The ridiculous mosquitos made me get in the canoe as fast as possible this morning. Every second was awful. They don’t seem to be bothered by deet at all.

It was generally good paddling this morning. I was on the lookout for the Hassman campsite coming up. That was the original plan for the previous day, and I somehow noticed that Google’s Streetview covers the Mississippi! I looked in advanced to see what the landing looked like. I didn’t see it where the DNR maps said it should be, or where Google said it should be. I finally found it about a 1/2 mile down river from where the DNR maps said. I had actually given up at that point and then happened to notice the sign.

After about halfway through the day’s paddle I came to the Aitkin Flood Diversion Channel. It’s basically like a spillway. When the river levels reach a certain height, they’ll top over the dam and send water down the channel instead. It was cool to see, though I won’t see the other end since it dumps into an old oxbow.

Aitkin Flood Diversion Channel

The river has pretty powerful erosion forces. It was very evident at the Kimball carry-in access. Surely this site was once suitable for trailers, but now it is a sketchy canoe launch

Kimball carry-in access

I finally arrived in Aitkin around lunch time. I was going to camp there for the night. The boat ramp is right at the campgrounds. As soon as I rolled my boat up a guy asked me if I caught anything. I gave him a bit of a strange look and said “Nope, paddling the river”. A minute later he had the nerve to ask *me* for deet. I gave him one of my wipes, but it’s not like a can just jump in a car and drive to a store for more. I have to plan out when I need more and walk to a place that sells them.

After I relaxed for a few minutes, I started the walk to town. It wasn’t too far, but also not right there either. The walk was pretty hot in the exposed sun. They had some neat stamped concrete in the sidewalks. I’m not sure how river boats made it up this far, but apparently they did.

Riverboat Town

The store next to the restaurant I picked even sells Darn Tough socks. Those are the ones I wear! Honestly, they are the best socks ever and come with an amazing warranty. After thousands of backpacking, cycling, and now canoeing miles, I promise, you can’t go wrong.

Darn Tough

When I got back to camp I cleaned my boat. It has been a while, so getting all the sand and mud out, and the film off the outside really made a difference. I washed down all my other stuff too, since the silt from the river gets on everything.

People in town liked to randomly drive through the campground. I’m not sure what’s up with that, but I’d guess they are scoping out the boat ramp to see who’s fishing.

Mileage: 22.8

Total Mileage: 285.9

Today’s Audio: Em Beihold – Numb Little Bug

Day 15

3 thoughts on “Aitkin

  1. I hate mosquitoes…..the worst thing about my time being a counselor for two summers outside a place called Alden, MI 1970 &’71. Chippewa Trail Camp for Girls was a high end camp where some of the wealthy families in Michigan would park their girls while traveling to Europe, etc. it was actually really fun. First year I was in care of a cabin of 8 year olds who were great. Second year I was the Trips counselor and planned out day trips for every cabin 1-2 trips per 4 week session. That’s where I learned to hate mosquitoes. The end of summer was a 10 day trip with the oldest girls where the Sr cabin counselors and I circumnavigated Lake Superior tent camping. It was a lot of work, but we got to see absolutely gorgeous scenery. I recommend this to any ambitious family. We live in such a beautiful place. Keep up the good postings Nick. Hugs,
    Bingo Auntie B

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