Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keeping tabs on the weather

The Augusta, MO, landing

Celebrating 500 miles milestone

500 down and less than 60 to go

500 miles and counting!

I've hit that magical milestone of 500 miles paddled for this trip. Not a bad tally for 14 days of actually being on the river. Doing the math, I've averaged 36 miles per day. I tried to put it in perspective and Mapquested a route across Nebraska and it turns out that I've paddled the distance from Omaha, NE, to Cheyenne, WY. Fortunately, the scenery on this trip is much better than that of the I-80 corridor!

I piddled around this morning at the New Haven waterfront and didn't get on the river until a little after 9:00 a.m. One chap stopped and talked to me about river conditions and how things have been coming down from Jefferson City. He's waiting on a group of paddlers to come through in the next 24 hours and stop for lunch before continuing on to Washington, MO. That's the second rumor I've heard of other paddlers being on the river behind me but I've yet to encounter anyone else using muscle power to drive their boat. In fact, I've only seen two barges on the river and a few dozen motor boaters, mostly people fishing. It's been a real secluded stretch of water the last few weeks and I'm not complaining.

Today's paddling was a real contrast with yesterday. The water dropped about 2.5 feet overnight and I had trouble putting in as the landing at New Haven was covered with about a foot of thick, slimy silt. I hauled my boat and gear down to another location to make a bank launch and was just about to shove off when the city dozer came to clean up the mess. Timing never seems to be on my side.

That water was as smooth as a mirror and little wind so I made good time down to Augusta. There's a nice campground for bikers on the Katy Trail here but it turns out that it's about a mile from the landing. Not real useful to us paddlers and nothing new in terms of being ignored when the powers that be were planning these landings and camp areas. People tell me all the time the location of different facilities and all I can say is that if it's not 50 feet from shore it's useless to a paddler.

When I got to the Augusta landing the ramp was clogged with silt and debris. Some yahoo designed this one with the landing facing into the current. It is choked and useless as a boat ramp until the State comes and clears it. I paddled up and down the shore and eddy to find a way to pull out and ended up hauling my canoe and gear up a 10 foot bank. One good thing about paddling 4-5 hours a day for two weeks straight, the arms don't lack for strength when tossing a 30 or 40 pound bag.

Since there's nothing here I'm just chilling and watching the day go by. I have two more days of paddling and one more night of camping. Where did the time go?