Travel report

Posted by George on Jul 24, 2004

Well, ladies and germs, it's that time again! Trip reports; post early, and often... Me first. I pulled work detail for this weekend, so was anxious to get out on the water. Friday afternoon cooperated, with overcast skies, and a light breeze, so it' wasn't terribly hot. I threw my supplies in the yak, and put in at our local marina, then headed north of town. Chamberlain sits about 17 miles downriver (south) of Big Bend Dam, on the Missouri River (SD). I suppose it's probably 1 mile across in most parts, and when the wind comes up (sometimes unexpectedly), it gets interesting FAST! Not a problem today; pretty calm water, as I hit a nice cadence, heading upriver against the current. I don't have GPS, but a friend who does tells me I paddled about 10 miles upstream. In previous posts, I've noted the cutbanks and towering bluffs notable for this part of the river. We've had a pretty wet year, and the hills are still green. There's usually an abundance of wildlife, and today was no exception, even in broad daylight. Deer on shore, beaver, muskrat, and the usual jumping fish, as well as the carp that you surprise (and they surprise you) when you sneak up on them.

Aside from an occasional fishing boat, I had the river to myself. Ten miles north, there are a large number of stumps, remnants of a bottom=land forest before the valley was flooded by the dam system 50 years ago. It was interesting paddling through this 'minefield', making corrections for the current. I could see the dam just to the west of me, but decided to save the trip for next time.

It's always interesting to me how different things look from the river. I've driven by all of this 'real estate' before, but you see things from the water you've never seen while driving. I'm familiar with most of the 'real estate' as I've driven by. By water is a different perspective.

As I headed home, I decided to beach it along one of the coves in the cutbanks; but as I drew near, I heard a 'growling'. I couldn't tell where it was coming from, but it was sure persistent, and 'it' wasn't retreating. It sounded like a big cat; at first I reasoned it was a feral cat; but too loud, and deep; Maybe a bobcat? We've had a real jump in that population, of late. But I supposed it could be a mountain lion; we've had several sighted in our area lately, and the news is filled with sightings. I figured the call of nature would have to wait, pulled out into deeper water, and headed on in! All in all, an interesting, but not too, paddle.

BTW, Gene alluded to paddlers passing through our area for Lewis and Clark. If you're head this way, give us a headsup.