Prefatory Note: I am posting reports, photos and videos almost every day on my eightsummits Facebook page
Pickstown, South Dakota
October 29, 2023
Dear Family & Friends:
October 21. We attended Bailey & Jason’s wedding in Palm Springs, California. Bailey is our first grandchild. This was a really fun and memorable weekend. Everyone had such a good time. The setting at the hotel in the mountains above Palm Springs was absolutely beautiful.
October 23. We have a long way to go to repair the significant damage to our condominium in Palm Desert, California. But, things are stabilized to the point I can return to finish my journey on the Mighty Mo. I flew back to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Roger picked me up at the airport and drove me to Roger and Cheryl’s home. where I organized all my gear.
October 24. Roger & Cheryl transported my canoe and me to Dock 44 Marina on Francis Case Lake, which is where the last segment of my trip ended. The weather was bitter cold.I launched around 2pm and made good progress, peddling about 10 miles to Platte Creek Recreation Area where I set up camp.
October 25. I paddled to the North Wheeler Recreation Area. The Fall colors in the trees are spectacular. It was a good day, until it became a bad day. As I was unloading my canoe to set up camp on a hill overlooking the North Wheeler Bay, it started to rain hard. All my gear, including my clothes were drenched in the rain. This made for a very cold and uncomfortable night.
October 26. This morning, I started paddling from the North Wheeler Recreation Area. After traveling about 5 miles, I pulled into a bay to escape the roiling waters on Francis Case Lake. My plan was to paddle the last 10 miles to Fort Randolph Dam tomorrow. Then, Bob Foley would pick me up and portage my canoe and me to the Missouri River on the other side of the Dam. I set up camp at the Pease Creek Boat Ramp. The weather was extremely cold (in the 30’s) and the wind was blowing hard, which increased the “real feel” cold air temperature. Most of my clothes were wet from the rain at North Wheeler. In short, I was miserable. In fact, it was so cold I took shelter in a concrete vault toilet where I cooked dinner. I even thought about sleeping in the vault toilet instead of my tent in order to escape from the bitter cold.
Cheryl texted me, warning me that things will get ugly the next two days with colder temps, high winds and extremely rough water on the Lake. Bill & Tim, two local fishermen, pulled up to my campsite in their car and asked about my canoe and my plans. They warned me not to get back on the water for the next two days because the weather is going to make a significant change for the worse. They told me the forecast calls for weather in the low 20s, snow flurries, high winds and high waves on the Lake. As I spoke with them, I was shivering from the cold weather. Bill & Tim came back to my campsite twice to make sure I was okay. I called Bob Foley, and he picked me up and transported my canoe and me to Pickstown, South Dakota. I am staying with Larry & Deb Lucas, who are Bob’s friends. I took a much-needed shower and changed into warm clothes. Bob, Larry and I then went to dinner. Deb was out of town. I enjoyed a good night’s sleep in a warm bed.
October 27. In spent the day in Pickstown. I washed and dried all my wet clothes and gear. Larry guided me on a wonderful walking tour that gave me fantastic views of Francis Case Lake, the Dam and the Missouri River. I could see whitecaps on the River which confirmed this was not a day to be on the water in a canoe. Larry then drove me into Wagner, where I resupplied and we had a nice lunch. With help from Cheryl, I ordered a dry suit from Amazon, which will arrive in the next few days and will be delivered to me by Bob down River. Hopefully, this dry suit will keep me warm and protected while on the water. Deb arrived home from her trip and fixed a wonderful Swedish meatball dinner, capped with ice cream and peaches. We watched the first game of the World Series. Bummer of an outcome! I have family affiliated with the D-Backs.
October 28. Another lazy day. We watched football on television in the afternoon. It started to snow at 1:30pm and continued snowing all afternoon. In the evening, we watched the second game of the World Series. Much better outcome.
Tomorrow, I will be back on the River at 8am.
I extend my heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful people who have helped me on my return, including Roger, Cheryl, Bob, Larry, Deb, Bill & Tim.