Crazy James Landing to Sucher’s Campsite

Sucher’s Campsite

August 3, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

August 2 was a super fun and eventful day.  We were on the water at 7:30 am and the conditions could not have been better. The current was running at 1-2 miles per hour and we never ran into headwinds. Adding our paddling power, we moved at about 4 miles per hour. With these conditions, we were able to bump up our daily distance travelled to 30 miles. Fortunately, there were no portages.

The scenery was outstanding. The scudding clouds and tall pine and spruce trees reflected off the shimmering and placid River. Loons could be seen dive bombing for fish. At our approach  herons lifted off from from the tall reeds alongside the River and slowly and gracefully negotiated a wide arc in the sky. Ducks and ducklings skidded across the water to make their escape from a nonexistent, although perceived, threat. More than once a colorful dragonfly positioned himself at the bow of my canoe and guided me for ten to twenty yards, either as a friendly gesture or an attempt to escort me away from his mosquito/fly hunting grounds.

At mile 24, we were greeted by a yard sign that said “Paddlers Welcome.” We stopped and were greeted by Sandy and Jeff Bromenschenkel, who own the home along the River.
Sandy and Jeff are “River Angels.” River Angels reside all along the River and host paddlers in their homes, offering them food, drink, shelter, a shower, laundry of filthy clothes and even lodging. We took advantage of all these accommodations. After we showered, they drove us to Deer River, where we enjoyed a great dinner in a combo restaurant/bowling alley. After dinner, they drove us to a food store so we could resupply. That night, we slept in a bunkhouse next to their home. In the morning, Sandy and Jeff made us a wonderful breakfast-wild blueberry pancakes with fresh picked blueberries and home made maple syrup, sausage and eggs. Yummy!! After breakfast, we bid these wonderful folks farewell and headed down the River.

We offer our heartfelt thanks to Sandy and Jeff and all of these River Angels. Today, I was contacted by River Angels near Brainerd. We will be staying with them.
Today, we travelled 22 miles to Sucher’s Campsite. There were two more portages around dams. A friend of Jeff met us in Grand Rapids and helped with the second portage. He had a truck so we could drive our canoes and gear to the reentry point near a public library.
The day was uneventful until we reached a point about two miles from Sucher’s Campsite. At that point, the wind picked up substantially and the River became very rough. Suddenly, I was greeted by a thunderbolt that sounded like a bomb exploded within feet of my canoe. I was nearly jolted from my seat. Several more strikes occurred and were followed by a torrential rainfall. We all pulled off the River and sought shelter from the storm. Lightning is extremely dangerous to River travelers because lightning seeks the highest point on water and can travel through water. Fortunately, we all made it to camp safely and are sitting around a campfire seeing who can  tell the best lie.


8 thoughts on “Crazy James Landing to Sucher’s Campsite

  1. Hey Bill-
    I am Lisa’s friend, Sheree. I followed your Everest blog and am excited to follow this one as well. You are an inspiration. I love the River Angels story – what a blessing of offerings and friendship! I wish you well with every paddle stroke. I know you have Danny right there with you and I pray that my angel boy (Harrison) is along for the ride as well. They were both lovers of life and would both be down for this kind of challenge. Be safe, be happy <3

  2. Looks like this trip has become very entertaining meeting new friends along the way how exciting until you mentioned the scary lightning experience please be careful sure glad you are with some nice people and enjoying each day

  3. Dear Bill,
    Rich & I are enjoying your newest story of your water adventure! Safe travels down the Mighty Miss & we look forward to reading more fabulous chapters! May the gentle CFS be with you! Hugs from 10k’ Jill & Rich Smith – Leadville, CO

  4. Bill, So loving your posts on this trip. Love the River Angels. What a great service. One of my favorite people on earth, now passed on, was from Bimidji. He told such great stories about it.

  5. Bill, it was great meeting you and now that I have time to look at your blog I wish you could have stayed longer as I would love to hear more about Everest. You have been blessed with being able to take such wonderful adventures. I wish you well and hope that the Mississippi is good to you. As I already told you – you and your family are welcome back anytime, and we won’t make you paddle!!

  6. Dear Bill,
    I enjoy learning from your travels, not only about the warmth and friendliness our fellow Americans along the river, but new phrases like “scudding clouds”.
    You must’ve had some military thoughts on your mind. In your artfully written paragraph about “lift off “, ”perceived threat”, scudding clouds”, and “divebombing.”

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