Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mississippi: The decision

Two days from Minneapolis Brian and I did some research on the climate charts for the upcoming river segments and came up with shocking results. Not only were we heading into another cold front but also the average temperatures ahead were not promising. We had to eventually face it: We were paddling too late in the year. We had had a late start and had not been able to make up time due to low water levels. The next stretch between Minneapolis to St. Louis would be slow again due to the locks and we would get into St. Louis only around November 1st. Basically we were facing around freezing temps for the whole next months. Brian was especially worried since he tolerates the cold much less than I do and he started to consider quitting. Over and over he said "We are just 2 weeks late." And that gave me the redeeming idea: Why not skip 2 weeks ahead?

Neither of us liked skipping and on our hikes we are usually pretty much purists who insist on connecting steps. But maintaining this purist attitude would make Brian quit the Mississippi and provide a very cold and lonely trip for me. Eventually we decided that this was more a learning trip than a thru paddle and skipping was probably the most sensible decision. The occasion was good as we had already planned two rest days with our former CS hosts in Minneapolis. This would give us the chance to do research and book a rental car. And once the idea was born the details fell into place easily. We will skip ahead from Minneapolis, MN to Davenport, IA. This stretch of 370 river miles would have taken us 15 - 18 days and by skipping we will hopefully be able to get into some decent weather again.

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