Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mississippi River Day 29 (St Cloud, 428 miles)

Today started off a bit windy, but this time the wind was a tailwind.

I hit the first dam at mile 10, which called for a 300 yard portage. This portage was nicer than the last, it was relatively flat, and grassy. The entire portage ran next to a city street, with a bike lane. I thought it was kind of interesting that there was the car lane, then a bike lane, and then a canoe lane. Even if the canoe lane was just the grass on the side of the road.

That portage only took about 45 minutes, as compared with the several hours for the same length yesterday.

Then, 6 miles later I had another dam to portage, again 300 yards. This one wasn't as nice. It was still mostly grassy, and mostly level. Some of it was uphill, but wasn't anywhere near as steep as at the Blanchard dam. It still seemed really long, especially as the second portage of the day, but I knew that once I got back in the water I was mostly done for the day. I think this one took about an hour or more, but I didn't pay careful attention, since I was getting closer to being done. I think there is only one more dam to portage around, and then they are all locks, so no more required portages for the rest of the trip.

Once I got back in the water I saw a guy on the opposite shore waving both arms at me. That must be Peter, my couchsurfing host. He brought a bike lock for the canoe, and I threw all my gear in the back of his pickup, and we took off to his apartment. He was a canoe-er himself, so he had some idea of what I needed. He offered laundry and shower right away, and then started making dinner. We discussed various adventures and lifestyles, given my current situation and his own. He's currently in grad school for Ecology, and has spent some significant time as a forest fire fighter, which is a cool gig. An interesting start to couchsurfing, definitely better than the previous two failed attempts.

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