Friday, July 31, 2009

Miami, MO and Glasgow, MO

(Sunset on "Miami Beach")

From Lexington, Joe put in a 53 mile day to arrive in Miami, Missouri on Thursday. The weather was better, with the temperature remaining in the low 80’s all day. The manageable heat and humidity continued on today as well. Upon arrival, he headed into the local trading post, located in a local’s home, and got a few hamburgers, which he said were amazing after a decent day on the river. Miami is a very small town, but still has some internet history on the area. Feel free to visit to learn more on the area in Saline County, Missouri (A small coincidence that our grandfather and grandmother live in Saline, Michigan).

(I had the Will Smith song stuck in my head the whole time I was camped here and couldn't help but laugh.)

(The Trading Post at Miami where I had my hamburgers)

The following day (Friday), Joe paddled a relaxing 37 miles on the river, traveling to another historic city on the river, Glasgow, Missouri. On October 15, 1864, the town hosted the Battle of Glasgow. It was part of Major General Sterling Price’s Missouri Expedition in the Civil War. We met Price in the last blog as he was the commanding officer in the first Battle of Lexington in 1861. Price’s Missouri Expedition was a diversionary tactic to try and draw the Union away from the struggling Confederate forces in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. In Glasgow, the confederates were led by Brigadier General John Bullock Clark, Jr., who began attacking the town at 5 am, driving the Union forces to the hill. The Union forces, led by Colonel Chester Harding, realized their chances were slim and surrendered around 1:30 pm. The confederate troops sacked the town, taking muskets, horses, and horses before rejoining with Maj. General Price. (More information about the battle can be read here and here).

("Tank" from Glasgow, MO. Thanks for the pizza and breakfast sandwiches!)

Tomorrow, Joe will be arriving in Cooper’s Landing for a great evening of music, food, and fun. He should be paddling around 56 miles tomorrow before the fun begins. Norm Miller’s friends in the area have set up a Party for Parkinson’s and it should be an awesome time for all. I hope to talk with him tomorrow, before the festivities begin, and look forward to updating the community at that time.
(Glasgow, MO)

Paddle On,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kansas City to Lexington, MO


Hello again, this is Jared, back at it after Joe's brief stay over with Kara and Chris in Kansas City, MO. He had a great time with them and wanted to thank them again for the hospitality and companionship. That said, he was excited to get back out on the river yesterday. That excitement was slightly dampened by the fact he had to paddle all day in the rain though. He was the lone soul on the water yesterday, but a couple of gar, a freshwater fish also known as a gar pike, decided to swim up and investigate The Mary Agnes.

He felt good on the water, rejuvenated in both mind and spirit after Kansas City. It was his first rest since Pierre, SD and much needed after crossing the rest of South Dakota and the entire state of Nebraska. He paddled 51 miles yesterday, and after a one mile walk into town, Joe arrived in Lexington, MO. The town is a civil war historic site as the Battle of Lexington, also known as the Battle of Hemp Bales, was fought here in 1861. The Missouri National Guardsmen, led by Major General Sterling Price, attacked the Federal military post, commanded by Colonel James A. Mulligan on September 18th. Some of Price's men used hemp bales as protection as they moved up the bluff towards the military post, and hence the battle's name. Mulligan and his troops surrendered after the third day of the siege . In total, 73 died and 270 were wounded in the battle. A historic landmark is preserved from the battle as Mulligan's men, in an attempt to crush Price's headquarters in town, fired cannonballs, one of which is still lodged in the leftmost pillar of the Courthouse.

The town is also well known for one of the largest steamboat accidents in the Missouri's history. The Saluda sunk after a boiler explosion, killing over 150 people and orphaning many. Fortunately, the townspeople took in all the newly orphaned children and created a mass grave at the Machpelah Cemetery and a memorial at 13th and Franklin Avenue. (All information gleaned from Norm Miller and the Lexington Chamber of Commerce. More can be learned about this historic city on the Missouri here:

Today's goal for Joe is to paddle between 55-60 miles. This puts him on schedule to make St. Louis as early as August 3rd, so he'll have plenty of time to rest and recuperate in town. I will speak with him later this afternoon and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson's community then.

Paddle on,


Monday, July 27, 2009

Kansas City, MO Rest Day

Hello to all you bloggers out there from hot and steamy Kansas City, Missouri!

It seems like it has been a long time since I have checked in but I am happy to see that Jared has been keeping you all up to date on the trials and tribulations of river life. I am going to give you a brief synopsis of the past day and then end with some thoughts about the trip.

Meeting up with Kara yesterday was really awesome; even in my vagrant (looking and smelling) state I was greeted with a hug. We loaded the boat and gear into Kara and Chris's (cousin and cousin-in-law) Pathfinder and headed back to their house in Overland, MO. After a much appreciated and needed shower Kara and I headed out to a local Mexican joint where we shared some laughs and ate some great food. When Chris got home later we talked a bit and then I headed off to bed (in an actual bed).

Today Chris and Kara let me borrow their Pathfinder in the morning so that I could go out and resupply my food stores before my push to St. Louis. I also hesitated and almost broke down and got a haircut. I actually stood outside of the store deliberating if I really wanted to cut my hair for some time before deciding to keep the mane alive.

Chris and Kara then took me out to lunch at Jack Stack's, a local KC barbecue joint. The food was great and I was treated to some real delicious Kansas City "que". Kansas City has a long history of fine barbecue and more information can be found here

After lunch Kara and I went sightseeing in Downtown Kansas City. We visited the "Plaza District" which was really cool section of town that totally surprised me. The architecture was stunning and there were a ton of fountains all over the place. Kara informed me that Kansas City is actually known for its particularly high density of water fountains. More information can be found here

Having become a little hot walking around we decided to go to the Arabia Museum. The Arabia Museum is a museum dedicated to the steamboat Arabia, that sunk and was then re-excavated in the 1980's just north of Kansas City. Here is a link to the museum's website, This is a very well-laid out and well-run facility and very interesting too. I would highly recommend stopping in if you are ever around the Kansas City area. The preserved pickles and "unknown medicines" were particularly amazing to me.

As with any day, the day seems like it is winding down all too fast. For me, I have a hard time believing that my last rest day was in Pierre, SD. The river really is moving fast, and I moving right along with it through the heartland of the country. Before long I will be in St. Louis and entering the final leg of my trip.

What has been most remarkable about this trip hasn't been the sunsets, sunrises or scenery, nor the suffering, success or silence of a long day of paddling, but it has been the humans I have encountered on the trip down. On a trip that is based on isolation and solitude, it has been the congratulations and support of friends, family and total strangers which has allowed me to be as successful as I have been so far. Without all your help, this trip would not be what it has become, which is truly an adventure for not only me but many of you following along as well. I sincerely appreciate each act of generosity, sometimes it might seem pretty small but even a well intentioned boat honk can keep me going when the sun beats on The Mary Agnes.

Well folks, thank you once again for following along and thanks to Jared for doing such a great job with the blogs. I look forward to blogging with you all again here when I get to St. Louis and have a "rest break".


Paddling On,


Atchison, Kansas to Kansas City, Missouri


Joe had a great birthday yesterday, surviving the heat and ending up in Atchison, Kansas. The morning was a great start as Zeke and Chelsea, two other campers, made him some biscuits and gravy and brewed some morning coffee.

(Zeke and Chelsea, great folks who bumped into me in Payne's Landing. Thank you for the biscuits and gravy!)

It was a great way to start and got him in the right mindset for getting back on the water. He stopped for lunch just outside of St. Joseph’s, Missouri and continued on, completing 55 miles on the day and finishing in Atchison, Kansas.

(My "stealth" campsite in Atchison)

(A view of downtown Atchison, KS)

The current was picking up, always welcome, and aided him in his journey. Joe meandered through Atchison at night, celebrating his birthday at a local restaurant. There was a Kansas City blues band playing and fried food cooking, which made for a great evening.

(The Flyer on the Riverfront in Atchison)

(Music at the Hoof N' Horn on the Riverfront)

The locals were all really friendly and nice, refusing to let Joe pay his bill. Joe was really appreciative of the hospitality of the townsfolk, especially with it being his birthday.

(A photo of the 'Mo)

Today, after battling another hot day, Joe made it to Kansas City.

(A view of the Kansas City skyline from my boat)

(Pumped to arrive in KC)

The day was a little rough, after all the fried food. I guess Joe’s digestive tract is not used to the homecookin’ yet, although the next section on the Mississippi and southern food will change that. He didn’t see too many other folks on today’s stretch, but the few he did brightened his day.

(A dead carp, this smells particularly bad in the summer heat)

He passed the time by listening to NPR for most of the morning and at lunch, spotted an umbrella off in the distance. After paddling near, he realized it was some other water goers: Dan, Doug, and Katie. They offered him a sandwich, which Joe devoured, even after lunch. Afterward, Joe ran into another kayaker, Robert Carpenter, at the Kaw Point boat ramp. Kaw Point is the location where the Kansas River flows into the Missouri River, helping increase the current and flow. Lewis and Clark reached Kaw Point on June 26th, 1804. More, including history, current projects, and information to donate, can be read about this famous location on the Missouri here.

The plaque commemorating Lewis and Clark at Kaw Point

Kaw Point (both images from

As for Robert Carpenter, he traveled an epic water course, circumnavigating the western half of the United States in 2000 and 2001. His trip can be read about on his website,

Tonight, Joe rendezvoused with our cousin, Kara, and her husband, Chris. Joe will be taking a rest day tomorrow in town and will have a chance to update the blog before he sets out for St. Louis. He should be arriving in St. Louis around August 6th and will be out on the Mississippi around August 10th. Enjoy Joe’s post and I’ll be back at it in a couple of days.

Paddle on,


Saturday, July 25, 2009

From Nebraska to the Border of Kansas


Joe’s past two days of the river have taken him through the state of Nebraska, ready to take on his next challenge in Kansas. From where we last left off, his gracious hosts for the night, Dave and Lynn, were able to help him resupply and stock up on some new books. They then helped Joe off in the morning and he began paddling through the 88 degree heat towards his Thursday night camp in Brownville, Nebraska, 57 miles away.

Sunrise in Brownville

Joe setting off from the boat ramp

Showing off the guns, ready for another day on the Missouri River

Off again (all photos courtesy of David Olson)

The area is home to a famous steamboat, the Captain Meriwether Lewis, which was built in 1932 by the Marietta Manufacturing Company for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.

the Captain Meriwether Lewis

It is now permanently docked in Brownville. More can be learned about the famous steamboat here. Joe actually ran into Gene, a crew member on the steamboat, who was able to give him a little personal history on the area.

Joe said he is getting used to life with current, but the heat and humidity are his newest challenges. This is a complete change from the start of his trip in Three Forks, Montana, when he was bundled up, protecting himself from the sleet and rain.

A paler, clean shaven Joe on June 2nd, setting off from Great Falls, Montana (photo courtesy of Norm Miller)

The heat continued today (Friday), reaching 90 degrees at some points. The weather should probably remain like this as he moves closer and closer to his final destination of the Big Easy. Fortunately though his radio has begun picking up more stations, so he has been passing his time on the river with some educational NPR programming. His day today was similar to the previous in length, paddling 58 miles. He is currently camped on a Payne's landing near the Nebraska/Kansas border, two days of paddling away from Kansas City.

(At the cross roads outside of Payne's Landing, MO)

Joe is planning on taking a day of rest there, as our cousin, Kara Athey, lives there and will help him out resupplying in town.

Also, I forgot to mention in the last blog post that the Omaha World Herald printed a brief article about the trip, which can be found here. And, most importantly, TOMORROW IS Joe’s 25th BIRTHDAY!!! Instead of frosting laden cake with 25 candles and a little birthday cap, he’ll be celebrating it paddling down the greatest river system in the United States, inching his way to New Orleans, raising money for a great cause. What a way to celebrate! Hopefully the heat and humidity aren’t too unbearable on such a great day. I will speak with him tomorrow, maybe dropping in a little birthday jingle, and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson’s community at that time.

Paddle on,


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Through Omaha, NE


Yesterday was a great day, filled with the friendliness that the Midwest is known for. After a later start on the river than usual, Joe was able to put in some solid miles before a stop at lunch for a phone interview with Paul Guggenheimer of South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He hosts Dakota Midday and hosted Joe for 15 minute live phone interview from his satellite phone. The interview was a question and answer format with listeners calling in on the latter half. Kelly Lane, the paddler from Rapid City, called in as well as a few other South Dakota natives. Dakota Midday can be found online at Click on the “Wednesday” tab to go to the interview in mp3 format. Joe’s section starts at 17 minutes 30 seconds and ends around 33 minutes 45 seconds, although the rest of the program is interesting as well. The program is archived in .rm format, so you might have to download an application to play it. The archived interview can be found at I was able to speak with Paul later in the day and he is interested in having Joe back on the program closer to his arrival in New Orleans, so stay tuned for that.

Joe also spoke with a local newspaper in Nebraska, the Bellevue Leader. They have a brief write up of the trip, which can be found here.

Joe crossing under the Grand Army of the Republic bridge in Bellevue, Nebraska. (photo taken by Zachary McDonald courtesy of the Bellevue Leader)

Joe bumped into a few more fine folks on the river, breaking up the monotony of paddling. He ran into a school group from Omaha just on the water’s edge, who graciously gave him 2 apples, which he much appreciated. Joe also ran into two men from the Nebraska fisheries who were tracking down pallid sturgeon. It is an endangered species that the two gentlemen where tagging and then later tracking by means of sonar.

A photo of the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) (photo from wikipedia)

Later on, around his final destination of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Joe conversed with Harold, a local who remembers the good ol’ days of the Missouri, before all the dams. They talked, sharing stories of how the river changed and what it once was. Harold also left him with a quote that Joe wanted to share with the blog. “Sometimes, when people ask me if I’m afraid to die or not, I say no, because I've known so many great people. Whether I go to heaven or hell, I’m bound to know someone.” Joe, through his 49 days thus far on the river, has met so many great people and would like to thank all of you for your support.

Last night, after arriving in Plattsmouth, Joe met up with Dave and Lynn, a pair of physicians that Joe met earlier in his trip at camp. They were awesome, making him a steak dinner, very appropriate for Omaha. Joe wanted to express how great the company and meal was and thank them for the hospitality and companionship.

Today, Joe’s goal is to paddle 70 miles, a little bit farther than the 50 miles he put in yesterday. If he makes it that far, that’ll put him in shape to reach Kansas City Sunday or Monday. I will speak with Joe tomorrow and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson’s community then.

Paddle on,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Past Sioux City, SD and onto Nebraska


First off, for all those Facebook users, Joe’s account was spammed/hacked into. Please, DISREGARD any message that says he was mugged and needs money sent to him. Joe is doing well and I am fixing the issue with his account. On to the real story….

The past two days have been both up and down emotionally and physically for
Joe. I spoke with him early in the morning (at least for me on the West Coast) on Monday and he sounded great. The traveling was superb as the current was aiding him again; no more lakes! He paddled over 20 miles in 2 hours and was feeling great.

Two shots of the Missouri River's edge

That night, after dealing with constant rain from the time we spoke in the morning, his mood seemed to be completely opposite. In looking forward to the current, he forgot that it still takes effort to paddle the river. The rain, in combination with this realization, dampened his mood.

Joe's dampened mood expressed in photograph form

He was drained and exhausted from his 54 mile day when he pulled into his campsite at Whiting Lighthouse.

Joe's two homes away from home

Near his camp is the old burial ground to the famous Omaha Indian Chief Blackbird. He was one of the first Plains Indians to trade with white explorers and one of the first to question the encroachment of the white people into their lands. He died in 1800 from smallpox and was buried on a raised mound on top of the bluff, which now resides on a reservation. Lewis and Clark hiked up the hill and paid homage to Chief Blackbird in their exploration of the Missouri in 1804. A great little article of Lewis and Clark and Chief Blackbird can be found here. L egends surrounding Blackbird Hill extend beyond just the burial site of Chief Blackbird. There is a story about a woman who died on the hill on October 17, 1849, deciding between two lovers. Legend has it you can still hear her scream on October 17th every year. The short story can be found here.

On the Omaha Indian Reservation north of Decatur, Nebraska. Steve Lee photo

Today, Joe’s mood was much improved. I spoke with him this afternoon after a great 59 mile effort on the Missouri. He is camped tonight at Wilson Island State Park and said he “broke through a mental barrier.”

Joe's new found spirit

The weather cooperated with him and he was prepared both mentally and physically for the river today. There are more media inquiries with the larger towns fast approaching, so stay tuned for more articles in the Media section above.

I will speak to Joe tomorrow, probably around Omaha, Nebraska, and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson’s community at that time.

Paddle on,


Monday, July 20, 2009

Lake Lewis and Clark to Yankton, SD


Joe has now completed all of the large lakes and reservoirs on his descent of the Missouri! He was ecstatic when I spoke with him this morning (Monday) after paddling 22 miles in just over 2 hours. The current is great; Joe said it felt like he was almost cheating because the current aided so much in his travel.

The past two days: the completion of Lake Lewis and Clark, the portage of Gavins Point Dam, and his time in Yankton were awesome. Lake Lewis and Clark was his last real test of lakes on the Missouri. He encountered many sandbars and bottom outs on the lake, but was still able to cross it in one day.

Joe was greeted with more South Dakota hospitality upon his arrival at the marina at the end of the Lake. Ranger John gave Joe the phone number of the welcome center at Lewis and Clark State Park. From there, Austin and Dale helped Joe portage around Gavins Point Dam and helped set him up at camp. Joe wanted to thank the State of South Dakota for their kind offer of the campsite for Saturday night.

Once in Yankton, Joe was able to meet up with Redetta and Roy Jensen and Marilyn Bertsch for lunch at the Lighthouse. Redetta and Roy are from Sioux Falls, SD and are with the Parkinson's support group there. Marilyn Bertsch is with the Parkinson's support group of Yankton, SD. They had a great lunch and Joe was then able to resupply in town with their help. He wanted to thank them all for a great meal and company in Yankton.

Picture from the Lighthouse. Pictured are Redetta Jensen, Joe, Roy Jensen, and Marilyn Bertsch. (Courtesy of Redetta and Roy Jensen)

Joe was then able to set in for the night and got enough rest to put forth a 58 mile effort yesterday (Sunday). He camped about 20 miles upstream from Sioux City at Ponca State Park. The park is home to the Towers of Time monument. It is a commemoration to the three time periods of the area and the indigenous people. The first tower depicts the late Cretaceous Period, when Nebraska was under water. The second tower depicts the Pleistocene Period, the time of the Ice Age. The third tower is a tribute to the animals of our current time period. The centerpiece depicts the indigenous people that have lived in this area: the Folsom culture, Paleolithic period, Earth Mound Builders and recent natives of the 1800's. Pictures and more information on the Towers of Time Monument can be found here.

The Towers of Time at Ponca State Park

Joe is currently on the river, probably passing by Sioux City. The water is moving well and Joe is feeling good, so he has the potential to put in some good miles today. I will speak with him again later today and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson's community at that time.

Paddle on ,


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lake Francis Case to Lake Lewis and Clark


After a tenuous 41 mile day on Thursday, Joe was able to complete Lake Francis Case and portage the dam. Luckily, a kind local, who had a truck, was able to help Joe portage the dam. It was very fortunate after having to paddle the last leg of the lake, which tried his patience and required his full concentration. He said that due to the wind and weather, the waves were choppy and he had to focus fully on the task at hand to be able to finish Lake Francis Case on Thursday. The portage would have taken over an hour and a half by himself, so the help was much appreciated. Joe also learned, from his portage help, that the current after the last dam should be great as they are trying to make sure there are no sandy islands.

The piping plover is a globally threatened and endangered bird that lives most of its life on gravel and sandy bars. The conservation movement in the South Dakota area, where Joe is, has set up specific island habitats on the Missouri for the bird to breed. However, they want it to be breeding on these predetermined patches of land and not on any sandy outcropping; therefore, the flow out of the dam will be increased to make sure there are none of the sand bars where the conservationists do not want them to be.

A photo of the Piping plover (Charadrius melodus circumcinctus)

(More information can be read about the piping plover here). It is good news for Joe and even more motivation to complete his last lake, Lake Lewis and Clark, so he can experience this current.

The following day (Friday), Joe had another solid effort on the water, paddling 49 miles. He made it to the start of Lake Lewis and Clark after navigating marsh throughout the day. Unfortunately, the current talk does not apply till after the dam, so Joe will be dealing with marsh and sand bars until then. To compound his difficulties, he broke his zipper on his tent fly, making for a very frustrated Joe when I spoke with him. He should be able to fix it in some of the upcoming cities, and with clear skies on the horizon, the problem should not be too major.

He is currently paddling on Lake Lewis and Clark and his goal for today is to portage the dam. Joe is so pumped to be done with the lake portion of his trip and be back to the current and easier days that it will bring. He will be meeting up with a few people in Yankton, and hopefully access to internet, so stay tuned for updates.

Paddle on,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lake Francis Case - A Long Day out of Chamberlain

Joe indeed had a long day yesterday (Wednesday), able to paddle 47 miles on Lake Francis Case. He woke up later than usual and had a rough go of it. He said he felt the last 7 miles of the trip took the longest. He'd look up and felt as if he was paddling in the same spot for an hour. Despite that, he was able to manage a long day on flat water and put himself in a good position to reach Fort Randall Dam today. He said the only way he was able to put in so many miles was the help of his sail, which caught a nice tailwind.

A photo of Fort Randall Dam, South Dakota. (photo courtesy of wikipedia)

As for the surrounding scenery, he said he didn't see too much as he was focused on grinding out a long day. He did see two twin buttes that he thought were pretty cool and hopefully he'll be able to upload a photo of soon. Military planes were flying all day and one seemed to fly right overhead. After doing a little browsing, I believe they are probably coming out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, back where Joe and Kelly Lane had a great time.

Joe is really looking forward to being back on the open river soon and the remoteness of the lakes have tried his patience. Another day on Lake Francis Case and then a few more on the coming up lakes and Joe will have his wish. I will talk with Joe tonight, probably at his camp near the dam, and look forward to updating you all at that time.

Paddle on,


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lake Francis Case - Chamberlain

After I spoke with an exhausted Joe last night, the weather became rougher as predicted. Rain came down throughout the night accompanied by lightning strikes that woke him up repeatedly. The rain continued through the morning, making for a wet start to the day. Due to the weather, and the threat for more severe weather later in the day, Joe decided to make the most of it and take a half day, stopping in Chamberlain. As of my last conversation with Joe, he is scheduled to meet up with a local reporter, so keep tuned for more media posts in the coming days.

Joe did point out some interesting notes on the day though. As the photos from earlier in South Dakota show, there have been little to no trees along the banks. Today’s stretch was the first day in which trees reappeared along the banks. Shale cliffs were also lining parts of the river, making for great scenery. The pictures will be able to do more justice to the scenery, so look for those when Joe makes it around some internet access.

Sunset over Chamberlain, SD (photo courtesy of Panoramio)

6 miles before Joe ended his day in Chamberlain he passed by the historic site of the Crow Creek Massacre. The actual location is a strip of land wedged between two creeks that flow into the floodplain of the Missouri, Wolf Creek and Crow Creek. The area was populated heavily at the time (14th Century); there was predicted to be 8000 Initial Coalescent people living along the river in the stretch from Pierre to Chamberlain. Archeologists are unclear on who is actually responsible for the massacre of the villagers. The current hypothesis is that due to the overpopulation and shortage of food, a competing village wiped out the Crow Creek Village in order to grow more crops. Regardless of the cause, the result was that around 1325 A.D., 500 Crow Creek villagers were killed. It is the largest prehistoric massacre known from North America. (All information gleaned from ) Feel free to read into it more, there is a lot of information on this website as well as others on the internet.

Joe is setting off early tomorrow in hopes of putting in a 40 mile day. If he reaches his goal, it’ll mean that he will have one more day on Lake Francis Case. I will hear from him sometime tomorrow afternoon and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson’s community then.

Paddle on,


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From Lake Sharpe to Lake Francis Case

Joe was short on his conversation today, exhausted from what he considered to be his most challenging day so far on the Missouri. He awoke early to paddle around the Big Bend, encountering fog and low visibility until late morning. Afterward, the fog cleared and was replaced by a 20 to 30 mile per hour headwind that did not stop until he set up camp after the Big Bend Dam. The wind made for huge waves and a difficult time paddling. Besides the great walleye fingers that the family from the West Bend camp left him, he did not eat too much. He had to keep paddling to make any progress because of the intense headwind. There was also an afternoon severe thunderstorm watch, so Joe wanted to make it as quickly as he could to the downstream camp at Big Bend Dam. That being said, the day was still long, taking him 8 ½ hours to paddle the 22 miles. It then took an additional 1 ½ hours to portage the Big Bend Dam.

I spoke with Joe right after he had pulled into camp, before his meal. He sounded exhausted and ready to set in for the night, although the weather is supposed to be bad tonight as well. If the weather hits as predicted, his goal will be to get to Chamberlain tomorrow. If the weather takes a turn for the better, Joe should be able to make it quite a bit further.

Joe did mention that the Big Bend Dam was pretty spectacular, as the many pelicans and turkey vultures that were riding the air currents gracefully would glide over the dam’s edge. Too bad it wasn’t like that for the kayaker!

As mentioned in the last blog, Lewis and Clark noted the Big Bend area as being rich in flora and fauna. Lewis and Clark reported their results scientifically, discovering and describing local flora on their expedition in this region. In the Big Bend region, on September 19, 1804, they characterized Broomweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae).

A photo of Broomweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae)

On September 21, 1804 in the Big Bend area, they characterized Aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius), Bushy atriplex (Atriplex canescens), and Few-flowered psoralea (Psoralea tenuiflora). (All info taken from The discoveries of local flora and fauna continued in their expedition up the Missouri.

A photo of Aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius)

With the portage complete, Joe is now on Lake Francis Case. The lake is smaller than the big three (Fort Peck Lake, Lake Sakakawea, and Lake Oahe), but still significant. His time on it will last until his portage of Fort Randall Dam, located by Pickstown, South Dakota. Joe predicts the lake could take him around 2 to 3 days, but that is all weather dependent. I will hear from Joe when he arrives at camp in Chamberlain or further downstream, and look forward to updating you all at that time.

Paddle on,


Monday, July 13, 2009

Lake Sharpe - From Pierre to the Big Bend

Hello again bloggers,

This is Jared, back at it after Joe’s stay over in Pierre, SD. I spoke with Joe this afternoon, as he was eating dinner, after he had settled in for the night at West Bend recreation area on the Big Bend section of the Missouri River. A very kind family that Joe met at the campsite offered him some baked walleye, which was very much appreciated. The past few days have been awesome for him, enhanced by the warm kindness that the people of South Dakota have shown him. I hope everyone gets the chance to read Joe’s blog of his adventures with Kelly Lane and the rest of the South Dakota paddling crew. He wants to express again his thankfulness for the great hospitality and companionship of everyone involved in the past few days!

Joe on Saturday (July 11th) on Lake Sharpe, SD (photo courtesy of Pat Wellner)

The Big Bend, Joe’s current location, is a 25 mile bend on Lake Sharpe that makes a large, loose curve, almost making a full circle. Lewis and Clark noted that on the thin strip of land between the two ends of the Big Bend, called the Narrows, was an abundant amount of wildlife. Today, there is still a large amount of wildlife present, with hunting opportunities including Canada geese, duck, grouse, pheasant, deer and antelope. Lake Sharpe, the lake Joe is currently on, begins at Pierre and extends to Fort Thompson, where the Big Bend Dam is located. The camp downstream of the dam is also Joe’s goal destination for tomorrow.

Joe on Saturday (July 11th) on Lake Sharpe, SD (photo courtesy of Pat Wellner)

As for the paddling itself, Saturday was great as he was able to paddle out of Pierre with the South Dakota paddling crew. The 23.5 mile day was great and described in great detail, with accompanying pictures, on Pat Wellner’s blog, which can be found here. When I spoke with him that night, Kelly, Tina and Joe were at a steakhouse, sharing a last good meal before Joe would be back on the river by himself. The day was a great sendoff to his time in Pierre and Rapid City. Today (Sunday), he paddled 33 or 34 miles through more pretty country in South Dakota.

Some of that beautiful country (photo courtesy of Pat Wellner)

I will hear from Joe tomorrow, probably after he sets up camp downstream of the Big Bend Dam, and look forward to updating the Paddling for Parkinson’s community at that time.

Joe pointing to his future destination of St. Louis (photo courtesy of Pat Wellner)

Also, on an aside, many people have been wondering when Joe will be passing upcoming cities. It is hard to predict exact dates, as weather and conditions can change quickly, but I was able to get some rough estimates for Joe’s arrival date in some upcoming cities. Joe predicts that if he is moving really well, he can make in to St. Louis on August 1st or 2nd. If he is moving at a normal clip, that date will fall back to the 7th or 8th. With that date set, Joe then predicts that Omaha will be somewhere around the 25th and Kansas City sometime around the 28th of July. These dates can change fairly quickly, but it gives a decent idea for the timetable of the trip. As the trip continues, the dates will become a little more accurate.

A group photo: from L to R Tina, Kelly, Lenise, Joe, Pat, John, and Gary (photo courtesy of Pat Wellner)

Lastly, but certainly not least, Joe would like to thank all the South Dakota paddlers: Tina, Kelly, Lenise, Pat, John, and Gary (I hope I didn’t leave anyone out) for such a great last few days!

Paddle on,