The wetlands continued for the duration of today’s journey, save a brief one-mile stretch of pine forest which harbored light rapids. Thankfully these rapids, called Stumphges, were free of rocks and we passed through them uneventfully. Indeed, we found the rapid progress and the focus and attention it commanded preferable to the meandering and lugubrious wetland stream.
Through these marshes the channel becomes frequently difficult to locate. The serpentine nature of its course suffers us to travel river miles at nearly a five-to-one ratio with the crow’s mile. Our rate of travel is severely reduced as well, as the sharp bends deprive us the momentum we labored to achieve during the brief straight sections. By observing the grasses along the river’s bottom, and the direction in which they bent, we were able to confidently select the appropriate fork at each time the waters diverged.
At times a small passage, no wider than 3 feet, would present itself as an opportunity to slip among the grasses and allow us to take the shortest path between the twin ends of a lengthy hairpin. We were thus ever alert to this opportunity.
These lands seem exceptionally fecund—as we paddled John would point out the wild rice growing bright green along the banks, or the blueberries just beginning to flower on the hillside. A great many brown and fluffy cattails now line the banks as well. The mosquitoes have been but a mild nuisance, and do not bother us at all when underway, and for this I am thankful! Two days of constant paddling have now begun to manifest in my untrained, novice frame—my back and shoulders so stiff that it takes the utmost effort to merely rise.
Day 2: 22 miles