Blue Hats and Hitchhiking

I had no particular hurry today so I didnt really need to rush out of bed, however the mosquitos put me in a real hurry once I decided to open the tent. My bladder got the better of me.

The mosquitoes continued to swarm me for several minutes even after I was out on the water. I think they had hunkered down in my boat overnight and now we’re waking up expecting breakfast.

The river opened up into some small lakes. They weren’t too bad to paddle until I started seeing people in motorboats. One was pulling a water skier that passed me multiple times. Why are people assholes?

Small Lake

I saw a massive fish break the surface of the water. I didn’t know they got that big this far north. By time I got to Rice Lake, I was having trouble with the waves. The wind has picked up and we’re building the length of the lake. Plus, the wind wanted to turn me straight into them..that part isn’t so bad, except going that direction wouldn’t point me down river, so it was a big struggle.

When I reached the Potlatch Dam, the sun was at full intensity. No complaints about the portage though. They provided a dock, a fairly easy pull out of the water, and even bathrooms! If it wasn’t 150F out, I might have even enjoyed the break.

Potlatch Dam Portage

You could tell how low the water was based on how much vegetation had grown into the fence.

Potlatch Dam Portage

Right after the dam was another section of shallow, gravel bottom. I had to pull my canoe through a section nearly immediately. It wasn’t long before I reached Kiwanis Park in Brainerd. It had a nice sandy beach and some nearby trees to lock up my boat. I got it secured as best I could and set off to the main part of town.

I needed a good lunch. Not sure I’d say I found one, but it was good enough. They only had pizzas for take and bake, so I settled for a sandwich. The counter lady told me it was hot, but when I got my meatball sub, only the meatballs were warm. The bread wasn’t toasted at all. Whatever. I ate it plus multiple refills of pop. Next up was a gas station convenience store. I bought some more snacks, a couple Gatorades, poptarts, and some of those 5 hour energy things.

Both of the cashiers at the restaurant and the convenience store looked at me with utter disgust. The only thing I could think was that they didn’t like my blue hat. I’m on week 3 of the river and no one has given me looks like that anywhere else. I guess if you ever visit Brainerd, avoid blue hats.

Section of river

After a good long rest, I continued on down river. I was fighting fatigue. I stopped at a potential campsite called Overlook Park. It was perfectly maintained, had flat, mowed grass, picnic tables, and a vault toilet. The only thing it packed was running water. If it had that, and I could have washed up with a spigot I would have stayed. The draw of a shower was too great. It was only about 3 more miles to the state park.

As I loaded back in the boat I noticed crayfish swimming among the rocks. I tried to get a better picture, but seconds after this shot the water was clouded with the sediment I had kicked up.


When I got to Crow Wing State Park I saw there was a trail to the campsites and the web showed they were still open. Perfect, that will save me a much longer road walk pulling the canoe.

While finding the shower house I bumped into a cyclists that I thought might be touring the Great River Road that runs alongside the length of the Mississippi, but he was doing a cross MN ride.

As I was bed I noticed a little hitchhiker in my boat. No free rides, bud.

Stealthy hitchhiker

Mileage: 24.7

Total Mileage: 349.3

Today’s Audio: Bone Thugs – E. 1999 Eternal album

Day 17

One thought on “Blue Hats and Hitchhiking

  1. Nothing like tent camping in a field with a full symphony of mosquitoes 🦟 outside the tent. And when you’re almost asleep… of those little sh..s figures out how to get in and then you try to completely cover everything…but it doesn’t work and you look like you came down with measles overnight….seems a few others figured out where the opening to sanguine glory was and joined their friend. Your blue hat reminded me of the moose hide hat I bought in Minnesota on the Lake Superior trip. Total hippy look….loved it. I got some very mean-eyed, thought bubble “Damn hippy” looks in Lexington KY whenever I wore it (which was a lot 🤣). Enjoy your blue hat! Keep the faith!
    Bingo Auntie Bonnie

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