Sunday, June 10, 2012

Traveling on the Mississippi

 Living in Northern MN we are exceedingly blessed to have so many various opportunities to spend time out in nature. God is an amazing Creator and I love getting to look and and explore what He has made.

  Ken has been wanting for a while to canoe down the first part of the Mississippi again - we did it with a group from church the summer we were engaged- and so Memorial day weekend seemed like one of the only times open during the Spring. I had wedding flowers to deliver on Saturday so we decided we would leave on Sunday after church and then canoe on Monday and Tuesday too. Our children were able to stay at my parents and they loved that.

Our friend Heidi road with us to Lake Itasca and then took our van back. Off we went.....
 We started out going across part of the lake (at around 2 pm) until we got to the start of the actual river. We had to portage across the rocks at the mouth of the river.
 The beginning of the Mississippi is very narrow and very shallow. Ken walked the canoe along while I walked on the pathway beside. The day was a bit chilly and rain was threatening and I didn't really feel like getting in the river. After a bit I climbed in the canoe but that didn't last very long. This year the river was extremely low (we were hoping to find it higher when going in the Spring) and the canoe had to be walked most of the time for the first mile or so. Oh well!
 We did finally get to be in the canoe and paddle along but before long we came to the tiny falls and needed to portage around it.

After the falls there were a lot of small rapids and lots of rocks and sandbars, with the water so low it made for some interesting canoeing. We did truly enjoy the beauty.
 The campsite that we had figured we would stay at was 17 miles down the river. It took us a bit longer than we hoped and we didn't get there until after the sun set (and after 9 pm) thankfully it wasn't truly dark yet! We sure were ready for supper when we arrived. Ken had purchased canned beef stew (normally I never buy premade soups/stews - but Ken likes this for camping) and it did taste good!
 There used to be a pump at this campsite but it was now gone. We were thankful that Ken had purchased a water filter. I also had water purification tablets and activate charcoal along but we didn't need them.

Ready for another day of canoeing!

 On our second day we had a lot of swamp land to go through. I have never seen so many water fowl (mallard ducks and other varieties of ducks, Canadian geese, a swan and more) in my life. A couple of time we saw duck mothers and a goose mother with their babies and I felt horrible because they would try to go ahead of us to get away and every time the mother would leave her babies behind and with the babies (6 or so of them) all spread out over the river. I sure hope they found them all after the finally gave up and let us pass them.
 We like our maps!  We got out and rested for a bit in the afternoon at another campsite along the way.
 We got in at much better time on Monday evening after going around 21 miles.
 Waterproof bags are very nice for canoeing.
 It is always fun to see what edibles are available along the way. Here is some plantain.
 Tuesday turned out to be a bit more rainy. Thankfully we were prepared. I don't have any rain pants but a tarp lap blanket worked nicely.
 The view of the river winding through the swamp at our campsite.
 Ken in the back of the canoe.
 And me in the front. I enjoyed canoeing through the woods but that got interesting when we found a bunch of log jams.
Ken climbing over a log that was in the middle of the river. I had to get out too and then we pulled the canoe over.

We were going to cross over lake Irving to get to lake Bemidji to quit our trip but I didn't like the white caps on Lake Irving so we ended up quiting there instead.

Our total trip was around 62 miles. We had a fun time exploring and spending time together. We hope to take the kids on another section of the Mississippi later this summer.


Erin said...

Fun! My husband and I were in the Bemidji/Itasca State Park area two summers ago. Wish we'd known you lived so close. Would have loved to meet you!

P.S. How sore were your arms after all that canoeing? :)

Anna said...

Looks like fun. How do you eat plantain? I know they say it is good for sores.

Abbi said...

It would have been fun to meet you too.

According to what I have read you can use small tender leaves in salad or cook them like spinach. I guess you can also use the seeds in baking.


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