It didn’t rain on us while we paddled yesterday. That was a great fortune. But it rained on us last night. I for one stayed relatively dry, but laid there listening to the sky pound us for what seemed like hours. It is always a great relief after such a night to wake up again as the light starts to come and the birds start to sing and realize the rain is no longer coming down and we might not have to pack up in the rain. “Might” being the operative word.
After I signed off last night, I joined the rest of the group over at the famous Sawmill Saloon for a brat and split pea soup dinner, with entertainment from a group of four singing voyageurs (think a barbershop quartet but in French and with paddles). They sang many melancholy songs about the girls back home, or the girls they dream of meeting, perhaps miraculously on some wilderness portage trail.
As you might guess by the fact that I didn’t post again last night as I said I might, we stuck around the saloon while the rain poured off and on. There was great conversation. I talked with a National Park Service ranger named Jeff, who will be giving our midday presentation today, about the tradition of fly fishing on this stretch of river. Jeff is also doing great work getting veterans out on the river, showing them a bit of beauty of joy on a magical river. I also chatted with Lynn, from Webster, Wisconsin, and we tried to “out-optimist” each other. Lynn won with “at least our tents are on sandy soil” (which should soak up most of the rain, rather than let it run under the tents, and that was not the case).
Our trip today will be 13.5 miles to Hayward. With the river going even faster than yesterday, with all the extra water, I estimate it will take about 20 minutes to get there. There is more rain in the forecast, and I’m thinking if there’s still a room available at the Comfort Suites there, I just might opt for the roof over my head.