Friday, June 01, 2007

Mississippi kayak challenge off to a good start

Kayaking the mighty Mississippi RiverWell, this has certainly been more of a wilderness river adventure than expected. Who would have thought the Upper Mississippi has so much wilderness! Good news for the river and the surrounding environment, no doubt, but quite the challenge for a lonely kayaker trying to access the Internet, cell phone service, and facilities in towns and cities in general. A support team would certainly have been useful more often than not, but part of the goal I set for myself (and the challenge), is to do this solo. I will stick to my decision.

I am doing well and making good progress, but it certainly has not been without challenge, and most days have been eventful, to put it mildly. I've battled 20-35 mph headwinds for days; got blown clear off Lake Pepin by a 35 mph NW wind and had to portage around part of the lake; got rained on for an entire day; had to hide from lightning; had a few very humid days in the high 80's F; some nights in the low 30's; and I came under attack from mosquitoes and misc. aggressive insects, including spiders and biting flies. And, you guessed it, still having a lot of fun.

I've been averaging 25 miles per day, which is good going in these windy conditions. The fact that I don't have to portage around the locks and dams helps a lot - I can go through the locks like any other vessel. This saves me a good two hours each day. Having said that, at some locks I've had to wait an hour or more for barges to clear, but still, I'm ahead of the game. I've passed through 18 locks to date, with 9 more to go.

I'm happy to report that I have the best equipment and supplies for this type of adventure. Everything from having the best kayak for the job, to having exactly the right kind of quality supplements to keep me energized and healthy. Thank you to all my sponsors. I don't mean it lightly when I say that, without their generous product donations and support, I would not have been able to complete the first 40 miles, let alone the 450 miles I've done to date.

I'm stopping at the Schramm House B&B in Burlington, Iowa for a few days to rest, resupply and to update my blog and photo gallery. I posted more images yesterday, and will update my blog later today. Get the full story on my blog!

Remember, you can track my daily progress on the map on my web site

Jacob, a.k.a. The Crazy Kayaker

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