Wednesday, October 9, 2013

River Rumble '13 -Day 2A

Bald Eagle
I was happy to see a bald eagle, and not a day would pass throughout the trip without seeing at least one. On one day I counted seven bald eagles and one golden eagle. The golden eagle can be distinguished by being larger than the bald eagle and clearly brown rather than dark brown to black. The beak of the bald eagle is a bright yellow, while that of the golden eagle is partly to mostly black, darkest at the end. The golden eagle can have a 60 square mile hunting area, and dive on its prey at 150 miles per hour.

Our take-out for the first night.
After a break at mid-day, we arrived at our take-out at 3 pm after an 18-mile paddle. We took our canoes and kayaks and placed them in a field of tall grass. At that point I didn’t have the heart to look at Buddy’s bottom and all the scrapes and gouges. I just sat him down in the grass and walked away. If I had known the river would have dished out such abuse at the start of the trip, I would have brought my Royalex canoe instead. I had some reservation about how the ultra-light Kevlar Hornbeck would stand up to such abuse, but it obviously did quite well. I was please in that regard.

This is a brand-new Wenonah canoe after just one day's use.  This
is no reflection on Wenonah, a beautiful canoe, but rather the
rigors of the first day's run.
Our craft would be left there while we camped miles away, but we had members of our group camping with the boats each night for security. We would need to be bused five miles to the Trade River Horse Campground in the Governor Knowles State Forest, near Sunrise, MN. We ran into a bit of a transportation snag with only one bus to move about 200 people, and a half-hour turn-around time for each run. There were also only two porta-potties for the whole crowd. On both counts, patience became the byword. I arrived at the campground after two hours, but there was still one more bus load of people waiting behind us at the take-out. Nevertheless, we all managed to make it work, and had an enjoyable night.

It has to be a nightmare trying to organize a trip for such a large group, and to wed the needs of the group with available facilities along shore. The Great River Rumble depends on a corps of faithful volunteers who handle the chores. Then a couple hosts assume responsibility for coordinating facilities and events at each stop. This usually involves months of meetings and negotiations with city or county councils, park managers, caterers and restaurants, transportation providers, and service providers like septic and solid waste disposal outfits. We’ve been greeted by mayors and park managers, had restaurant and bakery owners come in on days that their businesses were normally closed to accommodate our needs, received presentations from parks and natural resources personnel on local geology, history, natural resources, and wildlife. So, when we encountered a snag, like the bus transportation here, we tried to remember the spirit in which all this work was done on our behalf, and tried to just take a deep breath and remember that it’s all part of the adventure.


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