August 27, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
What I love most about this trip is that every day presents a new challenge. Here is yesterday’s challenge.
My last report ended with my stealth camp at Heytmen’s Landing, Iowa. The weather report called for an 80% chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms throughout the night and into the next day.
I woke up on August 26 to dark and cloudy skies. The air was wet and heavy, signaling rain was imminent. The next leg of my trip was a four mile paddle across Lake Winneshiek to the Wisconsin side of the River. It is extremely dangerous to be on a river during a thunderstorm because of the risk of lightning. Lightning will seek the highest spot on water and can travel through water. People on water have been killed by direct and indirect lightning strikes. Do I try to cross the lake as fast as possible or wait until the skies clear? If the rain, thunder and lightning begin while I am in the middle of the lake, I will have no place to seek shelter. What would you have done?
#livelikedan. I launched at 8:30am and paddled as hard and as fast as possible. My average canoe speed is approximately 4 mph. But, my paddle speed on lakes is a little slower because of the wind and lack of current. I reached the other side of the lake in just over one hour. I was so glad to reach the shoreline. I immediately looked up and said “thanks.” About two miles downstream, I passed through Lock No. 9 and reentered the River. It felt so good to be back in the current. Snug as a bug in the rug.
Now, I had another choice. Do I spend the night in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin or Marquette, Iowa. Most paddlers stop in Prairie du Chien because it is a much bigger city. I chose Marquette because it is a small, quaint River city. I am staying at the Cobblestone Inn & Suites. I visited a winery and a riverboat casino. Sorry, Iowa, but California has better wines. Sharon and her friend, Pat, will be disappointed that I didn’t put even one nickel in a slot machine.
I logged 20 miles for the day. Nothing to write home about, but it was fun. It was cloudy all day, but no rain. It started raining at 7pm. Hopefully, clear skies on August 27.
I have been on the River 31 days and have paddled 707 miles from Lake Itasca. My next milestone is to reach 1,000 miles.