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Stopped just short

Posted by on February 9, 2013

Today’s miles: 5.1
Trip: 1502.6 miles

I am essentially done with my expedition, but I stopped just a tenth of a mile short of completion. This was so that friends could celebrate the conclusion of the trip with me next Wednesday. This was the toughest section yet, although yesterday was the tougher day, due to its longer mileage. Today’s 5.1 miles took right at five hours, over half of which was spent out of the boat, wading through the ~40 degree water, dragging the boat behind me. Early on, I was forced to wade chest-deep, which really ate away at my body heat. I kept moving, though, and was able to keep my core temperature up,to a functional level. One unfortunate result of the cold, though, is that I seem to have injured a big toe. I thought that my foot moved rather badly on a rock at one point, but both feet were pretty numb, so I couldn’t really tell. Judging by the color of the toe and the pain, I guess that I was right. It will heal, though. (Reminds me of 7th grade dance class: “Heal, toe, heal, toe…”)

I had a surprise visit from Ben LaChance and his grandson, Jackson, just downriver of where I stopped for the day. Ben sold me my first canoe, introduced me to canoe travel, and is a living example of what a productive, responsible citizen should be. Ben was the first person I ever met who went down the river by himself for the sole purpose of cleaning up other people’s trash.

My incredible wife, Kathy, an accountant in tax season, took off work to meet me with a bottle of champagne for our own private celebration. She remains my number one supporter and best friend. In spite of the pressures of running her business and her many civic activities, she has resupplied me, picked me up, taken me to the river, shopped, shipped supplies, and provided constant comfort and encouragement by cellphone and email. I still don’t know how I got so lucky.

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