Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mississippi River Day 32 (Fort Snelling park, 509.5 miles)

I woke up early this morning, and found that I had camped right over a rather large dead fish. Oh well.
I hit a dam 4 miles into the day, the last portage on the river. It wasn't a bad portage, I'm not sure how long it was, but most of the way was grassy. There were a lot of fishermen along the way, since it was some sort of park type area, and they gave me some funny looks.

I tried to stop in town for the library, but my computer wouldn't connect for some reason. The library seemed weird anyways, there were security guards at the entrances and exits, which seemed overkill.

Right after I left the library I hit the first lock on the river. I had to wait for a bit, since they had a large tour boat coming in, so I paddled close to the shore to wait. Bad decision. The wake of the boat was relatively minor, but since I was already on the shoreline it ended up tipping me sideways, and I almost swamped the canoe. Instead I just got splashed a bit, and reminded to pay more attention.

I got into the lock after that, and pulled off my hat to see everything better. I forgot that my sunglasses were on top of my hat, and almost lost them in the river. Fortunately they don't sink that fast, and I was able to reach in the water and grab them.

The lock dropped about 50 feet in 10 minutes, which is a strange feeling to look up the walls afterwards. I talked a bit with the lock tender, and he actually expected that I was going the whole way. I guess they see a few canoe-ers come through every year. He was also nice enough to call down to the next lock and have them wait for me, since I'm a bit slower than the motor boats.

Then next couple of miles were very urban, but then I was pleasantly surprised to find the rest of the day going through a forested valley. Some of it was state parks and some of it was college land, but it was definitely better than what I was hoping for.

I passed through Lock #1, which is the third lock on the river, late in the day. Just downstream of the lock there was more park like areas, with lots of fishermen and dog walkers. The whole area had nice sandy banks, which was a change from the rock previously. I found a nice spot to camp for the night, and called it quits.

One portage, 3 locks , and 25.5 miles in one day, not bad.

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