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.
(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.