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,


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