Last River Blast


I’d been wanting to get back out to the river for several weeks, but other responsibilities kept me from getting the boat out.  When I got back from Sioux Falls yesterday afternoon, I thought, now or never!

When I opened the back of the truck, the dog thought to jump in, and I told her no.  She got a kind of mopey look about it until she saw what I was loading in the back and tying down.  Her ears perked up: Could it be?  Could it be?  Are we really going to the river?!?!

The plan was to get out there and pack up whatever gear was left from our campsite–whatever I could lash to my kayak–and head back before dark.  Ah, plans.

As I was unloading at the dock, a friend showed up with his kayak, and then more friends showed up on the island in another half hour or so.  They have a little “once a month dip club,” that involves stripping down and jumping in the river at least once in every month of the year.  Why not?

Let me tell you, even on a warm, warm day in Indian Summer, the Missouri River is cold as hell.  It has been snowing for a month at least where that water comes from.  But, you know, it’s really not that bad.  Once you get back out and dressed, that is.

The sun went down.  We built a fire.  There was wine and food and conversation.  I swear if I’d had my bag, I would’ve just bedded down out there and waited til morning to make the crossing with my boat loaded down with two chairs, a table, a shovel and rake and fire grate and coffee pot.

But it was chilling down, and I hadn’t brought any extra layers, and the fire was getting low.  We kept edging in closer to it, enjoying the night and putting off the inevitable.  Eventually, at about 10pm, with the moon and stars and the park lights guiding our way, we lit out for the boat ramp.

I suppose I shouldn’t say this is the “last” river blast.  Today is another beautiful day, and the low tonight looks to be warm enough for a lightweight bag.  Hmm.  The kayak is still in the truck….

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