June 2 through June 5
Sunday, June 2, 1996
They made it past Fort Peck Lake and in only a little more than one week! I was very excited to hear from them. In fact, they are now on their last leg of the trip. I’m sure they will be sad when its over, but on the phone they sound like they just want to be done! It’s been a long time out on that river! So here is John’s latest update via the post office and probably my last update! Yes it’s true I’m almost done….the plan, as of today, is to pick them up Thursday of this week!
Excerpts from John’s Journal
Sunday, June 2, 1996
The wind was constant all night and picked up speed with the rising sun. We came to the town of Poplar and hiked in to get water. Poplar is located in the middle of the reservation, and walking through the town was a strange experience. Living in what appears to be utter poverty, these proud people treated us in a very unwelcome way, yet we harbor no ill feelings toward them. Needless to say, we got our water and got out of town. Finding an island, we camped and dined on Macaroni & Spam, with rations at minimum it tasted great. The evening turned out to be the longest of my trip, due to three screeching birds making a horrible racket till all hours of the night. It got so bad, I got out of my tent after midnight and threw sticks & rocks into the general direction of the noise to no avail.
Monday, June 3, 1996
No Wind!!! Without the wind, it’s so much easier to navigate the snags and sandbars. Great time was made today, paddle, paddle and paddle. We passed the town of Brockton and wanted to stop for water, but the shore had 12-14 adult males drinking at the only possible take-out. They initially asked us to come over to them, but then one yelled out he had a gun, so we stayed river right and sacrificed the opportunity for water.
Tuesday, June 4, 1996
The wind came back and made up for yesterday. Around noon a thunderstorm forced to wait it out on shore. During the time we were ashore, my boat broke loose and tipped over. We found it upside down and washed against the bank. After dumping the water out we were on our way. Just before Culbertson Bridge, we came across a baby lamb that was stuck in the mud. After it got over the fear of us being there, it settled down and allowed me to get each hoof out of the mud. It ran up the riverbank and went to the nearest shrub and started eating vigorously. Just past Culbertson Bridge we took-out, and I found that my dry bags were filled with water from my earlier dumping. The sun went down to soon for me to dry any gear, so I spent a cold night in a wet sleeping bag.
Wednesday, June 5, 1996
The river knew this was our last day before we did. The wind is blowing gale force stronger than either of us have ever paddled in. We have a stretch of direct west to east for about 7 miles, and we decide to use this to our advantage. We sailed for about 3 miles before the wind broke our mast into 4 explosive pieces. Early in the morning it had been hot, so all I was wearing was a T-shirt & shorts. As the wind got stronger, the temperature got lower. Around five in the evening we came to the Mon-Dak bridge and decided to walk across it. During this time the wind had to be blowing more than 80 miles an hour, I was so cold I had to change. An hour later we were at Fort Union, North Dakota. We toured the Fort before going down to Fort Buford and pitching camp. Tomorrow we will be home for pizza and beer.
Many, many things occurred on this trip that have not been put in this journal. Interesting things that I feel compelled to share, and others that are personal and private. The need for a conclusion to the Rojomo is required, in my opinion, and I will be writing a long and involved synopsis at a future date when things are not so hectic and rivers are not flowing. Until this time however, I invite anybody to share with Rojomo the adventures and rivers they are experiencing by dropping us a line, especially kayak trips that are more than an overnighter. The Rojomo will continue in future with some of these stories along with more of our own. The Rojomo can never really end, for the Missouri is now forever imbedded in our souls, as constant as her flow.