I woke up reasonably early this morning, but took several hours to get on the water. Firstly, I decided that I needed to apply to a job for which the deadline was tonight…and it was a pain to get the application finished on my phone (minus one hour). Secondly, when I went to pack up my kayak, I found my hat floating in the water, and the deck of my boat an absolute wreck. Seems Mama Raccoon, who waltzed through my camp but didn’t find any vittles last night found a treasure trove afterall. I thought my deck bag was vermin-proof, but clearly it wasn't. She gnawed and clawed her way in, stealing my apple, nuts and raisins (I’m just not meant to have nuts and raisins this trip, that’s the 2nd time I’ve lost my stash!), 4 boiled eggs, and my carrots. The egg shells and yolks were smeared all over the deck and the deck bag was ruined. Cleaning that up and figuring out what to do with everything in the deck bag set me back another hour.
Still, when I got on the water, the lake was fairly calm, and the wind was behind me, so I tried using the umbrella as a sail. It worked, but I had to choose between the sail or paddling—couldn’t do both—and decided paddling was faster.
Just before I left, I put on my ipod, listening to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (HP Fan-fic). The earbud popped off in my right ear so I had a foreign object lodged in my ear and only one channel to listen. This happened across Cass Lake too. How’m I going to fix that!? The podcast kept me going strong across the lake, though, and I made good time—took me about 5.5 hrs to go from West Winnie Campground to the Dam (~13 miles). The water was open and the Lake so wide that I couldn’t see the other side when I started. Somewhat daunting compared to the cozy riverbanks on either side, but I also feel really at home on the open water from my days on Feather, the sailboat I grew up on. Unlike sailing, though, I feel more urgency because wind picking up doesn’t mean more power to sail on, it means more difficulty to make headway safely. Also, being propelled by my own strength means I have to stay diligent and focused the entire time. I can’t take a break until I’m within swimming distance of the shore again. The wind stayed low until the last hour when it picked up and created some white-caps, but, thankfully, the wind was still behind me.
The last five miles marked a turning point for me, I think. I was sore and tired, but instead of continuing to shut down the way my body did when I was paddling in to Star Island, I found some new reserve and posture that kept me going reasonably well. I think that means I’m getting stronger! :)
The landing to the campsite was obscured by reeds, so I had to fake an entry and do my best to pull Spirit up on the bank. Lots of poison ivy and mosquitos. I set up my tent as fast as possible, and hunkered down for the evening. Didn’t even bother to try to make dinner, too many mosquitos. I ate some dried coconut and chocolate for dinner instead. I fell asleep before dark, and was awakened in the night to the lull of owls and frogs.