Brad and Jenny have helped me SO MUCH in the last stages of preparation for this journey. Brad was there, snapping pictures as I fumbled for the first time into my kayak on the water. It began to rain, and someone mentioned tornado warnings, but I just wanted to get going. The rain held to a light drizzle most of the 5 miles, and let up several times.
From the very start, I was in love and reminded what it is to be in the wilderness. Wild iris blooming purple on the banks, new-to-me water lilies open to the sky, ducks and ducklings around the bend, but also mosquitos, spiders, and a leech. I was so glad I had packed my mosquito head net on deck—I wore it most of my paddle while flies and mosquitos buzzed around.
At the very start, I found 3 floating flip-flops and a lone croc. I retrieved them from the water and I realized I was going to have to start carrying a trashbag on deck for this sort of plastic –waste clean up.
The first day was marked by shallow water and lots of mud. I had to walk my boat through some of the areas where it was just too shallow, and I almost lost my teva several times because the mud was stronger than the Velcro on it. I ended up going barefoot most of the way.
Just as I started to get tired, a huge thundercloud came up behind me, and I was lucky that it brushed aside me, and never went overhead. I saw some scary (but beautiful) cloud formations and wondered if I should just pull into a mud flat and hunker down for the night in the marsh. I couldn’t really think how that might work, but decided it was what I’d do if I saw lightning. The clouds got darker and darker, and I heard thunder, and just when I was sure I was going to have to mud-camp my first night, an enormous rainbow erupted. It made me so happy and elated!!! What better way to start this trip than an ominous storm that warns, followed by an encouraging “you can do it” from the sky above. As the rainbow faded I saw a snap of lightning, and when I rounded the next bend, I saw the blessed signpost for the my destination, campsite Wanagam.
The rain let up as I set up camp, and I was so exhausted, I just had a can of baked beans for dinner. I realized that I overestimated my map’s “waterproof” nature, and that it was mangled by the water because I hadn’t put it in a ziplock bag. Dumb dumb dumb. Oh well, could have been worse. I cleaned off what I could of all the mud, and collapsed into my tent, wet and cold and glad to have a cozy bed.