portfolio > gone on the river

day 29
day 29
June 27, 2022

Day 29, June 27
Measurements: Turbidity at La Crosse: around 59cm.

Today was much calmer, both in terms of the wind and my experience. A good antidote to yesterday's... intensity.

I woke up in the pretty nice riverside campsite just downstream of La Crosse, and set off relatively early after eating the rest of the bread I'd gotten in Stockholm for breakfast.

My big plan was to get down to Genoa, WI, by around noon, to meet my friend Shaun. I'd known him when we both worked for the City of Minneapolis.

Well, things did not go to plan. As usual, the river petered out into a massive lake. I attempted to hug the right side, to avoid the big water. But that turned out to be a mistake: the lilypad-lined riverlet I was following similarly petered out into an impassible marsh.

Shaun and I tried to make a couple of different plans. Could I get across the river to Stoddard, which is upstream of Genoa? I tried, but there was another impassible marsh in the way. So instead we settled back on Genoa, and I worked to get there.

There was no wind. Not a breath. This was welcome, after yesterday. But wow, it seems to take a long, long time to cross a massive lake. When it's not terrifying, big water is just so boring.

I finally made it to Genoa, and was happy to see Shaun after I landed. Shaun had made a truly wonderful lunch: a salad with veggies from his garden, homemade hummus that his partner Aaron had made, kombucha. It was one of the best things I may ever have had. He also brought me food for later: apples, nuts, asparagus, and eight eggs from his chickens. (I am a vegan, but will eat eggs from chickens I know to be well cared for, like Shaun's.) We chatted about various things, the river trip especially, and he saw me off from the Genoa landing. Shaun is legitimately one of the nicest people I've ever met.

I locked through Lock 8 without a lot of drama, though I did need to call them on the phone, because their pull rope signal wasn't working.

I made it about ten more miles, but that was enough to cross a major milestone. For the first time on this trip, I am not in or adjacent to my home state of Minnesota. I am now between Iowa and Wisconsin.

I put in at around 8pm at an island with an interesting name, Battle Island. My site faces the confluence with the Upper Iowa River. I boiled two eggs, and ate one with the rest of the salad Shaun had made. It was delicious. I also drank the crowler of blood orange IPA I'd gotten from the Island City brewery up in Winona a few days back, and smoked a cigar.

Tomorrow, my only real goal is to get as far downstream as possible.