Monday, April 20, 2015
The rain finally stopped overnight, but the wind increased, which was a good thing, at first, because it helped to dry out our tent. However, the wind became quite a factor as the day progressed.
John disappeared for a little while after breakfast – I had no idea what he was up to. (It’s always a little scary when John disappears.) All I heard was John saying, “You’re gonna be happy!” I emerged later from the tent to the sight of a tarp set up as a wind break and the emergency foil blanket laid out as a makeshift table for breakfast. John was right – I was so happy! We enjoyed beef and bean burrito dinner for breakfast – I think we may have breakfast for breakfast tomorrow.
As we were packing up, the drying the wind had caused was a waste as it began to rain again. Oh well, this is the trip.
We were finally on the river again after a great day of relaxation! However, today was the coldest, rainiest, and windiest day we’ve encountered so far. We had a mph wind in our face with gusts of 40 – 50 mph. These wind conditions created white cap waves breaking over our bows. Our cockpit skirts were a must today! Not only was the wind in our face, but the rain was also. Combined with the wind, the rain became like small pebbles hitting our face. Not pleasant!
We did have a respite from the elements of nature when we stopped at Fort Ouiatenon. After parking on the kayak-friendly boat ramp, we walked to the top and found a beautiful park – this would have been a great place to camp with restrooms, water, electricity, picnic tables, and trash cans. (all the comforts of home) This fort was built to protect Indian-French trading routes. It appears after May 30 the museum and several “displays” will be open. What a great place to bring kids!
After our history lesson, we returned to the river and the weather. In the midst of the wind and rain, some swallows “played” with us by swooping down and barely missing us. It reminds me of mowing the yard at home as our barn swallows perform the same antics. It makes me smile when animals “play” with humans.
Another animal adventure we spotted was what looked like three Bald Eagles having a domestic battle (as seen of TV). One was carrying a fish, while pursued by another. The first eagle dropped it’s fish, which the pursuer deftly snatched out of mid-air. Pretty cool.
Then paddle, paddle, paddle……… until it was finally time to find a place to camp. This is not always as easy as it is in the movies, you don’t just pull up to a sandy beach any time you desire. We actually tried three different spots until we found the perfect spot. Today we needed to make sure we were able to get the boats far enough on the shore because with the rains yesterday, the river is starting to rise. As a matter of fact, we saw more debris today, which is evident of flooding upstream. There are flood warnings so we will need to keep a watch on the river levels the next few days.
The place we decided to stay is an island, again. This time it is much quieter than yesterday. The only things we have heard (beside the wind) are raccoons fighting (a fairly common occurrence amongst the coon population) and a turkey, which we saw fly onto our island at dusk, gobbling. (The turkey gobbled as a direct response to the raccoon fighting, perhaps telling them to “shut up!”)
Because of the wind, John put up a tarp as a wind break. However, the sand made it impossible to get a stake to stay in place so he found logs to use as anchors and buried them in the sand. That worked great!
After a spaghetti dinner with garlic croutons and Parmesan cheese with mud pie for dessert, we gathered our items, John moved the boats to higher ground because the water had risen, and retreated to the tent to get out of the cold and wind. The wind!!!