Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 12 - on Fort Peck Lake


I spoke with Joe, again very briefly, yesterday afternoon. He was already in the tent, after an early morning of paddling, trying to take a little shelter before the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in. It was another shorter day mileage wise, as compared to before the lake, but still a decent one nonetheless, with 25 miles paddled. He said he was camped 2-3 miles away from the “F bouy” past the 9th ridge. I actually don't know where that is located on the map, but I believe it is where his last spot beacon update was sent from.

Today, Joe is trying to put himself in a position to be off the lake sometime tomorrow. He told me yesterday that he thought he could make it to the marina in a day and a half. The marina he is talking about, I believe, is located in the small town of Fort Peck. With not too much news from Joe, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the history of said town. Fort Peck was originally a boom town for the workers building the new dam in the 1930's. The dam itself is a product of FDR's new deal; it was an attempt to decrease unemployment while constructing a great public work. A copy of FDR's speech at the Fort Peck Dam site can be found here.

A photograph taken during the construction of Fort Peck Dam

Americans took pride in the construction of the dam, as it was depicted on the cover of Life Magazine on November 23, 1936 (photograph by Margaret Bourke-White).

Construction of the dam was not without mishap though. On September 22, 1938, a mistake in the elevation of pipeline caused a large scale slide of the dam. Over 5 million cubic yards of earth ended up sliding out in the Missouri, along with eight workers, who lost there lives that day. The complete story can be found here. More information on the dam can be found on wikipedia, as well as a privately maintained website.

I plan to catch up with Joe tonight, so if the spot beacon is being faulty, which was not the case yesterday, I will be able to make an update on Joe's location.

Paddle on,


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