First off, for all those following closely, the spot beacon is having problems with signal quality in this remote section of the journey. Therefore, the GPS updater for Joe is behind. He is currently camped 4 miles west of Bone Trail Campground on Fort Peck Lake, Montana.
The satellite phone service is not the best of quality in this section as well. He is having a few issues charging the phone battery, so our conversations, as of late, have been short.
I spoke with him briefly yesterday afternoon, as he had settled into camp at Devil’s Creek Campground. It was another long day; he was trying to put as many miles in as he could before the thunderstorms were set to hit the region. Joe was very optimistic, even after these successive 50+ mile paddling days. The approach to the lake was awesome; it was a meandering path through the marshes and delta. The marsh was full of wildlife; the mallard ducks were huge in number, flocks all around the kayak. He mentioned that there were also plenty of beavers on this side of Fort Peck Lake, contributing to a picturesque day on approach to Fort Peck Lake.
Today, when I spoke to Joe, he seemed a little more frustrated at the progress he was making. He was only able to manage an 18 mile day as there was a strong headwind coming off the lake that made travel very difficult. He told me that tomorrow would be an early one, in an attempt to beat the headwind and hopefully make more progress than today. Fort Peck Lake is his first real reservoir challenge and he is enjoying it, regardless of the extra effort he is putting in. The updates will probably be brief until he makes it to the other side of the reservoir, where there might be better service.
Joe made time to mention one of the water’s more unique creatures, the American paddlefish. They are a unique type of fish, a ray-finned fish under the classification Chondrostei, which also includes the sturgeon. It is prized for its caviar as well as great sport fishing, however; normal lures do not work with it as it is a filter feeder. The most reliable method is to snag the fish, which can grow to enormous sizes, up to 220 lbs. The population has been altered by the appearance of dams throughout the Missouri, but the population is not in danger of extinction.
I will to update the blog on a regular basis in the coming days with Joe’s actual location on the Lake, as the spot beacon will be in and out of service. Hope everyone had a great weekend, despite the Lakers winning and the Red Wings losing, but there is always next season (and onto football season and the Broncos!)