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Patrick Durkin column: Exploring never gets old with Bakken's 'river pig'

8:18 PM, May 11, 2013
Dave Bakken navigates his drift boat 'Elvegris' through a rapids in the Chippewa River near Eau Claire.
Dave Bakken navigates his drift boat 'Elvegris' through a rapids in the Chippewa River near Eau Claire.
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Dave Bakken pulled and pushed on his oars, quietly guiding his wooden boat down the Chippewa River and beneath its steep banks, foot bridges and old brick-and-mortar buildings in downtown Eau Claire.

The Chippewa was swollen with runoff from recent snowstorms and the usual spring runoff, staining its waters and pushing us along faster than Bakken preferred. No matter how much he strained on the oars, we often rolled too quickly past the eddies and quiet holes I was trying to work with various spoons and crankbaits.

As we passed beneath sidewalks and alongside walking trails on opening ...

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