July 10:    Winds were a little stronger this afternoon, and skies became
                   threatening again.  This morning was clear and calm again,
                   and Iíve made good time.  With decent weather I should
                   make Ft. Peck tomorrow - the halfway point of my trek.  I
                   stopped at 5:00 today because of the threatening skies, and
                   set up camp at a protected site.  I have to say that setting up
                   my campsite at night is one of my two favorite parts of the
                   day (the first two hours of paddling is the other).  Thereís
                   something about pitching my tent that I find so satisfying and
                   reassuring, especially when Iím at a site that offers some
                   protection from the elements.  More than setting up the tent,
                   itís the whole end of the day routine that helps ease whatever
                   struggles Iíve had during the day.  First I unload the kayak
                   and clean it inside out, usually with some words of gratitude
                   (like, "Thanks kayak for getting me this far.")  Then I repack
                   the things I donít need inside the kayakís watertight
                   compartments, in case of rain.  Then I set up the tent, which
                   becomes my little nest with all my creature comforts: my
                   sleeping bag and mattress, my food and stove, my journals
                   and crossword puzzle book, and my radio (which is generally
                   able to get the nearest weather station, is frequently able to
                   get a baseball game, and is only occasionally able to get
                   NPR).  I have yet to experience a downside to camping, unlike
                   paddling.  There have been stormy nights, but so far Iíve
                   been able to stay warm and dry, and I always have an
                   adequate supply of food.  I sometimes worry about finding a
                   supply of good water, but if worse comes to worse I do have
                   my water purifier and I am on a river.  All in all, I find the
                   camping relaxing, enjoyable, and comforting.  Thereís
                   something so simple and pure about dusk on the river bank,
                   with my journal, my reading, the sounds of the river gurgling
                   by, and the evening songs of the birds or the distant howl of
                   the coyotes.

July 11:     I arrived in Ft. Peck this afternoon, and checked into the Ft.
                   Peck Hotel, one of several historic landmarks in the town.  Iíll
                   rest up here, in preparation for my longest wilderness
                   section - itís 300 miles from here to Ft. Benton, with no towns
                   and only one road bridge in between.  The first 150 miles are
                   on Lake Ft. Peck, and Iím apprehensive about this last lake. 
                   After the lake I hit what is supposed to be the most beautiful
                   stretch of the river, the wild and scenic Missouri which runs
                   the next 150 miles into Ft. Benton.  Iím hoping to reach Ft.
                   Benton in about 2 weeks, but the weather will determine my
                   rate of progress.

July            On Fort Peck Lake.  I left Ft. Peck with renewed enthusiasm
12-17:       for this journey.  I think the stretch on the river between
                   Williston and Ft. Peck did me good - 200+ miles with no 
                   lakes - plus I realized that Ft. Peck was the halfway point for
                   me.  I was now truly headed for the Pacific.  Still, I set out on
                   Fort Peck Lake with some apprehension.  Since my close call
                   on Oahe, Iíve been convinced that the wind is trying to kill
                   me.  Fort Peck Lake has numerous landmarks with names like
                   Killed Woman Creek, Hell Creek, or Deadman Coulee, and I
                   kept imagining that the wind god was trying to add another:
                   Killed Kayaker Creek, or Dead Bennett Bay.  But the wind was
                   off harassing someone else, and I made the best of his
                   absence by completing the length of the lake in 5 arduous
                   days.  It was worth the effort - now Iím rid of these damnable
                   lakes.  Locals still refer to them as "the river", but they
                   resemble the river only in the sense that theyíre composed of
                   water.  Otherwise, theyíre long, dull, and dangerous.  Lewis
                   and Clark Lake held my interest - its landscape was a variety
                   of rolling hills and sharp cliffs, and it was only 20 miles long. 
                   Fort Peck Lake, I have to admit, did have some good points. 
                   Itís the first lake Iíve encountered with trees - ponderosa
                   pines - and an abundance of wildlife.  Iíve seen numerous
                   deer, my first mountain sheep, and at one of my rest stops I
                   pulled in a coulee where an elk was bedded down.  Iíve made
                   good time on the lakes, averaging almost 30 miles a day, but
                   I have no interest in revisiting them, except of course to drop
                   in and thank the many generous people I met along the way.




                    Click here for days 102 - 109 of Richard's journal