June 18 arrive in Yankton
June 19 borrow kayak for river trip
June 20 drive to Valentine, SD to meet group
June 21 sixteen of us on the Niobrara Scenic River
In just a few days I have made a number of new friends in the RV group, WIN, who are traveling the Lewis & Clark Trail. Many RVers started in St. Louis and will continue to Astoria, WA.
Yankton is the former territorial capital of South Dakota. Lewis and Clark held councils and feasted with the Yankton Sioux here August 28, 1804. They slept among shelters "of a Conic form Covered with Buffalow Roabs Painted different Colours" -- teepees. One of my favorite diary entrees of Sgt. John Ordway is, "After dark we Made a large fire for the Indians to have a war dance...the Band began to play on their little Instruments, & the drum beat & they Sang. the young men commenced dancing around the fire. it always began with a houp & hollow & ended with the Same, and in the intervales, one of the warries at a time would rise with his weapen & Speak of what he had done in his day." (sic)
The WIN group meets in the mornings and at 5 pm to celebrate birthdays, share the news of the day and plans for tomorrow. I wanted to go kayaking on the Niobrara National Scenic River with a group of experienced kayakers on a Class 1-2 for about 14 miles so drove west to Fishberry campground near Valentine, SD where the group was boondocking. Diane, a member who had to leave the group for a few days, volunteered to loan me her kayak. Luckily I had ordered crossbars for the Jeep before I left home and now they are coming in handy.
The put-in went smoothly; we had a sunny day on the river flowing abou 4 1/2 mph. We spotted a large spotted turtle and a large eagle in a tree on the bank. When a gust of wind blew off my hat and whenI reached for it, the boat began to fill and I went overboard! It didn't take long with the assistance of 3 nearby kayakers to get me going again. Luckily everything I had stayed dry in plastic bags, and my new nylon pants, $3.50 from Yankton Good Will, dried quickly. Later at our regular 5 pm meeting, I was presented with the 'roving rubber ducky', the prize for the kayaker who 'takes a swim'. It was such a large duck that I had to ask someone with a big rig to keep it for me. My photo was taken receiving this honor with much applause.