I got an early start, and the mosquitos didn’t allow for any delay once I opened my tent. The morning was quiet with very few boats out. It’s always nice to start that way.
I was shocked at the houses as I got closer to the Coon Rapids Dam. They were ridiculous mansions. Some had beaches and water slides into the river.
As I got to the ramp for the Coon Rapids Dam, there were a ton of ducks floating around. A few came over hoping I would feed them. I tossed a pretzel their way and the whole flock started migrating over.
The visitor’s center was right on the portage walk, so I had to stop in to see it. I had a fun chat with the ranger there and she showed me that the MN DNR had printed maps to hand out (the same ones I printed at home).
After I mentally relaxed it was time for more paddling. It was a little exciting to see my first view of the Minneapolis skyline. After a little while I caught up to a group of paddlers. It turns out they were doing guide training. We chatted for a short ways before they stopped to resume practice on their techniques.
I got to Minneapolis in the early afternoon. I was dreading this portage because it’s the longest on the river: 1.5 miles. It’s also the last one until St Louis, so it will be great to have it over with.
At the landing, there were a couple people that just finished shooting up when I got there. I guess it is out of the way enough that they don’t have people constantly walking by there. Seems like Minneapolis is in need of some safe injection sites. That will help get drug users off the streets and into a more controlled environment.
They didn’t really bother me much, so I just went about my business and moved my gear up the stairs. It was pretty routine now, so I felt like I could go quickly. Before long I was on my way.
Now, walking a mile and pulling a canoe for a mile are very different tasks, and one of them is a lot more work. I had to take several breaks along the way, especially when there were some hills. I had a chat with one lady that was very interested. Mostly though I got a bunch of strange looks like I didn’t belong. I think it was that blue hat again. Why don’t people like it?
Just before the end of the portage I stopped to check my phone. I was going off route to the only hotel I found that agreed to store a canoe overnight. At least the portage was all multiuser path. The sidewalks and road crossings were not the best for pulling a canoe around downtown.
I got to the Courtyard and checked in. I had booked online through a cheap third party site and it turns out they used the veterans rate. I was pretty annoyed and verified later it said nothing about it when booking. That jacked up the rate a fair bit. Next came to getting the canoe put up for the night. The challenges began just getting it inside. Revolving doors aren’t the best setup for boats. We ended up going through a narrow set of double doors nearby.
The next fun was trying to get it into a hallway they used for storage. It became clear pretty fast that wasn’t going to work and the hotel workers commented that it was a “long canoe.” I’m not sure they come a whole lot shorter, but whatever. Eventually we got approval from some department to leave it in an unused ballroom. Perfect.
Next came a wonderful shower and multiple Mt. Dews from the vending machine. I had a friend from highschool pick me up and take me to dinner in the evening. We had fun catching up over burgers and beers. I feel a little competitive about riding my bike around my whole county now. He’s close to done with his.
I slept well that night.
Mileage: 22.4 (1.5 miles walking)
Total Mileage: 488.5