September 12, 2011 – Day 4 – 23.5 miles
The swamps have gradually transitioned inot a forest floodplain. As I float down the river I am surrounded by elms, maples, and cottonwoods that create living arches over the river. Over time, some of these trees have fallen into the riverbed. In most cases, the only way past them is over them, or occasionally, under them. The river is narrow and swifter in these parts than in days past. Logs, rocks, and sharp turns make this section more exciting to paddle through. I’m learning how to read the ebbs and flows of the river and my strokes are becoming more fine tuned. I hope that both of these improvements will serve me well here and when I get to bigger water.
I crossed Lake Irving at sunset while fighting a tough crosswind that pinned me against the southern shore. The bright lights of the city of Bemidji shone against the lakeshore as I cruised onto the beach. Before finding a place to rest I took the chance to hang out with some locals the the fishing pier, and by doing so, concluded 78 hours of complete solitude.
Big thank you to Officer Mike, coffee shop John, paddler Diane, and hunter Ed.
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.” — Henry David Thoreau