As usually we had a fully booked trip up to the headwaters of the Mississippi with 31 Rovers for hiking, biking, paddling, card and game playing, singing and dancing.We had lined up 3 different paddles organized by Barry and Jen that all sounded like a can’t-miss. I did the first 2 of them and only bowed out of the last because I realized that I was at a point where I had paddled a full 8 hours in two days and only slept for 6 and needed to have a nap to balance things out again. The 15 miles paddle from Gulvig’s Landing to Coffee Pot Landing very much at the start of Ole Man River was a character-building 5 hours with several challenges: meandering through rice paddies with disappearing and reappearing channels, 3 hours of a very technical class I whitewater section requiring consistent concentration with every paddle-stroke to read the water and find good lines in between a plethora of rocks. After that things got flat again, but very cryptic with meanders taking us further away instead of closer to our destination again and again as Jen and Barry were checking their GPS readings. So the last 1.5 miles as per GPS were more like 5 miles in real money. At the end we all felt that the section could have been a little shorter but also satisfied what we had accomplished.
Some folks went to a local street dance that was a blast while the others stayed back to make their own music with guitar (Melissa :-), fiddle (Jane :-) and mandolin (Stacy)
The next day we paddled along the arms of Lake Itasca, which was relaxing and a good time for shooting the breeze with folks in the other boats. Rovers helping rovers out with boats nobody had to spend money on renting one and all that wanted to go paddling found a spot in a boat. (No paddler left behind :-)
Overall we were really lucky with the weather. Cooler than last year and perfect for hiking and I imagine biking it was sunny every day!
The afternoon paddle from the headwaters to Gulvig’s Landing got mixed reviews due to the overgrown rice paddies leading to some unroverish behavior that is better left alone…
Back at our cozy hostel other folks reported fun bike rides of 20, 40 and 50 miles and several couldn’t wait to do it all again the next day! Hikes were hiked, naps were napped and photos were photographed.
And what would an Itasca trip be without passionate game and card playing! Thanks Barb, Dick and Frank for teaching me 500!!!
Monday was the day to squeeze out those last few precious outdoor moments Up North with shorter hikes, walks a last packed lunch before hugging folks good bye after raiding the gift shop for new games and Christmas presents.
Luckily one Rovers trip chases another, which makes going home from one so much easier, because going home only means washing clothes and gearing up for the next adventure!
Last not least the food was delicious and reaching new heights with Jane’s coveted bread pudding, Melissa’s lunch smorgasbord bonanza, Marsha’s much anticipated desserts and Karen’s epic vegan chili that broke all records for going back for more! Thanks so much for feeding us all so well!
Also word is spreading that offering to help with organizing and cooking is rewarded with secure spots on those popular trips ahead of time and several folks have already volunteered for culinary delights for Martin-Luther-King-Day weekend come January.
Hey feel free to tell us more about the activities that I wasn’t participating in myself, all you need to do is click on comments and a window will open that lets you write your story.