After spending a very lovely evening at the Bromenschenkel residence, I launched about 9 am looking to arrive in Grand Rapids early in the afternoon. It was very overcast and chilly. There was a strong wind from the east making it difficult to make progress. Slowly but surely I inched toward my goal. Blackwater Lake was terrible. The wind and wild rice really slowed things down. Naturally I made paddling much harder than it should have been. I could clearly see where the channel was, but instead of following free-flowing water, I would cut across beds of wild rice to avoid a big curve in the river. Do not do that! Follow the flowing river no matter what you think. Trust me, it’s always faster and less exhausting.
I fought my way forward and finally got some relief from the wind on the other side of Blackwater Lake. As I moved forward, checking my compass regularly, I noticed a house with two airplanes parked in front on the water. I was in awe. I couldn’t understand how the Mississippi River was big enough for such luxuries. About an hour later I discovered I was no longer on the Mississippi River!!😠. Things just weren’t adding up. Why does the water keep going south? Why is this body of water so big? Somehow I ended up on the eastern shore of Pokegama Lake. Talk about heartbreak! 😭
Before I left the Bromenschenkel’s, Sandy had warned me to make an immediate left after passing the power plant. The power plant was huge and you can’t miss it, but I never saw a river outlet leading out of Blackwater Lake. Apparently the wild rice hid the view from me. I did notice a red and green buoy to the east marking the river channel. I wasn’t paying attention to the colors marking the direction and just blindly followed the buoys. Remember kids, red right returning upstream.
Lucky for me I met John back at Lake Winnibigoshish when I pulled ashore to bail out water. If you remember he’s the DNR guy. He’s lives in Grand Rapids and offered to take me around town when I arrived there. I gave him a call and humbly asked for a ride. We got a pretty good laugh out my mistake. Mostly because of how far I traveled on the wrong body of water… Lol! Anyway, he helped me set up camp at the library and then showed me a great Chinese buffet. Life is good again! 😉