Monday, 8 October 2012

Mississippi: Grand Rapids

In Grand Rapids we were nearly ecstatic that we had made it despite the horrible weather but as soon as we had beached we sought shelter in the warm Ranger office and tried to defrost. There are two dams in Grand Rapids with long portages and the local power company provides free shuttles to paddlers. When we called them to pick us up they nearly thought it was a practical joke as they did not expect anyone to be paddling in this miserable weather. Frank, the guy who came to pick us up, greeted us with "You guys out here to prove something or what?" He had brought a canoe trailer and we were worried how our rather fragile canoes would fare on it. Frank drove very slowly and to our great relief the kayaks survived.


But at the put in place another surprise was waiting for us. Construction work was going on. We intended to camp there and were now wondering what to do. The construction work actually turned out to be a great help as the workers promised to have an eye on our stuff while we were shopping in town. And so we quickly pitched our tents and made our way to a great Chinese AYCE buffet to stuff our faces and defrost. Although being camped right in town and the temps dropping below freezing I got a good night's sleep.

I also want to mention that we had two surprise visitors in Grand Rapids. Peter and Robin, our CS hosts from Minneapolis, turned up on their way to a cabin for a long weekend. They even brought me a sweater that I had forgotten in their house. But most importantly they reassured us that this cold weather is unusual for this time of the year. We hope to see them again when we pass through Minneapolis.

Next day was all a big rush. Brian had to get a package from the post office, we had to do a resupply and buy more gear, and I still had hopes to repair my stove. And of course we wanted to eat as well. We got everything done eventually but it was hard work. Luckily Grand Rapids had a big outfitter where we could buy rubber boots and warm socks. And just as we were to set out in out kayaks, Alex, a solo canoeist showed up and we all spend the night in the next camp site down the river.

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