecured lightweight object.
I was spent. A big wind is predicted for tomorrow as well. I’ll take a wind day. With plenty of time to get my chores done tomorrow I pretty much just ate and puttered around. I sure am glad to have barely beat the wind to Chamberlain! Colter
Lewis: September 13th Killed a bluewinged teal and a Porcupine; found it in a Cottonwood tree near the river on the Lard. Shore—the leaves of the Cottonwood were much distroyed—as were those of the Cottonwood trees in it’s neighbourhood. I therefore supposed that it fed on the folage of trees at this season, the flesh of this anamal is a pleasant and whoalsome food—the quills had not yet obtained their usual length—
Clark: Septr 14th Friday 1804 I walked on Shore with a view to find an old Vulcanio, Said to be in this neighbourhood by Mr. J. McKey of St. Charles. I walked on Shore the whole day without Seeing any appearance of the Villcanoe, in my walk I Killed a Buck Goat of this Countrey, about the hight. of the Grown Deer, its body Shorter, the Horns which is not very hard and forks 2/ 3 up one prong Short the other round & Sharp arched…he is more like the Antilope or Gazella of Africa than any other Species of Goat. Shields Killed a Hare like the mountain hare of Europe, waighing 6 1/ 4 pounds (altho pore) his head narrow, its ears large i, e, 6 Inches long & 3 Inchs wide…
15th September Satturday 1804…Camped on the S. S. opposit the mouth of a large Creek on which there is more timber than is usial on Creeks of this Size, this Creek raised 14 feet the last rains. I killed a Buck Elk & Deer, this evening is verry Cold, Great many wolves of Different Sorts howling about us. the wind is hard from the N W this evening
Trip overview and route map with position updates:
Sounds like you are getting your rhythm. Chamberlain is a good rest stop and day off. I found the next portage to be pretty easy and straightforward. I don’t remember seeing any water spigots on the top side of the dam. I know there is one at the bathrooms at the takeout ramp below the dam. Maybe check around while at Chamberlain to confirm or deny water at the Good Solder Creek ramp.
Hi Allen, a howling wind has made a day off mandatory! Thanks for the water tip. Buck