Saturday, June 11, 2011

Upstream on the Minnesota!

Hey everyone!

We got to New Ulm today after paddling around 150 miles upstream on the Minnesota since our departure from Fort Snelling on June 2nd. Things are going great, and we are on schedule!
We've had a couple different challenges so far. The river is still really flooded. Everyone we've met has commented on the level of the Minnesota compared to where it usually is this time of year. We've been working really hard to get through the flooded waters. Once we tried to take a shortcut through a lagoon to cut off a bend in the river. We were in there for about 45 minutes and lost every sense of direction! When we found our way back out we were only about 10 ft upstream of where we had entered the lagoon. We haven't tried any shortcuts since. However, Ann and I have witnessed the water level dropping -- the river is easier to paddle upsteam every day!

Another challenge is heat. Apparently it reached a record high in the 100s a few days ago and we had no idea it was that hot. There was no wind the first hot day and Ann and I were sweating so much we had to drink 4 liters of water each. We decided it was in the upper 80s...wishful thinking. Later that night in Le Sueur we stopped in a bar for some food and air conditioning and the bartender there gave us a whole pizza for free! The people we've met and shared our story with have been extremely supportive. People are really taking care of us along the Minnesota.

The next day, on the way to St.Peter, we had a rough headwind. We found out later that the winds were against us at 35 mph and we can only paddle 2 mph upstream in the first place. Someone please make that into a physics question because I'm not sure how we were moving forward at all! It was a rough day but we finally made it to St.Peter to meet with Ed Lee of the St. Peter Herald. He took a video of us around our campsite and told us about the beginning of Sean and Colton's trip in 2008. Both that trip and Scott and Todd's trip in 2005 faced a lot of cold weather and rain. We were glad it was hot when we heard that.

From St. Peter we made our way to Mankato. The wind changed direction, so we cruised with a heavy tail wind. Once in Mankato, we camped in Land of Memories Campground.  In the morning, we were picked up by Angie Delory of the Mankato P
Two members of the Mankato Paddling Club
addling Club. She brought us to Minneopa State Park where we met with Dean Peterson President of the Paddling Club and Steve Rose the Director of Minneopa State Park. We had a pleasant time seeing Minneopa State Park. There is a great waterfall and a cool old mill and several walking trails that we didn't get the chance to check out.

Now, we're writing to you from New Ulm where we are having our first homestay with Anne-lise and Kurt Johnson. They are too kind! We did laundry, took showers and slept in real beds. This morning we went to Flandrau State Park interviewed with Channel 12 of Mankato and got a tour with Gary the Director of the Park.  Flandrau has a lot of cool history and a sand bottom pool!  Next, we're off to a 
Director of Flandrau State Park and HBB by the pool!
part of the Minnesota River that has fewer cities, so sorry if we are hard to reach for the next week. We will hopefully be in Montevideo by next weekend thus ending most of the upstream portion of our trip. Hooray!

We want everyone to know that the Minnesota River is a hidden gem. Even with the flooding and heat and wind, we have really enjoyed the Minnesota. We've seen otters and eagles and jumping fish and felt like we were totally in the wilderness at times. I think we've only seen about 10 boats on the 150 miles of the river we've traveled. Get out there and paddle!

Continuing on our Tour de Minnesota!
Ann and Natalie

PS We have a bunch more pictures we'll make sure to put up later!


  1. Thanks for the update! Glad you are making awesome progress. Many readers have watched the video on the St. Peter Herald website. Please let us know if you try to eat a turtle as Severeid and Port tried without success :) Or, moldy pizza like Sean and Colton :) All the best on your continued impressive journey! -ed lee, St. Peter Herald

  2. I was thinking of you two when it got so hot. Thanks for taking the time to blog, even with pictures! Beyonce would be proud.

  3. Fate had me turn on the tv literally moments before you two were on KEYC. Perfection, the story was great. I am a little sad grocery shopping at Cub didn't make the blog (jk) <3

  4. You guys are ridiculous and is that a keg backpack in your canoe?

  5. Hey ladies,
    I waved to the Red River when I drove through Moorhead and I thought of you when I saw Bancroft Ave in Missoula, MT. Loving you and sending you my best!