What a day. Dawn broke on me in a farmer's field high above Rafz and the fog-filled Rhine valley. A chilly descent plunged me into the gloom, but by the time I reached Konrad and Jean-Pierre by the river, the sun started lifting the fog and with it our spirits.
Not that our spirits were low, as it's been an incredible journey so far. But there have been a lot of gray autumn days, and cold foggy mornings only take you so high. So to see the mist punctured by the sun's rays and to watch its final tendrils rise like smoke from the water was pure magic. Now we could see the rusty gold of rhe changing folliage, with a church perched atop the river's skyline.
Sunshine filled the rest of the glorious day as we paddled past towns, portaged across hydroelectric dams, and eventually navigated 600 meters of class 2 (pretty easy but exhilarating) whitewater. I'll let the photos convey what words have a hard time expressing.
And one little border story of the day. I noticed last night from the hilltop the sound and sight of jets descending. Today along the river they roared by, clearly on the final approach to Zurich. But they were all coming in from over Germany. It seems there is an ongoing battle over this--fortunately only in the courts and legislatures. The proper descent over Swiss territory would have to take place to the northeast, towards Lake Constance. Alas, this is where the Swiss billionares live--or have homes--and they're no more fond of the noise than the rest of us, but have more power.
For those who follow the map or know this territory, I started high above Wasterkingen, bicycled back to Flaach, then switched back to the kayak. We expect to camp at Zurzach tonight.