portfolio > gone on the river

day 3
day 3
June 01, 2022

Measurements at Fox Trap campsite, turbidity >61cm. Nitrate 0, nitrite 0 just below confluence with Hennepin Creek.

I'm writing this from downtown Bemidji, at the Bemidji Brewing Company. Woke today at 8am, despite going to sleep at around 9pm last night. It took me a long time to get going this morning. Breakfast was good: grits with olive oil, tabasco, salt and pepper.

The river is broadening, deepening. It's hard to tell, because so much of it has been in rather slow-moving marsh streams, but it's something like ten times bigger than it was Monday morning - and that without any major confluences with any streams of any real size. Hennepin and LaSalle creeks were virtually invisible. The river is growing, but its sources are secret.

It's a marsh-river, this Mississippi. The part of the huge mass of water pent up in these acres and acres of marsh, bog, fen, and the little scraps of land high enough to support trees like birch and pine. The "river" is the part that moves a bit faster, the part where the water is right at the surface, rather than an inch or two down.

The boundaries between river and not-river are hazy everywhere, but especially here. All is wet, all is flat, the land rises a few feet at most over the water, and the water slips slowly, slowly through the channel it has carved.

I hit several awful trees in the afternoon, fully blocking the stream. Had to get entirely out of the water, haul everything around, all to the delight of the thousands of mosquitos that descended on me once I was out of the water.

Tonight I will sleep in Silver Maple campsite, just outside Bemidji. After setting up camp, I headed to town for a dinner I didn't have to make, for beer, and for wi-fi to write all of this.