Environment
6:00 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Two Weeks In - Whitefish Bay Native Shares Paddle Forward Progress

Three hikers (left) share campfire and stories with Paddle Forward crew at Belle Prairie County Park in Minnesota.
Three hikers (left) share campfire and stories with Paddle Forward crew at Belle Prairie County Park in Minnesota.
Credit M Brummitt

Today is day sixteen of a 10-week canoe expedition the length of the Mississippi River. We check in.

The crew calls itself, “Paddle Forward”, and it’s no mere adventure group. Its members are gathering information and impressions of the river along the way and will turn it all, into a documentary.

A native of Whitefish Bay, 24-year old Martha Brummitt is one of the 11-member crew. It was just heading out from St. Cloud, Minnesota when we talked.

Brummitt lives and breathes paddling, but did acknowledge they hit a challenging rainstorm earlier this week.

“So when we pulled over for lunch, a few people were a little colder than others, so we ran around to warm up and we set up a tent and a tarp as we were eating lunch and we made some hot chocolate. But so far we’ve been really lucky with the weather – beautiful sunny skies and not too much wind.”

Roughing it doesn’t bother Brummitt. The Paddle Forward team camps out. She reported having her first shower since setting out when they were invited one night to the luxury of indoor sleeping and plumbing.

As for the river, Brummitt says although it appears to be widening, they have to be on the watch as they paddle.

“The water level is significantly low; we reach points where the shores are rocky and those rocks, spread out across the width of the river. So sometimes we’ll stand up in the canoes one person at a time and scout up ahead to find the best line of where the canoe should paddle through.”