Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mississippi River Day 9 (Smiling Joe, 102.7 miles)

Last night there was a bunch of thunder and lighting, with a lot of rain and wind, so I was glad I was sheltered a bit. It was a hazy morning, but not really threatening, so I wasnt too worried about more rain. Today was a lot of lakes, which meant open water, high waves and wind right in the face. When I got to Allen Bay, there was more thunder and lighting, so I pulled off on the shore for a while to wait it out. When it started to clear up a bit I made my way to Star Island, which is an island so big it has a lake inside of it. There were several people having a beach party at the portage to get to the inner lake, so I didnt stay very long. I decided to move further along the shore to a small campsite, and wait for the wind to die down there before I cut across the rest of Cass Lake. While I was waiting a runner and his girlfriend stopped and talked for a bit, and I mentioned that I had previously hiked the Appalachian Trail. Apparently he had been thinking about trail running it at some point in the next few years, so I gave him what advice I could.

When the wind died down a bit I cut across the lake for about 2 miles of open water, which was very peaceful. On the eastern shore I was supposed to portage around a dam, but enough water was flowing over it that I just floated right over. There was no drop on the downstream side, so I wasnt too worried about it. That was the first 12.5 miles of the day, and it took from roughly 9:30 to 5:00, due to the wind and the lakes. Often with the lakes you cant take the direct path, since it would put you in open water for too long, so I probably did a few more miles today than I was supposed to.

After the dam was 7 more miles of marsh, and then a small campsite waiting for me at the end. It started raining almost as soon as I got in to camp, which was right at sunset, prime time for mosquitoes. Then came more thunder and lighting, just to top off the long day.

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