portfolio > gone on the river

day 1
day 1
May 30, 2022

Itasca to Coffee Pot landing.
Readings at headwaters: 0 nitrate, 0 nitrite, turbidity less than 61cm.

I put in with all of my gear at the boat landing, and crossed just the northernmost bit of Itasca to get to the headwaters. I portaged the few feet to just below the plank that people can walk to cross the river.

The first piece of the river was tiny. So small that the canoe would be stuck between the banks, if it was perpendicular. But it had a fair amount of flow, even there. I saw the first dam across the river, made by beavers. It was the first of several that I would encounter today. It was just a stream, really: smaller than most parts of the creek, at least in high water conditions.

Three basic types today: very small creeklet, and then meandering, undulating stream through wetlands. That was much of today. In the middle of the day, mostly after Vekin's Dam but below hwy 2, was a fast-moving small stream with many rocks and sweepers.

The river has changed a fair amount just over the course of today. Gotten bigger, to some extent. Less clear, due to the swamps I think.

Things I've seen today: a frog in the water swimming in the same direction as me. Aforementioned ticks and mosquitos. Leeches lined up on a stone to feast on anyone who put a toe in right there. Ducks. Two swans, the first of which I saw very close up. Red winged blackbirds balancing on cattails.Geese, loons on Itasca, a strange bird in a tree that was black and white, but not an eagle. A turtle sunning himself, who jumped into the water after I saw him. A deer, running near the water's edge in the marsh. Surprisingly large fish with many horizontal fins (catfish?) just downstream of the headwaters, and again a few time. Little tiny fish as well.

After it was mostly clear all day, a thunderstorm developed at around 5pm. The rain was light for a long time, but eventually got VERY heavy, and I had not yet arrived here at Coffee Pot. The canoe ended up with more than five gallons of water sloshing around in it, which made it hard to stay upright. Lighting, thunder, super heavy rain. It felt a bit intimidating, but not exactly scary. Pulled into the campsite a bit after 6.