Missouri River Quest '07 - Page 8
It was sunny this morning, but very windy and cold. I decided to head out, but only made it
a few miles before the waves got too big and I had to stop.
I was feeling pretty miserable. It seems like the weather just won't give me a break. I tried
to be positive, but it was hard. I called some friends and took a walk on the beach. It
made me feel a little better.
Later on, a bank of clouds rolled in. It looked like rain, but the wind eased up a little. I
decided to have another go at the lake.
The waves were big, but my kayak glided easily over them. I stayed close to shore in case
I went over, but I was really having fun.
I made it 15 miles before the wind picked up again and I had to stop. I felt a lot better. I
had handled 15 miles of big waves without any problem, and at least I went somewhere
I grabbed my camera and climbed to the top of a butte. It was beautiful. I could see for
miles in every direction. I enjoyed the view for a while, then climbed down to walk on the
On my way down, the sun came out and the wind switched directions. Now it was coming
from behind me instead of from my right side. That meant I would be able to surf on the
big waves and fly down the lake.
The sun was shining and I was cruising down the lake like I had a motor. It was
wonderful! I could finally see all the bright colors in the hills that had been hidden by
clouds for so long. I had been ready to give up on this lake at 8:00 this morning. I'm glad I
gave it a chance.
I rode the waves until sundown, then set up camp on a rocky beach. It's warm and calm
outside, and I left the rain fly off of the tent for the first time in weeks.
I checked my maps and found that I covered 38 miles today. Not bad for a windy day.
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When I awoke this morning, the sun was just rising over the bluffs on the other side of the
lakes. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the water was as smooth as glass. I couldn't
wait to get on the water!
The day warmed up quickly. By 9:00 a.m. I had to get out my shorts for the second time
since Three Forks.
I wasn't the only one enjoying the beautiful day. There were fishing boats everywhere. I
was hoping to get some free food from a fisherman, but no one offered. It was nice to
have some company, but the boats are noisy and I'm always afraid of getting run over.
I had been paddling south when I reached the point where the lake turned east; it was a
little intimidating. Behind me, the lake stretched uninterrupted to the horizon. The sight
was the same to my right. This is a big lake!
I turned on my cell phone and I had a message from Shawn & Kyle in the canoe. They
were in Williston getting ready to head out on the lake. I'm glad they're all right.
At 3:00 I had to stop for a thunderstorm that was rolling across the lake. It was too early to
set up camp, so I put on my raincoat to wait it out. It rained for two miserable hours before
the storm finally blew over.
I hit the water hoping to paddle until dark. I only made it an hour before the next round of
storms hit. I was able to set up camp before the rain hit, so all of my stuff is dry. I hate
pitching the tent in the rain.
It's been raining for over two hours now, with no end in sight. I'm trying to keep a positive
outlook on the weather situation, but it's hard. I keep telling myself tomorrow will be better,
and it keeps raining. A trip like this isn't supposed to be easy, and if it rains, it rains.
There's nothing I can do but make the best of it.
It poured all night. The rain was hitting my tent fly so hard it was difficult to sleep. The rain
finally tapered off in the early morning and the wind picked up.
When I broke camp, the lake was covered in white caps. I watched the waves crashing
against the shore and decided to wait a while. Maybe things would bet better.
A while later, the wind was still blowing and the waves were still crashing. I decided to
take the boat out and see if things were really as bad as they looked.
There wasn't any good place to launch the boat and I took on several inches of cold water
before i managed to get in the boat and fasten my spray skirt.
I set out into the surf with a wet seat. The waves were nearly four feet tall and hitting me
directly from my left side. Waves were breaking over the deck of the boat and soaking me.
It really was as nasty as it looked.
I pulled into a sheltered by and beached the boat. I was able to get cell reception and
made a few calls before hiking into the hills to do some exploring. I found some more
mushrooms that look like morels. I'll have to ask someone if I can eat them. I wish I had a
paddling partner to test them on.
When I came back from my walk, the lake had calmed enough to head out. I paddled as
hard as I could all day and made great time.
I covered forty miles of rough water today and was absolutely exhausted when I stopped
for the night. The good news is that I made it to the dam and have a portage lined up for
7:00 A.M. tomorrow.
I made it safely across the 150 miles of Lake Sakakawea. There are still plenty of big
lakes ahead of me, but at least they're easier to spell.