The Number Keeps Growing

Another early morning was in store for me. I was hoping to bang out 40 miles today, so not much time to dilly dally. The problem was that I could camp at either 20 miles or 40 miles. I wish there were a few more options. I also had 2 portages to do, so that would add to the work.

I packed up and grabbed the same cart that I had used to move my gear. I had to go by the same campers I spoke with the night before, so I wanted to be as silent as a mouse. I feel like I did a good job considering I was moving the cart along gravel. It went downhill once I got in the water though. It was still dark and I didn’t see the rock I bumped right into as I passed their tent. The hit wasn’t even that hard, but the canoe material and the silent morning turned it into quite a bang. Sorry guys.

Once I got back to the river I was pleased to have it all to myself for a while. The next island did look like nice camping, but no flush toilets or outlets. I guess I’m getting pampered.

All to myself

As I paddled along, I heard some quick cursing from someone on a dock. They had dropped something in the water. I paddled over and saw the guy trying to retrieve his slipper with a pole he had. It was too far from his dock by then so I grabbed it up and tossed it to him. We chatted a minute, including about the upcoming portages and that’s when I realized I had *3* portages.

I arrived at the first one for the day. I was confused at first if I should use the boat ramp, or if there was a canoe take-out location still up ahead. Turns out there was, so I set about getting everything out of the water. It has rocks at first and then goes up a fairly steep bank. This made me partially unload. Once up top, I followed the little maintenance road. The official trail went down the other side and connected again with another dam maintenamce road. I was skipping this because I could see the roads intersected just ahead. I’m not unloading this crap again for that.

Now, I also knew that if I turned in the wrong direction first, I should be able to avoid a set of stairs. I quickly got to the road that leads to the ramp and then the access to the paved multi-use trail. It didn’t list canoeing as an activity, but I figured it was ok. If I had used the ramp it would have saved some work. Next time. I saw a powered paraglider as I walked down it!

Powered paraglider

Down the trail and through the woods I finally got to a parking lot. I turned the only direction I saw and went down some steep, eroded steps to check it out. This was going to suck. As I came back for load 2, I saw a guy and his dog getting back into their car. They hadn’t passed me, so where did they come from? I checked it out again and there was another trail down to the water that had been obscured by a long truck. This was much easier.

Stairs I avoided
Steep dip on the portage trail
Stairs I almost used
Blanchard Dam
Real approach to the Blanchard portage

After all that I put on some jams. The river seemed empty, so I just sang along. I did come up on a handful of people and I just owned it. They got to hear me singing happily to myself. I saw more fine chairs along the river.

Another chair specimen

After a while the river got wider and deeper. I was getting closer to the Sartell Dam and it was basically a lake now. Since the weekend was in full swing, the motorboats were out in force. And let me tell you, they didn’t give a shit what their wake did to me.. it was truly some miserable miles because every time they passed I had to turn my boat into the wake so I didn’t capsize.

I finally arrived at portage #2. I was hungry and the portage was long, so this pizza place really worked out perfectly. Salami on pizza. Try it, you’ll thank me.

What luck. Some pizza!

Now at this point I was getting pretty tired. I got back on the water and started reading what’s up next on the map. Wait, another portage? This was now going to be a 4 portage day, this time around Sauk Rapids. I could already see the sign on the left bank. I had slightly passed it. Even better? Stairs again! I had to fully unload and carry my boat up the steps. Oh, and even though the last one was long, this one was too. No relief.

I reached the end of Lion’s park at the put-in and I was completely spent. There was no way I could carry on, and no way to make the campsite before dark. I slept in a busy public park. I didn’t even set up my tent. I just tossed on some layers and laid in the grass. I of course waited until everyone left and tried to pay as discretely as possible, but still.

View for the night

Mileage: 34.1

Total Mileage: 412.4

Day 20

3 thoughts on “The Number Keeps Growing

  1. Parks, What an adventure!!! It’s amazing what one can accomplish when committed to a goal. Thanks for sharing the details, photos, etc. with your followers. Wishing you all the best! Safe travels and many more memorable experiences. 😍Neon
    Breakless is staying with Don and I for a week. AT family strong❣️

  2. Geesh, multiple portages, inconsiderate boaters, sleeping in the park. Good thing you left the herd of 🦝🦝🦝🦝 behind at the other place!

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