I thanked Brad and Jenny for EVERYTHING and hugged Nick goodbye and headed back to paddling.
I took a ‘short cut’ behind an island, which turned out to be a peninsula. By the time I got to the dead end, I’d gone a half-mile out of my way. So, I took my own advice from yesterday, and took a little break, snapping pictures of the private air-strip where I had found myself. On the paddle out, my mom called, and I talked with her awhile. I mentioned a flock of seagulls ahead, and then started wailing like a bad ghost impression. She thought I was imitating seagulls, but what had actually happened was this: A fast-moving, winding snake swimming across the river happened upon my boat, and was very determined not to let my boat be an obstacle. She tried to slither onto my boat and as I wailed, I used my paddle to redirect her. She fell in the water, and continued to head over my boat, this time closer to me and all the things I have lashed to my deck. Still wailing, I used my paddle again, and she had one more go of it before I succeeded in prompting her to go around the front of my boat instead of onto it. It was thrilling! The snake continued like nothing had happened, but after it was about 20 feet from me, I saw it lift its head and look back at me like, “what was THAT all about!?” I identified it as a ribbon snake that night—non-poisonous, fast moving, long and comfortable in the water. After that excitement, I listened to the first couple chapters of A Little Princess before my ipod ran out of energy and I was set back to entertaining myself by watching the bald eagles and kingfishers.
Later in the day, I was paddling through more wild spots, which opened up into broad lakes. I wished Nick could have joined me for this part—it was more similar to what I’d experienced so far.
I locked through Lock #2, and camped near a channel marker just below Hastings. A father and son paddled by in their tandem hobie kayak and offered help in any way they could, and I fell asleep.