7 – 2 JOURNAL
MAY 28 SATURDAY DAY 34 ON THE WATER – I was in a good spot last night. Not many mosquitos and off far enough and tucked back in behind a bluff. No wind all night long. I had a two white tail come right by my tent I don’t think they saw it until they were right next to it, it was almost dark.
There are two things now I have started doing consistently before calling it a day. One is to make sure the tent is in a spot that no matter where the storm comes from I am protected. The other one is I pull the kayak up off the bank and secure it with the ropes on each end. Then I pack it with everything but the tent, cot, pad and sleeping bag and a few miscellaneous. This has done two positive things for me. I sleep better because I am not worried about the kayak or the tent and I take considerably less time to get underway in the morning.
I had the best day I have had today. The lake was calm as I left around 6:30. The breeze came up blowing down river for the 1st time in a very long time. I got to utilize the umbrella for the first time and went a lot of miles. I did today what it has been taking me 2 to 3 days to do. It just means if the weather will hold for 4/5 more days I am in the current and that is a very good thing.
Lots of boats and fisherman today. Of course it is Memorial day weekend so no surprises there.
I had 2, two year old bald eagles follow me for quite some time this morning. I whistled to them and they were curious. They would watch me as I went by, then fly ahead of me, wait for me and listen for me to whistle to them, then they would do it again. It was a lot of fun to watch them watch me.
MAY 29 SUNDAY DAY 35 ON THE WATER – What another great day I have had. A very long one I spent 12 hours in the kayak. Way too long and made no sense what so ever. As anyone who knows me I don’t like being idle. The time on the bank is difficult for me. I have read numerous books and will read more. It doesn’t take long to keep the journal updated. There are other things I could do on the notebook but the battery would run down then I couldn’t keep the journal updated.
The weather cooperated all day. For the 1st 3 hours this morning the breeze blew down river again and I got to utilize the umbrella again. People are astounded and let me know. Seems very natural to me. Then the breeze quit and had to start paddling. As I have mentioned getting to Picktown is a big deal. I made it to within 1 mile and stopped at a good spot. Even if I got there it would be a zoo at the boat dock and campground. Tons of people on the water today with boats of all kinds. And I would never find anybody to take me around the dam this time of day. So I will get there probably about 9 get unloaded and ready and be patient.
It is about 120 miles to Sioux City which also like I have mentioned is where the real current and channel start. I am beginning to think I just could hit St Louis end of 3rd week of June. Which would mean I am down the Mississippi River a good 10 days before 4th of July.
The mosquitos got me good last night while I was setting the tent up. I also have noticed poison ivy on both my feet and lower legs. There were 2 animals or birds last night making a sound I have never heard. I shall never forget the distinct sound and wish I would have had the proper boots, clothes and light and went out to see if I could spot whatever it was.
I will certainly miss the song birds. I will also miss the beauty of the plains and the immense greenery of this part of the county. It is not hard to see why the Plains Indians thrived and prospered for as long as they did.
MAY 30 MONDAY DAY 36 ON THE WATER – I was up early again in spite of the very long day yesterday. What a night again. After having yogurt and granola once again off dinner, securing both the tent and kayak I crawled in the tent. I did not put the cot up. I was just too tired. That was about 9. At 10 the thunderstorm hit and it was another good one. Lasted a good 2 hours then I was able to get to sleep.
I was on the water by 7:30 and I have made it to the boat dock here at Pickstown which is a very big deal for this trip. I immediately chatted a couple of young kids up that were just going out fishing in a flat bottom boat and when they return at 2 they are going to take me around, we will unload, then they are going to take me back up to Abby’s the local grocery store and I will walk back the mile or so. Once again could that be any better?
I also had a very nice couple talk to me and they made me their guest of the Fort Randall Boat Club and I went over and shaved and took a shower, the 3rd one of the entire trip. A clean set of clothes which is the 3rd time also of the trip has made me a new man. In every sense of the set of circumstances…. I am almost afraid to mention just how good I feel.
I chaired a meeting before I left and my topic was “Happy, Joyous and Free”. I told the guys that my ambition and mission in life from now on was to define it, understand it, live it and experience it and I believe this trip is doing that for me. I have said it many times before. When I go for my walk and I feel like I am walking on air I know I am as close to being centered, grounded and connected as possible. At times on the water I feel like I am paddling in the air, it just gives me a sense of floating, forward in life. And I have to mention it again, the over whelming joy I am getting out of the birds singing has completely awed me. It is almost like I never really heard them before.
The boys were right on time. Didn’t take 15 minutes. Once unloaded off to the side of the boat ramp I grabbed my boots and socks and they took me back up to the little store. It was slim pickings with it being Memorial Day. I had a quick hamburger that cost $13 and was about the size of a silver dollar. Then got a few bottles of water and 2 bags of ice. The owner heard me mentioning I had to walk back and he gave me a ride. He told me in the last 2 weeks they have had 4 1/2 inches of rain which is very unusual and the wind has also been unusual. No wonder I have had challenges.
Looking down river just below Ft. Randall Dam.
I am waiting to set my tent up here up on the park grass, letting everyone leave. I don’t know if they allow camping here or not, but I am not going anywhere else. It has been good to relax today. I can’t wait to get to Yankton which will be end of Wednesday.
This picture is of the kayak sitting next to the boat dock for in the morning.