portfolio > gone on the river

day 67
day 67
August 04, 2022

Day 67, August 4
Measurements: turbidity at Helena, AR 18cm. Nitrate at same location between 2-5ppm. Miles today: FIFTY.

I woke early, before my 6am alarm, not having slept well due to the lights, the slant under the tent, the heat, and who knows what else. I was ready to stop trying to sleep, and got up pretty easily. Ate a Clif bar, had no tea to drink (didn't manage to make any last night, it was so late), but had my tang. I was on the water a little after 7am, which felt great.

It was overcast, and I loved it. Definitely a moderate wind from the south, which wasn't great, but I'll take that trade.

Very first thing on the water was a barge interaction. But then there weren't any for awhile. I went past the little town of Friar's Point, MI, and was tempted to stop, but didn't. Instead, I used the brief window of good phone service to call the City of Minneapolis to tell them that I no longer live at my old house, and they should send inspections issues to the new owners. Felt pretty great. I then listened to the saddest album anyone ever made, A Crow Looked At Me by Mount Eerie, and continued paddling between sobs.

The sun stayed under cover for hours, which was really fantastic. The difference between the heat and humidity down here with and without the sun is, well, night and day. It makes an unbelievable difference.

In attempting to get around a tow near "Rescue Dikes" at mile 630 or so, I went over another two submerged wing dams. The flow was not great in that spot, so there were no issues this time.

I made it to 30 miles by the early afternoon and kept going, then made it to 40 miles by mid-late afternoon, and kept going. I knew early today that with everything - the early start, the clouds making it possible to stay out all day, etc. - I could make 50 miles today. Even with all of that it was a real struggle, physically. So much of me was sore by the time I was finished.

Just before I reached mile 50, I had to get around not one but two tows in dennis bend, a tight spot just above Dennis Landing, MI. I went to the left of the first one, waited for a bit to let him clear, then found the second coming towards me when I was in the crook of the turn on the left side, and he was also towards the left side. It's not really possible to skirt them that close, so I paddled hard across the river to reach the sandbar on the right side. Trying to negotiate space with these tows just really sucks.

As I've gone on today, I think I've caught up with some nasty water, likely from Memphis. In the afternoon, I started noticing foam that looked... wrong. Somehow too chunky, too rigid, too dark. And more foam just generally. When I pulled up to this sandbar, there was a little cove that was full of this questionable foam, so I kept going a bit until I found a spot where the water was moving past a bit more. I questioned filtering and drinking this water, but I did it anyway - no other option. Though where until now I've been willing to just boil water for food and tea, tonight I used the filtered water for those things.

I made a very nice dinner, if I do say so myself. Red lentils flavored with berbere, with dehydrated onion and garlic and some broth, eaten with crackers. Very tasty. I also prepped some overnight oats for the morning.

It started to rain on me as I got into the tent (today's picture is of this storm, coming towards me), so I put up the rain fly. It was very hot and sticky in there with the fly up, unfortunately, so I took it down when the rain stopped (for awhile) and then had to put it up again.

Wildlife today: not as much as I'd gotten used to. A few herons, a few storks, a crowd of geese that I managed to scare into flight a few times, a few jumping fish.

I've done the math and I can get to Greenville, MS, in two days if I hit 37 miles each day. So that's the goal for tomorrow: at least 37 miles.