I journaled meticulously during my 52 days on the trail - sometimes to log boring details and other times to record my story. What you are reading is my word-for-word account, logged directly from the two notebooks I filled during my time paddling the NFCT. Some days are short, others are lavish and detailed. There are mistakes, it may not always make sense, but it is certainly a true account of the experience. Enjoy!
It rained last night! Although not nearly enough to make a difference in the river's water level, it is still a sliver of hope that helps me stay positive. I packed up early and cleaned up my boat from last night's struggles. A clean slate can make a world of a difference.
I hit the road, boat in tow, and hiked the busy Highway 3 into Redford where I was praying I would find a diner. I skipped breakfast to get out of the woods quickly, and I was hungry. Unfortunately, I had no such luck. I did find what I considered the next best thing - a great, clean gas station. I parked the boat outside, set up my solar charger to charge my iPod, and went in. I immediately bought two breakfast sandwiches and two coffees. I found a seat in the back where I set up camp. I charged, journaled, reassessed the maps, and filled up waters. All of this helped me feel better about my situation even though things are not looking like they will improve any time soon. I hung out at the gas station for 2 hours. Focus, plan, attack.
I decided not to mess with the clearly too low river, I planned to continue walking the road till Moffitsville, maybe another 5 miles further. There I will rejoin the river on the High Falls Dam carry. I have been told the river narrows there which might make for better flow. Fingers crossed!
On my walk I came to peace with the hardships at hand… I am here because it is hard. I want to take on life's hardships knowing that I have been in worse scenarios and have made it through. It is important to think big picture. The river is strong, but I am stronger. The miles are long, but I will last longer. Go forth with confidence!
I walked with ease down the road until just outside Moffitsville. My camp sandal broke on me, and I paused to switch footwear and to try out some of the Gold Bond powder I had packed. I applied it to both of my feet, they were pretty beat up from last night's panicked-late-night lining. I painfully continued after replacing my broken sandals with the Keens I had worn last night, these shoes unfortunately rubbed right on my injuries.
When I reached the spot where High Falls Dam portage ends I checked the river condition and it was just as bony as before, so I continued down to Picketts Corner. There, I put in at the surprisingly peaceful Bowen Road Bridge put in. The water here was no longer scraping the ground and I was told that I should have a nice flat water run all the way to Cadyville.
I am quickly learning that this is a different game than the Appalachian Trail. The 'trail' here is never guaranteed, in fact you are fortunate if it decides to show up at all for the day. Miles must be attained anyway they can come. I am going to have to bang rock to rock, mile by mile, if I am going to have a shot at Fort Kent.
At Picketts Corner I took my time packing up the boat before getting on the water. The last 24 hours had been hectic and I wanted to return to a peaceful state. Once on the water I enjoyed lovely flat water with adequate flow! I spent the afternoon making my way to Cadyville where I eventually took out at the Cadyville Dam.
I was aware that the next possible campsite wasn’t going to be for another 15 miles (a possible stealth site at Indian Rapids Dam) so I used this portage as an opportunity to scope out a possible stealth option. It was only 3:30 in the afternoon but I needed to secure an option for the night before it was too late (I certainly did not want a repeat of last night's debacle). I debated a few options before settling on a trailside/shoreside spot on the dam hydraulics plant's property.
I waited out the evening and spoke with a few people passing by that were utilizing the recreation area. When dusk arrived I set up my tent and started making dinner. I had cell service - which I am finding to be rare out here, so I made calls and worked on social media. I made a tofu fried rice meal for dinner.
Twice during the night, kids came through to cross the closed bridge and noticed my tent. They would hoop and holler at me, I did not respond, this went on till about midnight.