portfolio > gone on the river

day 9
day 9
June 07, 2022

Turbidity at Grand Rapids library >61cm
Nitrate/nitrite at confluence with Prairie River, between 0 and first reading.

Today felt really good. I canoed around 30 miles, the furthest of the trip so far by quite a bit. And it wasn't hard, because I finally had meaningful current.

Woke up early (before 6am) at the Itascan motel in Grand Rapids. Got my stuff together and got out early as well. Biked across the river to Brewed Awakenings, a little coffee shop I'd noticed on the map. Had a passable little panini, some good cold brew, one of those peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie things. A woman who was sitting in there left before me, and I got to watch her stop on the sidewalk and stare at my rig for something like 45 seconds. It reminded me that a woman yesterday asked to take my picture, to put it on Facebook. I happily obliged.

I put in just downstream of the library, and noticed right away that the current was much stronger than it has been all trip. After the confluence with the Prairie River, just outside of town, it got even stronger. I had a backup plan of staying at Blackberry campsite, but knew that I should push for Swimming Bear instead.

The water level is very high. It's evident in so many ways. The banks in many places are overtopped, and there's this interesting ribbon of green grass at the waterline, then another ribbon of relatively open water, then the "real" bank. Many trees have their entire trunks in the water. There were numerous places - so many - where part of the river took a little "shortcut" through the peninsula created by a meander, just flowing straight across the land. I took a few of these, but skipped most because I couldn't tell which would let me safely out the other side.

Tonight's campsite is Swimming Bear. It clearly used to have a large tree right on the water, but that tree has fallen in, leaving a huge hole right next to the site. It may be the buggiest site yet, but that's really just an exercise in comparing superlatives.

Dinner tonight was Korean: rice with tofu, mushrooms, kimchi. And a crowler of beer from Klockow Brewing in Grand Rapids. Tasty stuff!

Tomorrow I plan to stay with my friend Shanai at her place. It'll be another 30ish mile day, which seems doable.