Once in Pierre we set up shop at Pier 342, a nice little cafe. The smell of fresh homemade bagels lingered in the air. We stopped for about an hour and a half. This gave us time to update our expense sheet and weather data journals. Connor used the time to scout out a place to canoe for the day and boy did he hit the jackpot.
Farm Island Recreation Area was the name of our next destination. It was a little outside of Pierre. The small inlet found there connected to the Grandfather Spirit himself, the Missouri River. When we got to the canoe rental location they informed us that we would not be able to take the canoe out to the Missouri, but seeing how America was found by people who broke the rules we decided to bend the them a little bit and venture off into uncharted waters. It took us about two hours to paddle out to the river. We took our time and used the opportunity to take some pictures of the local wildlife. There was one sassy bird that just wouldn't sit still. The worst part is that it followed us for about five minutes. Darting away from my lens at every opportunity. I eventually just shook my arms in the air and give up. Once we got to the river I decided to reenact a bit of the Lewis and Clark expedition and take a drink out of the Missouri. L and C thought that the waters were slowly poisoning them due to it's look and tasty. Luckily for me I had a high tech water filtration bottle and was able to enjoy the cool waters of the Missouri in relative safety. We only rented the canoe for three hours so we had to hustle back to the beach. It only took us an hour of heavy paddling to make it back. It was an intense workout. I can only imagine what the crew of the keel boat experienced over the years it took to paddle themselves up the Missouri. When we got back to the beach we received a stern talking to by the grey haired elderly woman running the rental shop about going beyond the safety markers. I told her my name was Matt Evans and my partner Clark Pollitt coerced into the breaking the rules. The experience was well worth the hassle.
After a fantastic afternoon of canoeing we wrapped it up with some awesome dispersed camping in Fort Pierre National Grassland. We basically drove down a dirt road for awhile and built camp about 30 feet from the car. We were right in the middle of an open grassland. Couldn't even hear a car or any road noise. The animals and plants around were amazing. The most surprising and majestic was the pronghorn antelope. The camping experience was truly awesome. It was just us and the wild. In the middle of the night I decided to take advantage of the clear sky to see a clear star field. I walked about 100 yards from the tent, laid down and stared at one of the most clear grouping of stars I have ever seen. After about 20 minutes I heard the howls of group a coyotes. The day couldn't have ended any better.
NOTE: I just got the trip map uploaded to the webpage. Click on the "Data Map" link at the top of the page to see where we are.