Monday, August 4, 2008

Great River Rumble July 28: Downsville to Durand, WI. 16 miles

We started out in the Red Cedar River, right where we left off the previous day. The first 8 miles were on that river, with a few fast places, not enough to really call rapids. We stopped for lunch on a rocky shore right before entering the Chippewa River (8 miles). It was interesting how the character of the river changed--the Red Cedar was fairly clear, shallow and fast. Once we got into the Chippewa River, the color changed--now it was almost blood red, due to its course though an area rich in iron ore.

We stopped at 11 miles for a long break. We swam in the river and had "float races" in the swift current. We lined up in our PFDs and floated with the current--it was amazing how some people always were faster than others... not sure what the difference was. I was not fast. There were more bald eagles soaring above us, and one pelican.

We pulled ashore at Durand and set up camp in the town park. It was a 6 block walk to the high school for a shower and it was worth every step--showers were hot. We were plenty tired after paddling 16 miles, and many of us were concerned about the following day, the longest of the tour. If it took us all day to paddle 16 miles, how long would it take us to go 33 miles????

We ordered sack lunches for the following day, had dinner in town, and hit the tent early. Unfortunately there was a group who stayed late at the bar and made a lot of racket, waking us up in the middle of the night. That's the problem with camping so close together--the town park barely had room for all our tents. The boat count today was 121, a record number for the Great River Rumble.

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