Now when we saw a weather report a week ago predicting snow, I took a photo and laughed at it. But the mornings have got so cold, it feels like it’s even too cold for snow. When you have to breathe into your sleeping bag for warmth all night and your alarm goes off at 5.45 and you already can’t feel your toes, it makes getting into a wetsuit pretty difficult. Brrrrrrr.
Monday morning was no exception. So with all our clothes on, we packed up and headed out. We had to keep warming the gingers hands and reminding him to wiggle so he didn’t pass out from the cold. And the sun took its time to come out. It wasn’t until around mid afternoon, that we started to feel our limbs again. It was a welcome return. Maybe because it was Monday. Maybe because it was cold. Or maybe because St. Louis is getting so close I’m watching mile markers like a ticking clock? But this Monday was the slowest day. The flow was close to non existent but we ploughed on. We even took alternate naps in the front seat of the canoe. And when Ness was mid nap we actually took some inspiration from ‘50 Shades of Grey’ and Dave kicked around the boat tying her in with straps. Like a bag. She woke up without Ben in the boat and was fast approaching a wing dike. I lost it and actually dribbled at one point. And I also make a slightly public loo stop off the side of the board and realised there was a barge right next to me. Maybe I should pay attention to civilisation. But it’s hard when there are the most beautiful creeks, trees, greenery, hills and almost no people.
With 40 miles exactly under our paddle, we almost crashed over a wind dike and set up camp on an idyllic sandbar. With a pointed hill. Ness and Ben flattened it. As you do. And we ate delicious fajitas and rice pudding round the campfire. I think Ben deserves a camping Michelin star. He is whipping up some fine treats for us these days. And full and warm we slept.
Tuesday saw the sun and warmth as we started being able to take off a jumper or two. Ben and I stopped to whip up lunch and get some water as we were running out. Luckily the amazing Don and Bette pulled into the car park and drove me to Caseys to fill them up and even bought Ben a slice of pizza. What random wonderful people. And it was cracking to have a sneaky peek at Waverley, Missouri.
Now, we had a little bit of excitement on our sandbar search. I noticed a little stick that moved like a snake. Oh no. It was a snake. We pulled closer to film it and instead of disappearing it wiggled, slithered, swam…? Up onto our paddle board. And then off again. Hello little snake. Couldn’t hear a rattle so think we were all good. Potentially an adder. Or something a bit bigger? But I loved it.
Without out friend on board, we hunted for a camping spot. And with 42 miles done (our biggest day yet) we just had to stop on a tiny patch of sand. And yet again Ben acted as the man of the house and built a fire. And while we ate, we took turns reading the story of Lewis and Clarke. Which by the way is set to be re-enacted by none other than Brad Pitt. Hello Brad.
Bed on a serious slope, with hundreds of mosquitoes the size of my fingers, huge splashes, odd banging noises and a little chatty animal was interesting. And just made me even happier to be away from London. I just love it. Even covered in infected insect bites?! We have crossed over the 300 mile mark and we are into the 200s. It’s getting warmer. And we are closing in on St Louis with a boob still as my pillow. Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow.