Days 2 and 3

Day one was was horrible. I can’t express that enough. For a small river, it’s tough. Constant switchbacks, shallow rapids that you have to walk the canoe through and biting spiders.

Day two was much better. There’s not a whole lot to look at. It’s mostly a vast wetland with absolutely no civilization to be found. I didn’t find anyone. I sadly, I was looking. I got tired of talking to the only animal that seemed to take interest in me besides spiders, which was a black bird of sorts. I think I paddled 14 miles that day and stopped at Fox Trap campsite. It was lovely. Along the way I saw snakes, mink, porcupines, deer, beavers, turtles of course, two swans, a hundred ducks, and right before bedtime a small black bear who jumped in the river right below my campsite. I thought it was a dog at first… Lol! Nope. A small black bear.  It’s a shame my phone wasn’t charged or I’d have a lot more pictures.

A small beaver damn by my camp.
Proof of life. Lol
If you look closely, there's a porcupine on the tree. I didn't want to get to close.
My view for nearly 3 days.
Fox Trap campsite.
View from the camp. Where I saw the bear.

Day 3 was nice. I believe I traveled 23 miles, maybe more.  I maneuvered through a gigantic wetland area. Many a paddler have gotten lost in there. I got lucky (not really. I have impeccable navigation skills) and made through in about 2 hours. Lots of really, really big crane like birds in there. I don’t think they’re friendly either.

Today is when I discovered my numerous spider bites. I didn’t let it deter me even though I don’t feel so good. They’re starting to heal a little. Part of my right eye is yellow from the one on my face. I’m good though. 

After leaving what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources considers a true wilderness I finally encountered houses and some traffic. At one point I thought I was lost and canoeing the wrong river! 😉

The joy didn’t last long though. One stretch of the river was littered with fallen trees and submerged logs. It was a task avoiding such obstacles. These things can easily flip a canoe with a swift current. As I rounded a sharp bend, I realised I wasn’t going to clear this barely submerged tree. Well, some how, the river did what it does and forced me over it and I was blinded sided by a large sawed off tree limb. Completely lifted me out of the canoe and tossed me in the water. Thankfully the canoe didn’t tip and just kept going. I managed to catch it and continued on. I do have a nasty cut on my arm from that incident but I think I’ll survive.  At some point I missed my campsite and decided to shoot on in to Bemidji, MN. Currently I’m camped out at the tourist center. The cops said it was fine and they would send patrols to check on me through out the night. Everyone here is so damn friendly! It’s really cool.  Tomorrow I attempt my first lake of size. Hopefully the wind dies down.

That's Rice Lake. The white specks are swans.
Actual size of Paul Bunyan and Babe.

I want to mention that all of the journals written by others who have taken this trip seem to have a cheery attitude towards the setbacks. I’m not that kind of person. I’ll never quit, no matter how hard it gets, but I don’t want you to be lead on with delusions of grandeur. It’s not a leisure float. If you’re a couple thinking of doing the trip in one canoe, DON’T!! Paddle separate watercraft. Unless your bond is unbreakable of course. I screamed and yelled at the wind, birds, rocks, spiders, etc and I’m paddling alone.😂


  1. Can you post your route somehow? Hell, I didn’t know the Mississippi went through Bemidji! My brother lived there for years until recently. Wish I would have been able to make it up there to visit before he moved.


  2. Here’s a map of the route. Or rather the route we took on our 2014 source to sea trip, which used the Atchafalaya exit instead of the New Orleans exit.
    Bennie – I found your site after seeing the little article in the Times Free Press. There is a community of people who have paddled the river in the past, who live along the river, and/or plan to paddle in the future – facebook group “Mississippi River Paddlers”. We all live vicariously by reading blogs like yours, so thanks for writing it and sharing your story.


    1. Hi and thank you! I joined that Facebook page but my request hasn’t been approved yet. I was hoping to meet some experienced paddlers along the way. I’ve received some great tips already that has made my trip a little more comfortable. I feel like I was prepared for most things except the numerous spider bites… Lol! They’re healing nicely though. Thanks for reading my adventures!

      Liked by 1 person

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