[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: