As I packed up, a young boy and his father came through, to go fishing. They returned with 3 walleye before I left, and I had a chance to talk with them about my project. The young boy, Danny, was super congenial and appreciated the plastic ball I gave him (found floating on the river last night) and a couple stickers. The young ladies came back too, more numerous this time, and they were super excited about my project. I learned they were councilors (Megan, Mary and Josey) from Camp Foley. They all excitedly asked questions and when I shoved off, they let out a great cheer for me, and shouts of encouragement. Whoo hoo, what a great send-off!
I paddled 18 miles today, still a long day, and especially long after 26 miles yesterday (my longest so far). I paddled a lot with my eyes closed, and slumped forward on my deck bag or leaned back on my deck several times for a quick cat nap. Each time, I started in the center of the river, flowing slowly forward, but woke up lodged in the reeds, still. It was one of those I-feel-like-I’m-only-using-a-cereal-spoon days. To exacerbate the feeling of are-we-there-yet?, when I reached the lake on which the Grand Rapids Power Plant is located, the lake was choked with reeds, meaning that what could have been a 2 mile paddle straight across became a multiple mile switch-back paddle as I followed the widest part of the river. Half-way through the lake, my phone rang, and I gladly used the opportunity to take a rest. It was a journalist from the Lexington Herald-Leader. I have to admit, I’ll never get tired of taking “official” business-type calls in the wilderness!
I also did my first water collection sample for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation today. I will be collecting 1L water samples approximately every 100 miles, which I will send to their lab. They will dry out the sample, burn off the organic material, and use a microscope to take a look at what sort of microplastics are present. Microbeads? Filaments? More on this to come...
I also received a tip from a river angel, Jim, that the campsite at Pokegama (above Grand Rapids) was safer than the library. Again, an excuse to stop early. Check! When I arrived, a very nice man offered his son’s campsite as a place to pitch my tent since the campsite was full. Again, thank you! The campground officer, Colin (same guy that helped Dave Roberts on Lake Winnie a few weeks ago) helped me locate wifi nearby. So I walked half a mile to the LMNOP-za pizza place where I used wifi for ½ hr to check email before they closed. And enjoyed a whole 10” pizza.