Day 14, June 12
Measurements: turbidity at Lone Pine campsite 33.5cm
Lone Pine was a pretty nice site. Buggy, of course, but close to the water and overall pretty lovely. Got to sleep later than intended, and was woken by an early morning rain shower that started light but quickly turned into a downpour. I quickly got everything packed up, emptied the water out of the boat (both from this morning and yesterday), and got on the river at around 8. A light rain stuck around for awhile, along with a lovely mist on the water, but eventually the day became overcast, with brief periods of sunshine. In the early afternoon it got pretty windy, coming from what seemed like the east/southeast.
The river here is fast, and getting big. The whirlpools I have come to expect around every corner have gotten bigger, more powerful, more worth avoiding. The eddy line (between moving and unmoving water) is impossible to miss. The river is widening, even as it stays fast, between taller and taller banks. Stands of pines made a bit of a comeback today, reversing the trend I'd been noticing, towards more deciduous-dominance.
The speed of the river started to drop off dramatically as I approached Brainerd. And I mean a long way out, at least ten miles upstream of what's labeled as the Potlach dam. The river broadens into what is effectively a lake with a number of islands, including some that are long and straight - remnants of the river's own levee, drowned by the dam? The wind was not fun to deal with on so much basically flat water, so I got out a few miles upstream of town, at a spot called Green's Point. Took my time converting to road mode, then rode up the hilariously-named "Executive Acres Road" to a very nice bike trail that took me right into Baxter/Bemidji. I'm staying at a motel again, for the ability to take a shower and dry stuff out a bit.
I saw plenty of herons today, a number of eagles, a beaver, some deer.
Dinner tonight was a huge feast at the restaurant El Tequila Mexican. Very welcome.