Archive | September, 2016

Float #138: Mississippi River

28 Sep

Chester to Wittenberg

f138_mississippi

Mississippi River
Perry County, Missouri
Sunday, September 4
28 Miles

Every year we try to knock out at least one new section of the Mississippi. This year we did it over Labor Day weekend and put in where we left off last year, in Chester, IL. We floated down to Wittenberg, which doesn’t have an official access on the map, but there is a boat club ramp that is open to the public. We were joined by DW’s Dad, our friend Richard, and our friend Jess. The weather wasn’t too terribly hot, but the water was pretty high. All the wing dikes (rick rack) were underwater, which created some interesting currents and turbulence in the river.

Mississippi River

Putting on the river at Chester.

Mississippi River

Richard and Dan

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Our lunch spot on what is usually a large sandbar

We finally found a sandbar that wasn’t completely underwater and we stopped there to eat lunch. My favorite part of Mississippi floats is combing the sandbars, but there weren’t many above water to stop at. There was nothing notable on this sandbar, mostly just driftwood and bird poop.

Mississippi River

DW and Jess

Mississippi River

DW and Jess

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Barges

The river was moving at a good clip that day and there was a fair amount of debris and logs floating downstream with us. I try to stay away from the logs, as you never know how big they might be under the surface of the water. There were also a lot of barges moving upstream. However, with the river being this high there was plenty of room to put a lot of space between us and them. There were also a lot of gradient fluctuations and whirlpools due to the wing dikes being underwater. The whirlpools weren’t big enough to actually be a danger, but they made me a bit nervous nontheless. Especially as they make their way from the current to the edge of the bank. I had a couple instances where I was trying to outrun them before they got to my boat!

Mississippi River

DW in the Mark Twang

Mississippi River

More barges

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Approaching the take out at Wittenberg

With the water being so high and so muddy it was hard to tell where the sandbars were located. Some spots in the river were very shallow, as they are usually not even near the water. We saw one illusion that looked like a person standing in a jon boat. When we got close to it we realized it was a bald eagle sitting on a tree trunk on a very tiny island in the middle of the river! Thank goodness for buoys to mark the main channel!

We arrived in Wittenberg around 5:30pm. A total of 5 hours paddle time for a 28 mile trip isn’t too bad! We easily could have done 50 miles in a day at that water level.

Critter Count: 1 Bald Eagle, Herons, Vultures, Cranes

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