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Float #152: Mississippi River

28 Dec

Wittenberg to Red Star

F152_Mississippi

Mississippi River
Perry and Cape Counties, Missouri
Sunday, September 3, 2017
28 Miles
Temperature: 89˚/57˚
Wind: SW at 5mph
Water Level: 18.3 at Cape Girardeau gage

Long time, no posts! The past few months have flown by. DW and I have been very busy with work and then DW had shoulder surgery in October to repair injuries from several dislocations over the years. So we have not been paddling since September, and I am just now getting around to posting the last two floats we did this year.

We did our annual Mississippi float with DW’s Dad and a couple other friends. Last year we took out at Wittenberg, so this year we put in there and paddled down to Red Star Access at Cape Girardeau. The shuttle for this float is pretty long, over an hour each way, so we had some help shuttling vehicles from others who were not paddling that day.

Mississippi River

Putting on at Wittenberg

Mississippi River

Tower Rock

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Dried mud field

Mississippi River

The main sights on this trip were Tower Rock, which is just down from Wittenberg and a big sandbar a few miles down from there. Tower Rock is aptly named as it is an island composed of a tall rock with a channel that flows on either side. This landmark is a historic place, as it is mentioned as far back as the early French settlers in the late 1600s. Some years the water level gets low enough that you can walk out to Tower Rock from the shore.

We stopped at the big sandbar as well and did some beach combing. There wasn’t much to see except dried mud and a few birds. I did pick up a new barge rope for my dogs.

Mississippi RiverMississippi RiverMississippi River

The water that day was pretty calm for the Mississippi and the weather wasn’t too hot, so it was a pretty pleasant day for paddling the big river. We did see quite a few barges and lots of people out in their speedboats enjoying the holiday weekend.

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Cape Girardeau bridge

We stopped again near Cape Rock park just a little bit before the end of our trip. There is a nice little beach there where we watched some barges go by. I think I may have taken a shallow dip in the river, a little dirt therapy is good for the soul. We ended our trip in the late afternoon. It was fairly uneventful, but a pleasant paddle all the same. We’ve done the section from Cape Girardeau down to Commerce several times, so I don’t know where we will put in for next year. We may start farther upriver closer to St. Louis and knock out a few of those sections.

 

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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

Float #131: Mississippi River

20 Nov

Kimmswick to Truman Access

F131_Mississippi

Mississippi River
Jefferson County, Missouri
Saturday, November 14
18 Miles

This past weekend was quite warm with highs in the upper 60s. DW and I wanted to go floating, since it would be our only chance to get on the water in November. However it was also opening weekend of firearms deer season, so we didn’t want to go anywhere too close to hunting areas. That eliminated most waterways close to our house. So we decided to knock out another section of the Mississippi. We didn’t have anyone going with us, so we drove two vehicles and ran our own shuttle. After dropping one car at Truman Access, we drove up to Kimmswick to put on the river. There is a small public parking area right next to a creek that runs through town and spills into the Mississippi. Normally, this is where you put in to access the river, but the creek was very low so we drove closer to the river and walked our boats down the bank to the water.

Mississippi River

Putting on at Kimmswick

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Choppy waters

There was a fair number of barges going upriver that day, as well as a variable wind that kicked up some small waves. I enjoy the Mississippi when it is more calm and flat water, but DW likes it choppy. There are quite a few houses on this section of the river, many more than I am used to seeing and most of them quite large. We paddled for about five miles and then took a break on a sandbar to eat some food.

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Remnants of an old wooden rick rack

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The next few miles were pretty uneventful. There aren’t many sandbars that looked worth exploring and no gravelbars (where the more interesting stuff usually is). Eventually some hills and bluffs appeared on the Missouri side with some interesting rock formations. There is a large quarry right on the river near Crystal City. It is loud and spews a lot of dust, so you can’t miss it. We also got to see a train roll through. We waved and the conductor blew his horn. Trains are one of the things I’ve never grown out of from childhood (another is poop jokes)!

Mississippi River

A train passes by

Mississippi River

The quarry

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nearing our take out at Truman Access

Just after the quarry a tugboat was stacking up barges in preparation for moving them upstream. I think that is the first time I’ve seen a tugboat stacking barges. Not long after the quarry we could see the smokestack of Rush Island powerplant in the distance. As we neared our destination another barge pushed upriver. Of course, it threw up some waves, which made turning into the access a bit tricky. You want to face the waves head-on with the nose of your boat pointing into them. Otherwise you risk getting swamped. The combination of a rick rack, barge waves and making a turn into the boat dock was a little dicey. I had to point downriver into the waves, and then make a quick turn and paddle hard to reach the boat ramp before the next set of waves hit me sideways.

We both pulled in safely around 4 hours after we had put on the river. We made pretty good time, but we only took one short break. I still think the section from Truman Access to Ste. Genevieve is the prettiest we’ve done so far on the Mississippi, but it was good to get another section finished. It’s not likely we’ll find time to float in December, but I will be back before the end of the year to do the “year in review” post!

Critter Count: Ducks

 

Float #128: Mississippi River

4 Sep

Ste. Genevieve to Chester

F128_Mississippi

Mississippi River
Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri and Randolph County, Illinois
Saturday, August 29
14 Miles

It’s been about two months since DW and I have paddled any new stretches of river, and thus two months since my last post. This year I decided that I would stop blogging floats that we do on a regular basis, just so things don’t get repetitive. Since my last post in June we’ve done a couple floats on the Eleven Point, some stuff on the Meramec and a whole week of floats for our National Speleological Society convention, but all of them were sections of rivers that I had posted previously. During the NSS convention DW, Jake and I led seven float trips in six days. We brought all of our canoes and kayaks and borrowed a few from DW’s dad. Every day we for a week we took 15 – 30 of our fellow cavers on a float trip, some of whom had never floated before and many who had never been to Missouri. DW and I learned a lot about what it takes to be a river guide (we even got to use our throw ropes for a couple of rescues) while having a lot of fun and making new friends in the process.

This particular weekend DW and I took his dad, Dan on a birthday float trip on the Mississippi. We were joined by a few of DW and Dan’s old caving friends who live in southern MO & IL. Last year we took Dan on his first Mississippi trip and he liked it so much he wanted to do it again this year. Since we did the section from Rush Island down to Ste. Genevieve previously, we decided to put in at Ste. Genevieve and float down to the next access at Chester, IL. We met up at the Ste. Genevieve/Modoc ferry access at 10am to unload our gear. DW’s mom, Rosie was kind enough to pick us up in Chester so we did not have to run shuttle. The day was overcast, but not rainy and the weather was warm, but not overly hot. There was a slight wind of about 10mph that kicked up a few small ripples on the river. All in all it was a very pleasant day on the big Mississippi.

The ferry boat at Ste. Genevieve

The ferry boat at Ste. Genevieve

Mississippi River

Exploring the sandbar across from the former Ste. Genevieve Marina

Exploring the sandbar across from the former Ste. Genevieve Marina

Sediment layers

Sediment layers

A peaceful campsite

A peaceful campsite

Our first stop was a very large sandbar on the Illinois side, across from the former Ste. Genevieve marina. This sandbar is popular with motorboats and can be full of people on a nice day, but we were the only ones there at the time. We walked around for a while, looking for stuff that washed up, but we didn’t find anything of interest here. However, there is a beautiful camp spot in the cottonwoods that has a great view of the river. It was so peaceful with the wind whispering through the trees that I could have sat down and taken a nap right there. After we finished exploring we hopped back in our boats and saw our first barge traffic of the day as well as a coast guard tug boat doing buoy maintenance. DW took this opportunity to play in the barge waves in the 17′ long kayak.

Mississippi River

Exploring the sandbar across from the Kaskaskia River confluence

Exploring the sandbar across from the Kaskaskia River confluence

Mississippi RiverA few miles later we stopped at another sandbar to explore. This sandbar is near Kaskaskia, IL across from the Kaskasia River confluence. For those that don’t know, Kaskaskia is on the Missouri side of the river, but it is in the state of Illinois. This is because the Mississippi River shifted east during a flood in the 1880s, but the state boundary remained at the old river channel. This sandbar is a good place to look for interesting rocks and old glass and ceramic. We found a lot of pretty pieces of colored glass and rocks. DW and I stomped around in the woods on the sandbar and found a buoy that had washed into the trees and became entangled. There was also a fairly new outhouse that had been washed up and buried deep in the sand. After exploring we ate our lunch of Oberle’s sandwiches (if you are ever in Ste. Genevieve you have to visit Oberle Meat Market, it’s the best) and relaxed while looking out over the river.

Mississippi RiverMississippi RiverMississippi River

A stranded buoy

A stranded buoy

A buried outhouse

A buried outhouse

Kaskaskia is about halfway into our trip, but as we rounded the next bend we could already see the bridge at Chester in the distance. It took almost two hours to reach it, though we didn’t paddle much. Before Chester there is a penitentiary on the Illinois side, which is very obvious with all the big lights and fences. So, that’s probably not a good place to pull over and hang out! It seems strange to have a penitentiary right next to a major river and railroad.

Mississippi RiverMississippi River

First glimpse of the Chester bridge

A glimpse of the Chester bridge

The day continued to be cloudy as we finished our trip, which made for some nice skies, but rather dull photos. The boat ramp at Chester has a little bit of current, but as long as you don’t come in too fast and dock your boat from the side instead of the nose, you’ll be fine. Rosie was waiting for us when we arrived, so we loaded the boats into her truck and made the drive back to Ste. Genevieve for a delicious BBQ dinner.

Late afternoon on the river

Late afternoon on the river

Under the Chester bridge

Under the Chester bridge

The boat ramp at Chester

The boat ramp at Chester

I think this stretch of river was a good float, but not as pretty as the stretch we did from Rush Island to Ste. Genevieve. The sandbar at Kaskaskia was definitely worth a stop though. We enjoyed this float and plan to do the next section down from here next time we’re in the area.

Float #112: Mississippi River

24 Sep

Truman Access to Ste. Genevieve Marina

F112_Mississippi

Mississippi River
Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri
Sunday, August 31
18 Miles

DW and I both spent part of our childhood years in Ste. Genevieve county and members of both of our families still live there. During Labor Day weekend we had multiple family events to attend and decided to fill the time in between with a float trip on the Mississippi. The Mississippi is about the only floatable water in Ste. Genevieve county and we have been remiss in doing it. We took DW’s Dad, Dan, along with us, as it was his birthday and he had never floated the Mississippi before, despite living right next to it his entire life.

We headed to Truman Access, which is off Hwy. 61 and literally right next to the Rush Island power plant. Just before the entrance for the power plant, take the little road to the right that winds under the bridge and across the railroad tracks. This will lead you to the river bank where there is a large parking lot and a concrete boat ramp. We readied our gear, gave Dan a few tips on paddling big rivers and pushed off into the muddy expanse. The river was up a little bit and there were several medium-sized logs making their way downstream. The temperature was hot and muggy, but there was no rain in the forecast.

Mississippi River

Rush Island power plant

Mississippi River

Dan’s first big river paddle

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The next few miles after the power plant are very pretty. There are numerous bluffs and rolling hills on the Missouri side of the river and sandy beaches and banks on the Illinois side. There were a lot of barges moving upriver that day, so we had plenty of rolling waves to play in from the barge wakes. We saw more towboats and barges on this section than we usually see on the Cape Girardeau section. I don’t know if that is normal or it just has to do with the time of year and river levels being busier for barge traffic. As we floated downstream it was fun trying to figure out where we were on our journey. We are all very familiar with Ste. Genevieve county, but everything looks so different from the river!

Eventually we pulled up to a large island to eat our lunch and explore a bit. We found a large barge rope that we wanted to take home for our dogs, but both ends were buried in the sand and would not budge. DW decided to cut the rope where it went underground. He dulled two different knives in the process, but finally got the rope out. Next, he had to figure out how to fit the huge, heavy coil of rope in his hatch! He managed to wrangle it in and get it home. The dogs love to tear that rope up, 2 feet at a time. We also found a lot of cool rocks and some green glass that had been rounded off. I saw a lot of large chunks of coal on the island. If you need some free coal I guess the river islands are a good place to find it. Dan found a soap dish that looked really old. He looked it up when he got home and found that it dated from the mid to late 1800’s. Pretty awesome that it was still in one piece and usable!

As we finished our lunch and paddled back out on the river the sky began to grow dark and we could see storms approaching from the West. They lingered a long time, but finally blew over the river. I welcomed the downpour, as it was so miserably hot and you don’t want to swim in the Mississippi.

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Ominous sky

Mississippi River

Downpour!

Mississippi River

The storm seemed to stall out over the river for a couple of miles, but we eventually paddled out of it. We soon neared Ste. Genevieve. It didn’t seem like we had been on the water all that long, but the river moves fast! If I were to do this trip again I would definitely take out at the ferry landing instead of the marina. The ferry landing is easily visible from the river (where the marina is not) and the river bank is very solid, so you are less likely to sink in the muck when exiting your boat. The ferry was doing brisk business that day. We saw it cross the river four times as we paddled by.

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The Ste. Genevieve ferry on the Illinois side

After the ferry landing we floated past more woodland on both sides of the river. I thought we would be able to see the Ste. Genevieve catholic church steeple, as it sits up on a hill, but you could not see it from the river, you could hardly tell the town was there at all. When Ste. Genevieve was originally founded the town was much closer to the river, but it flooded all the time, so they moved it further inland. We were keeping an eye out for the marina landing, but Dan was the only one who spotted it, due to a pair of barges that are routinely parked right below the slough. Lucky he did or we would have ended up in Chester, IL!

A barge was moving upriver, kicking up waves that DW just had to play in, so he missed the marina. I passed it too, and yelled at DW to paddle back upriver. He easily powered back upriver, but I ended up struggling to make it the few hundred yards up. The waves were rolling downriver, pushing me back and the parked barges were blocking the ferry eddy that would normally carry me upstream. It took all the strength I had and then some to paddle up that bastard and make it to the marina. I guess I could have gotten out and carried my boat along the bank, but that didn’t look much easier.

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Paddling up the creek to the marina access

After finally making it to the slough we paddled up the creek a little bit to reach the boat ramp. This access isn’t much used anymore and the slough hasn’t been dredged in a long time. There were lots of small trees growing in the shallow water. Dan learned not to trust the river mud. He stepped out on what he thought was solid ground, only to sink up to the knee in black muck. We hauled our boats out of the water and unpacked while we waited for DW’s Mom to pick us up. It was an interesting float and a very pretty section of river. I’m glad we finally got around to paddling this one!

Float #111: Mississippi River

12 Sep

U of M Flats to Harriet Island

Mississippi River 8 Water Trail Map

Mississippi River
Ramsey County, Minnesota
Friday, August 8
11 Miles

The last day of our vacation to Minnesota we paddled the Mississippi just south of downtown Minneapolis. DW dropped me and the boats at the put-in, drove down to Harriet Island to drop the car and took a taxi back to the start. It took him nearly an hour due to having to wait for the taxi to arrive. The taxi driver was actually familiar with Missouri, as he goes fishing at Table Rock Lake every year. He was the only person we met the whole trip who knew how awesome Missouri can be. Most people were under the impression that it looks just like Iowa!

After DW returned we carried our boats down to the narrow strip of beach and paddled out onto the water. The water clarity in Minneapolis is basically the same as the Mississippi around Alton, before the Missouri river mucks it up. There was a light wind kicking up some ripples on the water, but the river was pretty quiet otherwise.

Mississippi River

Putting on the water

Mississippi River

Looking upriver at Minneapolis

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The landscape was very green as there is a nice corridor of trees separating the river from the cityscape. There is a long stretch of sand beaches lining both sides of the river, which seemed to be very popular with residents. We saw many people fishing, sunbathing, and walking their dogs. The river definitely gets more recreational use in Minneapolis than it does in St. Louis. However, I didn’t find the landscape very compelling as it was pretty much the same scenery the whole way. In Missouri there are huge sandbars with strange, alien landscapes ripe for exploration and beachcombing. I don’t know if there is much barge traffic in this part of the river, but we didn’t see any. Just some recreational motorboats. All the motorboats we saw were very polite and slowed down when approaching us so as to not kick up a huge wake.

 

Soon we approached Lock & Dam #1, which was our first experience going through a lock. DW rang the signal cord and we waited for about 15 minutes while the lock filled to our level. Then the signal light turned from red to green, the gates opened and we entered the lock. We knew we were supposed to hang on to a rope from the wall of the lock, but they were all tied up. DW asked the lock attendant, who explained we were to grab this one short rope attached to a pillar. Apparently the pillar moves up or down with the water level. Neat! So DW grabbed the rope and I grabbed on to DW’s kayak as the lock began to drain. It was a weird feeling, like being in a big draining bathtub (which it kinda is). About 10 minutes later we were finished and the horn sounded, the gate opened and we exited the lock.

Mississippi River

The signal cord for the lock

Mississippi River

Entering the lock

Mississippi River

Hold that rope!

Mississippi River

The lock drains

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The lock doors open

Mississippi River

Looking upriver at the dam

The remainder of the trip was fairly uneventful. We floated past a lot of nice beaches just below the dam, then the river became a bit more industrial as we neared St. Paul. We took out at Harriet Island, where the beach was less nice (more trash and debris). I encountered some familiar Mississippi mud as I exited my boat; gross muck up past my ankle!

Mississippi River

Minnehaha Creek

Mississippi River

A cruise boat goes upriver

Mississippi River

Downtown St. Paul

We loaded the boats on the car and drove back to Minneapolis, where we showered and went out for one last night on the town. We ate our first Juicy Lucy (delicious!) and planned to go out later for a drink, but ended up falling asleep on the couch instead. The next day we went out for breakfast and then made the 8 hour drive back home to Missouri. We had a great time in Minnesota and the people were very friendly.

Float #110: Upper Mississippi River

27 Aug

Lake Itasca to Coffee Pot Landing

Mississippi 1.ai

Upper Mississippi River
Clearwater County, Minnesota
Monday, August 4
17 Miles

The highlight of our trip to Minnesota was paddling the Mississippi from the headwaters. The landscape was ever-changing and different from most waterways we float in Missouri. Early that morning, DW drove the car down to Coffee Pot Landing and rode his bike the 12 miles back to the campground, while I readied the gear. We started out from our campground in Itasca State Park and paddled across the lake to the outlet that marks the beginning of the Mighty Mississippi.

Lake Itasca

Lake Itasca

Paddling through the grass above the headwaters

Lake Itasca

Approaching the headwaters

Mississippi River

Mississippi River headwaters

Mississippi River

We portaged our boats around the rocks and then we were officially on the Mississippi. The first few miles through the park were very shallow and much like a creek. We had to do a bit of portaging to get through the low spots and disturbed quite a few ducks along the way. A few people walking along the trail asked if we were headed all the way to the ocean! Soon after the river left the park the landscape became boggy. It was confusing at first because the water is so choked with grass and there is no discernible channel. We soon learned that there are different plants that mark the banks of the river, so anything between those lines was the river channel. The water was only a foot deep in the best spots and a few inches in the worst. There was no solid ground, just soupy bog mud, so you had to paddle through. No easy portaging here! There were several times where we paddled along in an obvious channel, only to have it disappear among thick grasses. We paddled several feet to one side or another and the channel would usually reappear.

Mississippi River

Paddling through the park

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The marshy Mississippi

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Me, paddling through the bog

Mississippi River

Where did the river go?

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Lunch stop at Wanagan Landing

We soon reached Wanagan Landing, where we stopped for lunch. There is a nice campsite there with a shelter, fire ring and picnic table and two people were camped there. We chatted with them for a bit after eating. They were on an expedition, floating all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. We talked about kayaking and their preparation for the trip, which included physical training and lots of gear purchases. They were from Nevada and had never really kayaked on a river before. They had a 14′ Hobie sit-on-top peddle boat. Since the peddles were not working in the shallow, marshy sections of the river, they were relying on their paddling skills, and were still learning about currents and paddlestrokes! After DW and I left Wanagan we both expressed our skepticism that they would make it all the way in that boat. A few days later we learned that they abandoned the trip, due to one of them being too sick to continue. They were going to try again next summer. I hope they have better luck next year! After Wanagan the river changed yet again, into a boulder-strewn mountain stream. Evergreens towered above us and fallen logs and boulders provided lots of challenges.

Mississippi River

The landscape changes

Mississippi River

The first of many obstacles

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Mississippi River

Beaver dam

Mississippi River

An old bridge

The mountain stream landscape lasted about five miles. We took a short swim break at the only deep pool we crossed on the entire trip. The landscape then became more like a prairie, with tall grasses on the banks and a narrow, twisty river channel. There were several concrete bridges on this section as the river flowed under county roads and highways. We floated under the first “double span” bridge which consisted of two tunnels. The river was much deeper here, but still only a couple of feet at best.

Mississippi River

The first double span bridge on the river

Mississippi River

A replica of the 1886 bridge across the river, the first to allow vehicular crossing

Mississippi River

The landscape changes again

Mississippi River

Another beaver dam

The last few miles to Coffee Pot Landing were eventful because we became confused as to where we were. The river relentlessly switchbacked over and over. Every 5-10 yards was another hairpin turn. It felt like we had paddled for ages, but had gone less than a mile as the crow flies. Around several of the turns we surprised various birds and wildlife. I paddled around a tight turn to discover a deer drinking from the middle of the river. We startled each other and she bounded off into the grassland. Of course I saw her again right around the next turn! We also saw some ducks and one bald eagle. We probably saw the eagle four different times as it sat in a tree and watched us squiggle back and forth. I swear the river went in a nearly complete circle several times. I don’t know how that could possibly be the path of least resistance!

Mississippi River

Hwy 40 bridge

Mississippi River

An ugly duck

Mississippi River

A bald eagle

Mississippi River

One last beaver dam before Coffee Pot Landing

Eventually we arrived at Coffee Pot Landing around 6pm. We hauled our boats up the bank and loaded them onto the car as quickly as we could to avoid the hoards of mosquitos. I was very tired from paddling all that way. I am used to paddling upwards of 20 miles in a day, but I usually have some current to help me along! I imagine it must be very difficult to paddle a long kayak loaded with gear through the upper parts of the Mississippi. I bet the rest of the trip to the Gulf would be much easier as far as paddling goes. DW and I enjoyed this trip and it was a new experience for both of us. A few days later we spent some time in Minneapolis and paddled the Mississippi there, which is much more like the Mississippi I’m used to!

Critter Count: Ducks, Beaver, Deer, 1 Bald Eagle, Mosquitos