Today we traveled 25 or so miles from Iron Bridge Campsite, a beautiful gladed campsite situated in an oak forest with three sided shelter, a picnic table and lush green grass. Because the site is river access only, the only real visitors are canoeists, typically a respectful and tidy bunch. The eight of us enjoyed a wonderful meal of mashed potatoes, green beans, cabbage and sloppy joes as we watched the receding sun set over the expansive marsh that we had paddled just hours before. Bellies full, muscles aching, it only took a few songs on the junior sized guitar by Brett and a couple of nips of whiskey before we crawled into our tents at 9:30, content.
The next morning, we had agreed to get up and on the river by 8, a process which could take less than an hour, but never does. Planning for this, the coffee percolated just after 6:30 and the flurry of activity that is our morning routine was begun. Last boat left the beach at 7:58. Pretty good for 8 humans. We headed to Beminji, the first town that we will hit along the way. There, we had arranged to meet a couchsurfer named Brett. Because of our large group and his home's distance from the river, he instead offered to rent us a campsite at the Beminji Lake State Park. The paddle across the lake was long and arduous, with headwind gusts of 25mph and whitecapped waves always threatening to dump our boat. But spirits were high, a delicious meal was also promised on the other side. Shortly after arriving, the rain came. It is forcasted to rain 2 inches tonight, and, from what i can see, this seems to be true. Luckily we have along with us an enormous tarp (probably 40 feet x 70 feet) that we have rigged up with our as-of-yet unused oars to make quite a circus tent.Brett has made an excellent meal of chicken and rice, green beans, potatoes, and green peppers, all in an incredible thai sauce. That, along with s'mores that he brought and boxed wine that we picked up in bemidji, it is a good night.