It was going to be a windy day in Chamberlain, and for most of the day it was.
I walked into town for breakfast and then headed over to the post office to pick up my new glasses.
“You should have a general delivery package for Bruce Nelson,” I said.
“I don’t think so, let me look,” the lady replied. She looked for it unsuccessfully.
I’d gotten a delivery confirmation so I stepped to the side to look it up. It had shipped UPS. UPS? General Delivery UPS? I walked to the UPS store but they don’t hold packages. After a lot of questions and phone calls I found out the package was in Mitchell, South Dakota and I could simply pick it up there, an hour drive away, or they could deliver it in Chamberlain sometime tomorrow, when I planned to be gone.
Such fiascoes are common when attempting to get a package delivered on an adventure like this. To be assured of delivery you should know the shipper and they need to know how to ship the package, and the receiver should “know the drill” as well. In famous trail towns like Damascus, Virginia or Cuba, New Mexico or Mammoth Lakes, California, the post offices and many businesses are accustomed to receiving General Delivery.
I messaged Norman Miller of the Missouri River Paddlers and he contacted Patrick Wellner in Pierre, and Patrick messaged me and said that he would be happy to receive my package for me.
I did laundry. No need to dry because hanging things in the wind dried them in no time. I also bought groceries and some miscellaneous other small supplies.
The wind blew hard all morning and throughout the afternoon. It wasn’t a day to sit at a picnic table and carefully sort through all of my gear. Any lightweight object had to be secured or it would immediately blow away. It was difficult to zip my tent door because of the wind pressure. Overall not a very relaxing day
It was predicted to be very windy tomorrow as well, near sunset today the wind was predicted to subside. At about 7 PM the wind started decreasing and I started packing. Just about sunset the wind had died away nicely and I was packed up and ready to go.
I wish I had a photo as I paddled away from the campground against the sunset sky. I paddled for a point of land several miles away. A bright 1/3 moon and stars provided some light as it grew dark.
I could see the shore well enough to navigate. When I passed the point it grew very quiet. When I listened I could hear frogs, my paddle, and an occasional distant barking dog.
There was a stretch of river with steep bank and my kayak began to occasionally clunk into floating sticks. I turned on my headlamp. There were some shallow spots and bushes sticking out into the river and sticks sticking up from the riverbottom. There was fog in the beam of my headlamp. Several times I spotted large raccoons hunting along the riverbank. An animal emerged out of the water maybe 15 feet from my boat and swam towards me for a bit before diving. It must’ve been a muskrat but it looked too shaggy and too big to be a muskrat, it look like a nutria, but unless it was an escapee I doubt there’s any living around here.
It was getting really chilly out and approaching midnight. I’d done nearly 10 miles. It was time to get off the river.
When I spotted a landing place I stopped to explore. Likely tomorrow I would be hunkered in this camp all day escaping the wind. Luckily I found a bluff just about the height of my tent, downwind of some trees, a very good spot indeed for a windy day.
It was cold and damp and dark and I was tired and anxious to get camp built as soon as possible.
My tent set up, I pulled the kayak out of the water and hid it amongst some bushes, tying it off just for insurance. I crawled into my warm sleeping bag just after 1230. Colter
Lewis: Sunday September 16th 1804…we concluded to ly by at this place the ballance of this day and the next, in order to dry our baggage which was wet by the heavy showers of rain which had fallen within the last three days, and also to lighten the boat by transfering a part of her lading to the red perogue, which we now determined to take on with us to our winter residence wherever that might be…vast herds of Buffaloe deer Elk and Antilopes were seen feeding in every direction as far as the eye of the observer could reach.
Lewis: Monday September 17th 1804…I do not think I exagerate when I estimate the number of Buffaloe which could be compreed at one view to amount to 3000…we found the Antelope extreemly shye and watchfull…I had this day an opportunity of witnessing the agility and superior fleetness of this anamal which was to me really astonishing…I beheld the rapidity of their flight along the ridge before me it appeared reather the rappid flight of birds than the motion of quadrupeds.
Clark: 17th of Septr…Colter Killed a Goat, & a Curious kind of Deer, a Darker grey than Common the hair longer & finer, the ears verry large & long a Small resepitical under its eye its tail round and white to near the end which is black & like a Cow in every other respect like a Deer, except it runs like a goat.
Clark: September 18th Tuesday 1804…the hunters Killed 10 Deer to day and a Prarie wolf, had it all jurked & Skins Stretchd after Camping I walked on Shore Saw Goats, Elk, Buffalow, Black tail Deer, & the Common Deer, I Killed a Prarie Wollf, about the Size of a gray fox bushey tail head & ear like a wolf, Some fur Burrows in the ground and barks like a Small Dog.
Trip overview and route map with position updates: