Where is the Crew?


Current, Dams, and Mandolin Dreams

We finished a long day today. And we are now in the great hospitality of Holly Santiago and her friends. Fortunately, among those friends in a massage therapist who I am trying to convince to offer service. So far, not so good. We woke this morning with strong current. It was hopeful, promising for an easy day. It lasted only a few miles. We always seem to be paddling across an endless lake. Current is weak, sometimes nonexistent, and the wind is always at our face. Hair gets pushed toward the stern. Faces get flush from wind instead of sun. The reeds dancing at the surface of the River let us know there is indeed a current. Again, it's hopeful.
The dams are to blame. They create huge reservoirs, several miles long. The portages, therefore, have also become abundant. We're getting better and more efficient, hauling gear, then canoes. Oscar brought a skateboard. We teased him at first until we began setting the canoes atop it and skating our canoes around the dam. These dams are mighty structures. But it's sad to see so many obstacles interfering with the natural course of the River. Hard to believe this is only the beginning of them. we wonder each time what the River used to be like.
Brett bought a mandolin to complement the community guitar and harmonicas. Everyone fiddles around on the instruments. The twang rings throughout the campsite and around the fire. Those who are early to bed fall asleep to the stringy beats and harmonica toots. For some reason, it all sounds better in a tent after a tough day. The aching backs and weary triceps soon give in to the gentle cadence of the tunes and we fall smoothly into mandolin dreams. 


  1. this sounds beautiful

  2. Michael, you are a beautiful writer. So happy to hear about your adventures and new friends on the river. Peter and I , along with Bev & Jack, are looking forward to your festival in St. Paul on Saturday! Can't wait to see you all. (especially, Lou)

  3. cooooooooooool. come and stay at my house.