I headed back to the tents to pack up and finish a couple emails. We carried our heavy bags back to the marina where our boats were waiting for us. J & J had to completely empty their canoe and bail it out from all the water from the storms over the past couple days. I was glad I had a cockpit cover that keeps water out. My hat, which had been in the cockpit, however, suffered some mold growth over the past couple days. I headed out into the chilly drizzle (it was in the 50s), switching out my sunhat and face protection for a rain jacket and my cozy hood for warmth. I listened to Oscar Wilde’s The Duchess of Padua, and stopped a few miles down the river for a zucchini bread snack at a dock. I had to hold onto the dock to keep from being blown upstream. J & J caught up with me there, and we all set off back into the rain, dodging barges (particularly friendly barges today—one cheerily honked at us and another captain came out to wave hello) and the dredging operations. It was a lovely scene, but it was difficult to enjoy as the wind was so strong against us, the waves were regularly topping the lip of my cockpit, drenching my seat. I think my full spray skirt was stuffed forward of the bag that sits between my legs because I couldn’t reach it. So I was extra wet, and continually sponging out my cockpit. I had my sunglasses on to protect my eyes from getting too wet and washing out my contact lenses, but the rain was fogging them up and it was difficult to see clearly. I wanted to take photos, but the waves were too large, and I was focusing on just getting through it. My elbows were feeling particularly sore. I think feeling and remembering how good things can be, what with my massage yesterday and a couple days’ rest, the reality of how uncomfortable and painful paddling can be was all the more painful and uncomfortable. By the time we locked through lock #9, I was very glad to be in the last stretch of our day. As we were locking through, I exclaimed,
“I’m cold and wet and hungry and sore.”
“Oh my!” Jake finished, reminiscent of the “Lions, and tigers, and bears, Oh my!” refrain. We followed the lockmaster’s suggestion and pulled over at a landing a mile downstream, where there was a flat patch of grass (not wet sand!) to pitch our tents. We all took a quick river bath in the warmer-than-air river, put on our warm, dry camp clothes, made some dinner, and went to bed. I had better phone coverage here than in Lansing, so I caught up with Nick, my mom and my friend Ben. I was cold for hours, even in all my dry long-sleeved camp clothes and zipped into my down sleeping bag. 50 something degrees is really cold after days of 100 degree weather!