River Otters

I was greeted with a pretty fog when I woke up. It hung low over the water.

Fog over the river

I had to bushwhack back to the privy. I don’t think that site has seen a weedeater in a year or more. I also noticed the sunburn on my legs. I didn’t put any sunscreen there and it was catching up to me.

I got going down the river at a nice time. I think it was around 7:30. Perhaps only a mile later I came around a turn and surprised a pair of river otters. I don’t know if I interrupted something or what, but they were not happy to see me. I saw another a little ways down. They ducked under the water too fast to get a picture.

I think I saw otter dens amongst the cattails.

Otter den?

After Hennepin Creek merged with the river it was a wide and deep channel. I couldn’t touch the bottom with my paddle, and it was the widest point I had seen so far.

River widens

Lots of paddling in wild rice today. Sometimes it got a bit silly, especially in the area of “Rice Lake”.

Thick Wild Rice

It’s easy to get a little turned around out there, so when I reached a dead end, I figured I just made a wrong turn. I look at Google Maps and it does show I’m a bit off. I reroute and then I reach a mess of cattails floating on top of the water that look barely big enough to scoot over. Did I get it wrong again? The satellite images are showing that’s the wrong way. I backtrack *again* and find no way through. My last option before turning back was to check out the sketchy route over the cattails. Unsurprisingly, but disappointingly, it was just one small pool with no other way out.

The river ended in a wall of cattails. They float on top drawing mud up from the bottom and forming a thick mat. It’s not strong enough to support a person though and the water underneath is deeper than my paddle can touch.

My only option was to turn back. I had to go 5.3 miles back up river, against the current, and against a decent wind that had picked up. In my mind I was thinking how I could walk my canoe and gear to the next put-in about 7.3 miles away. My portage wheels are broken so it would mean multiple trips to carry gear and the boat.

Pine point was the dead end of a state forest road, so I was surprised to see someone. In fact, in the 20 mins I was there, 3 vehicles drove up. Weird when I haven’t even seen a person in more than a day. The 3rd lady called her husband to bring their truck and then they brought me to a nice 1 room cabin. I’m writing this while curled up on a mosquito-free couch.

Home for the night

Mileage: 7.8 + 5.3 bonus miles

Total Mileage: 39

Day 4

5 thoughts on “River Otters

  1. A good nights sleep will refresh you to push on. Hopefully, you will make meet more good people and have less beaver dams :)

  2. Please do put sunscreen on all exposed body parts Nick! My lower legs got so sunburned kayaking the Gorge River in Oregon, it hurt just to walk!
    Good luck mi amigo.

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