To Buy in MN:
The trip is coming up quickly! Over the last week I've been collecting gear from my camping boxes and deciding what can stay and what can go. For this trip I've decided to sleep in a Eureka Apex 2 man tent with an open hammock as backup. After extended camping in a one man tent and many windy and rainy nights uncomfortable in a hammock, I appreciate the space afforded by the two man. The hammock can also be set up as a chair in camp or a quick nap spot when the skeeters aren't biting. One piece of gear I hope to put to good use is the UHF/VHF radio for NOAA weather reports and communication among ships and locks. I spent a few hours this morning programming in all the major channels and WX band. My one luxury allowance this trip is my Strumstick. A little music can go a long way. I cannot thank my friends throughout the country who have contributed their knowledge, equipment and funding for this adventure.
I finally ordered a boat. Don't worry, it was a factory blemished model so I didn't pay full price. I know...you were worried.
After reviewing the myriad of options for solo boating, I settled on the outlandish choice of the Old Town Next Canoe. The next is a a hybrid combining the open hull of a canoe with a sit-in design and foot braces like a kayak. At 13' long and 59lb, it is manageable enough for portages and has a load capacity of 450lb. There is a good review of the canoe here as well as a few pictures.
For this trip, I estimate the weight of my gear to be roughly 60lb. That puts the total load at around 210-220lb depending on what I ate for breakfast. Mas pancakes! The load should be manageable with the space fore and aft of the seat. It may take a balancing act to dial in the weight distribution but a day out on Lake Itasca should help there. I am somewhat limited to the two bags I can carry on board a Greyhound Bus but that keeps me from throwing in the kitchen sink, not that I have a kitchen or a sink to call my own.
This morning I had a nice conversation with Caren of Itasca Sports, an outfitter and bike/canoe rental shop on Lake Itasca. Talking with her helped smooth out many of the nagging stresses about getting a boat to the lake. With their kindness and assistance, they agreed to take delivery of my new boat at their warehouse and then transport it to the lake. How cool is that!? I'm sure there will be more written on these unique and helpful souls at Itasca Sports who understand what it means to have a passion for nature and travel.
The best deal of the trip so far has been a 50 cent straw hat fit for a suburban garden party or river voyage. Next up, a post about the burgeoning pile of waterproof (nothing's really waterproof) items beginning to overtake the bedroom.