The sounds of rain stopped in the middle of the night and I slipped back into sleep happy to have a dry day tomorrow.
I thought I had slept in late when I awoke with my tent filled with bright light. I checked my watch and it was only seven. I opened my tent to a field of white. Every tree, every bush and the grass were covered with two inches of snow. It had not snowed here in a month and I was not prepared to paddle through ice. To paddle the entirety of the Mississippi River is crazy but to paddle through ice and snow without a dry suit is dumb.
I walked down to the kayak to see how it weathered the storm. Not only was it covered in snow, but a large, thick ice sheet weighted down the half of the boat where rain had collected. I sulked back to the shelter to find that my clothes I hung were frozen. It was going to be a long, boring wait til I could hit the river again.
I played with my gps and found that although I had paddled thirty miles the day before, I was only eight miles from the hostel I stayed at two nights before. I could hike the eight miles for a warm bed or wait around camp. Either way, I knew I needed to paddle at least twenty miles to the next campsite and I would not be able to get on the water today.
I grabbed all my wet gear and headed in the direction of the road. I walked about five miles before I decided to check to see if my phone that had not gotten a signal in days. I had one bar and called Sarah, the incredibly nice hostel caretaker. I walked another mile until Sarah's husband picked me up and took me to the hostel.
I hated not paddling but there was not many other choices. I walked the two miles to the nearest store and bought a pizza and chocolate chip muffin mix. I ate the pizza and made the muffins as a thank you for Sarah and then sat around waiting for the snow to go away.