Montana
Missouri River Quest '07 - Page 5
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page 6
5.23.07
Once again I woke up early ready to put some miles on the kayak.  Once again, mother
nature had other plans.  It rained until 10:00.  After twenty seven hours of nonstop rain, I was
ready to go.  I thanked my fishermen friends who have been so kind to me, and headed
down the river.

I didn't reach the actual Ft. Peck lake until ten miles after my map showed it starting.  The
last few years have been pretty dry and the pool is quite low, so I was able to enjoy some
unexpected current.

When I did reach the head of the lake, I had to cross a huge shallow mud flat to get to
deeper water.  I picked my way through the shallow braided channel for the next five miles.  I
ran aground quite a few times, but was able to free myself without getting out of the boat.

I wasn't the only one stuck in the muck.  I passed a mule deer that had made it almost half
way across the lake before sinking chest deep in the mud.  He was struggling to get out,
but only digging himself further in.  I couldn't get to my gun to put him out of his misery, so I
just passed by and hoped he wouldn't suffer long.

Once I reached open water, it started to rain and the wind picked up.  The waves picked up
quickly, as well.  They were coming mostly from behind and were of the two to three foot tall
variety.  I made excellent time surfing across the lake and my rain coat kept me dryer than if
I didn't have it, except for when I had to take the waves head on.  Then I got soaked.

I paddled until 8:00 and set up camp as the rain stopped and the wind died down.  A coyote
watched from the weeds as I unpacked my tent, but ran away when the wind caught it as it
unrolled.

My sleeping bag feels extra nice after a cold wet ten hours on the water, and I'm proud of my
day.  My map tells me I covered 55 miles today, and 30 of them were on a lake.  I'm hoping
for some warm dry weather tomorrow.  Tonight I have a beautiful sunset to watch, and the
sound of a lake that finally settled down to listen to.
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5.24.07
The big lake was smooth and calm as I packed the kayak, but as soon as I hit the water,
the wind picked up.  The wind was blowing cold and hard from the east.

My clothes had dried out some overnight, but within an hour I was soaked to the bone.  The
sun looked like it would peek out of the clouds all day, but never did.

I ran into a fisherman after dinner and asked him when the wind was going to die down.  
He said,
September.  I think he may have been serious.  Then I asked if he had heard the
forecast, and he said,
more rain.

I set up camp at 6:00 because of a dark bank of clouds forming behind me.  It is now 8:00
and the clouds haven't moved any.  My decision to stop cost me two hours of paddling and
eight miles, but being caught on the big lake in a storm could have cost me my life.  I made
the right choice.

I covered forty miles today, and if the weather lets me, I can make the thirty miles to the dam
tomorrow.  I don't think Ft. Peck Lake likes me.  I can't wait to put it behind me.
Bald eagles
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5.25.07
The thunderstorm hit about 9:00 last night and it brought a lot of wind with it.  It tore up a
couple of my tent stakes and the rainfly started flapping wildly.  I expected the whole tent to
blow down, but outside of a noisy night, it stayed intact and I stayed dry.

I woke up this morning and it was still raining hard.  Everything outside had turned to a sea
of mud.  Nature was calling and I didn't want to answer.  Finally, things got urgent and I
grabbed the T.P. and made a run for it.

I finished in record time, but had ten pounds of mud stuck to each foot by the time I made it
to the tent. I had to walk down to the river, wash my feet, put on my sandals, and walk back
to the tent.  By then I was soaked and still tracked plenty of mud into the tent.

I spent the day reading, listening to AM radio out of Canada, and being bored in general.  I
hate being trapped in my
prison by the rain.  I can't even go out and walk around.
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The rain stopped at 3:00 and I packed up and hit the water in record time.  The sun actually
came out and the wind quit blowing.  The lake was as smooth as glass and I made good
time.

I still have fifteen miles of lake to cover and the wind is picking up again.  I hope I'm able to
get off this miserable lake tomorrow.

I was able to get reception on my cell phone tonight and let everyone back home know I'm
still alive.  I was thankful for that since it's been over a week since anyone has heard from
me.
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