“Spend as much time as possible on mountains, in small boats, or otherwise out in the weather; if you never get wet, cold, exhausted or scared, you won’t properly appreciate being dry, warm, rested and safe.” ~ Peter Jay

"I’m an adventuring river rat at heart. Put me on a floating piece of driftwood and I’m happy." ~ Christina Glauner

"There’s folly and foolhardiness on one side and daring and calculation on the other." ~ C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels

Monday, August 6, 2012

West Bend to Chamberlain

I met Roger and Matt at the North Shore campground on Friday, August 3rd, night. It is a primitive campground with no fees, located above the Big Bend Dam. It was getting plenty of use from fisherman with fifth wheel campers because the nice campground below the dam is closed for repairs from last year's flooding.

After some breakfast sandwiches, prepared by Roger, we loaded all three boats on my pickup. We dropped Matt's pickup off at the Good Soldier boat ramp and headed north to West Bend.

We had a stiff tailwind in the 20s mph with gusts into the 30s mph. We did some playing around surfing the waves. Matt even practiced his wet exit and re-entry! As we approached the dam, the waves went from 3' crashing waves to 5' or 6' rollers. We could easily lose sight of each other's boats and, sometimes, each other's heads. We managed to break 10 mph surfing the rollers! Matt hit a max speed of 10.8 mph, I hit 10.5 mph, and Roger hit 9.5 mph. We concluded day 1 with 21.1 miles and have now paddled the length of Lake Sharpe (in three trips).

 We camped at the North Shore campground again on Saturday. I cooked us up some double cheeseburgers for supper. We had a fisherman stop by that was impressed with our day's feat in the wind too.

On Sunday, we again had breakfast sandwiches, courtesy of Roger. We dropped my pickup off at the American Creek marina in Chamberlain. We began day two on the water from the left tailrace of the Big Bend Dam. The wind shifted on us overnight. We faced winds in the teens mph with gusts in the low 20s all day. It was a fairly uneventful paddle. We covered 18.3 miles on day 2.

All still images are courtesy of Matt Story.

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