June 9, Day 78, Mile 1500

There was a cluster of earth lodgesand a teepee as I neared Four Bears. I rounded a point, fighting against a surprise headwind, when I arrived at a campground. I needed drinking water so I landed the kayak and walked into the campground with a couple of big water canteens. I had to walk a surprising distance before I found an operating water hydrant.  

When I got near the bridge three young fisherman had just come down to the river. 

“How far off the river is the convenience store?” I asked. 

“Well, you’d have to…”

“The Marina store is right there,” his buddy broke in. 


I landed the kayak by a big yacht, apparently owned by the casino, and walked into the marina. There wasn’t much there but I didn’t need much. I wish I had gotten drinking water here, but I didn’t know. I bought a cup of hot coffee, a breakfast sandwich which I heated up in the microwave, and an ice cream bar. It was a treat all the way around. 

The river turned, and the wind changed several times during the day as well. My headwind turned into a side wind with rather annoying waves to deal with, but then a nice tailwind developed. 

If you want to ruin a nice tailwind pull out a sail and it will immediately stop blowing or turn. At least that’s the theory I’ve been developing, but today I had a good wind last for about 3 miles, not terribly far but I’ll take three free miles any day of paddling. My GPS said I was going between 2-6 miles an hour. Too bad the 6 miles an hour was all too brief or I could’ve made some major miles today. 

There were beautiful high bluffs today, some of them looking like waves. I saw many enormous petrified stumps, some of them upside down, clearly showing their root structure. 

Lake Sakakawea Bluffs

I didn’t push hard today. It was too far to make it to Tobacco Gardens and I wanted to have some miles to paddle tomorrow. I shot for a solid 20 miles and I think I did something like 23. 

This is a good camp spot, tucked in amongst some ash trees and on the grass. The wind came up pretty good after I was all set up, so that was good timing.   

It sure is good to get a meal and to crawl into the tent and to lie down on a comfortable air mattress with a good book and listen to the waves crashing. Colter

Lewis: Monday April 15th 1805. Set out at an early hour this morning. I walked on shore, and Capt. Clark continued with the party it being an invariable rule with us not to be both absent from our vessels at the same time… I saw the remains of several camps of the Assinniboins; near one of which, in a small ravene, there was a park which they had formed of timber and brush, for the purpose of taking the Cabrie or Antelope. it was constructed in the following manner. a strong pound was first made of timbers, on one side of which there was a small apparture, sufficiently large to admit an Antelope; from each side of this apparture, a curtain was extended to a considerable distance, widening as they receded from the pound.—

Trip overview and route map with position updates: