Lost Paddle

I wasn’t planning to kill myself today because of how the campsites lined up coming in to Minneapolis, so I enjoyed my morning. I snapped a few pictures of camp.

Morning view of the beach
Sunrise from camp
Camp area

I was tempted to swing in to Clearwater, so I hugged the west bank of the river. The town is all on the side. There wasn’t a public ramp of any kind, only one on the opposite bank. I wasn’t going to paddle over there just to take a long walk back to town. I’m too lazy for that.

I tried to paddle on, but quickly found that it was too shallow to paddle. Out of the boat and in to the water to move it a little deeper.

After some miles I swung in to Oak Island campsite. This was my alternate from the day before, so I wanted to see what I missed.

I made a good choice at Boy Scout Point. Also, they have some really strange toilet covers on Oak Island.

Strange seat cover on Oak Island
Watercraft campsite sign

Right after the island was Snuffie’s Landing. I was ready for a little break and I was hoping there was some electricity to top off my battery. Unfortunately, no power. As I walked up to the pavilion, there were some people blowing up their inflatable kayaks.

I laid down on one of the picnic table benches and rested my eyes. I’m not sure how long I laid, but I figured it was time to go. There were some construction crews making noise anyway. As I started my walk back I noticed one kayaker still on shore hollering at the other who had gone a little ways down.

My boat was a bit up river, so I walked there and launched. It was really shallow right there, so it was an in/out of the boat thing a few times. As I arrived back where the kayaker on shore was, I saw the other on walking back up river. I spoke with her as I struggled to steady my boat (and not run her over) in the current. I got the gist that they had lost a paddle. I started to offer my spare, but I really didn’t know their plans (or if they’d recover theirs) and the river was making sure this conversation was brief.

As I got down to the other guy, I chatted again about their unfortunate lost paddle, especially after spending all that time getting ready. I told him if I found it, I’d leave it at the next boat ramp and post to my blog about it. I gave him the web address.

I looked diligently as I paddled, but it was fruitless. The paddle was all black, the river was fairly wide, and you can’t see very far when you are so close to the water in a canoe.

I went by Monticello nuclear power plant. I was a little surprised they didn’t have some kind of perimeter alarm on the river. Back home at Fermi, they have a really annoying and loud one.

Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant

I saw the cooling water being put back in the river. I wondered how much warmer it’d be, so I stuck my hand in before I passed, and then again just after. Nothing.

Not much further and I was at camp for the night: Montissippi County Park. As soon as I got my boat on the ramp, I was greeted by a guy fishing and explained I was doing the whole river. Just as I got started chatting, the guy who lost his paddle walked over. He had been waiting for me. I gave him the bad news about his paddle, no luck. The 3 of us spoke for a few minutes about my trip and the topic came to food. I mentioned how nice it was to find a restaurant right next to a boat ramp, and even salivated over the ribeye sandwich I had a few days prior leaving Aitken.

Ready to call it a day
Map of Montissippi

Out of the blue, the guy who lost his paddle offered me a place to stay for the night. He was going to drive me but I found out he was right on the water a few more miles down.

I had gotten a similar offer once in the AT, but I admit, I never got offered one quite like this. It took me a moment to think about, but it’s an adventure, right? I was in. I suggested I just paddle there instead to avoid moving the canoe and gear by car twice.

When I stopped to check my phone (to see my location), I saw the massive spider on the dock. FYI, those are 2×6’s

Massive spider

I found their place just as he described. They put me up for the night. They cooked monster steaks and sides (including the first sweet corn I’ve had this season). I got a shower, and got to do laundry, and charge my stuff. It was wonderful. In exchange, I was asked to tell stories of my adventures, which I did. I hope they feel like they got what they bargained for.

Mileage: 21

Total Mileage: 446

Day 22

One thought on “Lost Paddle

  1. Parks, are you sure these folks weren’t southern?? That’s the definition of southern hospitality! When I saw the title of today, I thought “oh, no….he’s lost a paddle!” Was glad it wasn’t you. Iowa, here we come!

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