Day 46 – Slidell

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The heat is back with a vengeance! My pleasant paddle with leaping dolphins and much active bird life turned into a “pound it out” to get to the Rigolets before a threatening looking cloud conglomeration did. The cloud had a dark angry underbelly and was piled high with dramatic fluffy mounds. As I made my way to the Rigolets, a wide river area that leads to Lake Pontchartrain, the cloud thankfully dissipated, I guess after raining in the Gulf.

By the time I hit the Rigolets the sun had turned up the heat. Going against the strong current in the intense heat of the day was made more difficult when I ran out of water with about six miles left. The only option at that point to cool off was to hop in the water, which I did multiple times.

I’ve been so lucky to have not had that heat, which zaps your energy, for awhile now. That has pretty much been a hallmark of this trip-intense heat. I’ve never paddled a journey where I’ve run out of water, so this is a first for me. Let me tell you, it sucks to have no water when you’re baking in the sun trying to pound it out against even a small amount of current.

I felt really bad for crashing out early at the home of Karen and Rick Gould, who I met last year in Michigan, at Carla and Neil Deitlin’s wonderful North Bay B&B. They had a little “happy hour” gathering of various friends that work for the Navy at the facility down here, whose name escapes me at the moment. We chatted and got to taste some of Rick’s amazing Scotch collection. I’m definitely a lover of the smokey and peety stuff. Between that and finally feeling clean and full of food I had to apologize for myself and crawl into bed at 9:30.

I’m a lover of heat but what this trip has been dishing out has been a real challenge. Everyone here says it usually gets better this time of year but so far that hasn’t happened. At least today is about on a 25 mile paddle. Once again I’ll fill up my water bottle and my water bag and see if it lasts. I think it should, but holy mackerel it’s been hot!

Yesterday I took refuge in a man-made channel that runs behind brand new construction. Well, it certainly wasn’t here when I was this way in ’09. Huge houses with huge lawns seem to be the rage along the water here. I don’t know when these homes were built but I wonder for how long these waterways will be stink-free with that much nutrients going into them. At least, unlike the Gulf which gets hit with all the nutrients from big ag further upstream, the issue here will be residential. But then, I do remember how even residential development now clogs the Crystal River in Florida. I guess some folks are destined to repeat mistakes, and when folks suffer crazy engine clogging algae growth then maybe they’ll see why lush lawns right up to the water isn’t such a great idea. Or not. Sometimes it seems as a species we don’t learn our lessons very well.

On to New Orleans where I also can’t wait to see Linda Vice again! She’s here for a week. I can’t wait to see her and to have Carl meet her. And hopefully we can get Karen and Rick to meet her and Carl as well. I love having Carl meet the wonderful folks I’ve met and they him! He’s definitely my saner, better half.

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