After deeming the headwaters impassable for my big beautiful cataraft, exploring the stretch after Bemidji, examining damn portages, and scouting the river, I’ve decided to start from the William O’Brien State Park on the St. Croix River, right before it’s confluence with the Mississippi River. It’s further south than I would have liked, but it’s the most feasible and beautiful stretch of river that my cataraft can float with ease in.
The journey this far north has been amazing. We had the chance to ride on one of the last voyages of the Badger Car Ferry from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI; it’s being decommissioned because it’s one of the last ferries in the United States to still run entirely on coal. Witnessing wind-power turbines being loaded into a coal-driven ship was bizarre. Even on the road, I’ve encountered some incredible people with incredible stories. From a merchant marine that my dad went to school with in 1969 to an emergency room doctor with a spirit for adventure – there’s no telling who else we’ll meet along this beast of a river.
Without further ado, send me on my way.