Raft The Mississippi

Mississippi Trek

Several years back I had this flame burning inside of me to take my boat down the Mississippi – I mentioned it to several folks at work, got really excited about it, but then something happened along the way where I had to deal with the reality of life’s constraints once again – the plan was scrapped.

The trek remained in the back of my mind, but having a place of refuge at the lake left me ok with how things worked out.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to watch several folks drift down the Mississippi this past summer.  I watched intently the details of their journey, their stops, their needs, and the practicality of it all, it all seems so attainable.  Needless to say – the fire is burning inside once again. The information that they provided has been a treasure trove of direction and thought, links to their adventures are available to your right on this blog.

I suppose there are only a few occasions in a person lifetime where they could get away with such an adventure, its either before you settle down (and have those bills waiting every day in the mailbox), or at a break or the end of a career.

I’m thinking that at 29 years, my days remaining as a firefighter are limited, I see light at the end of the tunnel, and I see summer 09, or summer 10 at the latest as realistic dates for this.

Many questions surrounding this have easy answers, or will take a little more thought to come up with an answer – that is really the impetus behind me starting this ‘blog’ in the first place – to have a place to record and share the adventure when/as it takes place, and also as a springboard of thought – advice – solutions from you to some of the questions that remain surrounding this.

The time necessary to make this trek is 75 days, the most practical vessel for this type of adventure is a pontoon – and I love how the bigrivershow.com did theirs – it makes sense and that’s the likely route that I will take.

"Doin it" June 09       BacShortly.com

"Doin it" June 09 BacShortly.com

It takes a certain mindset too, many will question the reasoning and practicalities of such a trek – sure there is planning involved – mine is well underway, but this planning will answer many of their questions around the journey.  As for the true reasoning for an individual to undertake such a thing has to come from within – I think the conversation at the end of Bill and Max’s (big river show) answered it for me –  they had defeated hardships, desolation, fear, boredom (no internet), and the exhilaration surrounding their journey – simply put – they absolutely succeeded and were heartfelt in their accomplishment, and it was sincere accomplishment.  BONUS: It will last every moment of their lives.

So ok, that’s what I’m working on right now, that’s where my mind is, that’s my direction.

Please take time to check out their links and story, awesome.

oh yeah, and the book that I am reading at the moment – Life on The Mississippi, Mark Twain



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. max
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 20:49:29

    Looks Great! love what you’re doing with the structure. look forward to hearing about all your trials and triumphs.


  2. Tom Haynie
    Jan 14, 2009 @ 06:55:08

    Awesome to hear from you guys, what you did was even more incredible – Monday Moments – I know there were ups and downs, but it all ends UP, in the memory banks, I just wish I had as many years left to enjoy it as you.

    I would love to hear more tid-bids from what you learned – thanks a bunch for noticing……..

  3. huckleberryfinn09
    Jan 22, 2009 @ 00:48:40

    Hey Tom,
    Sounds like there’s gonna be a whole gaggle of us going down the Mississippi this summer. Mr. Middleton and I will be going, as well as another friend from our school. I read part of Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi” this summer, and found it quite enjoyable, although the kids I was reading it to weren’t so enthralled. I hope that our paths cross sometime in the future, as Phil and I would be most honored to share a beverage with you someday.

    Stay connected,
    R & P

  4. huckleberryfinn09
    Jan 25, 2009 @ 14:53:38

    Bozoo Tom,
    You speak wise words but I must respectfully disagree with you sir. The first line of rescue is prevention, self-rescue is a distant second. Myself and Rich will be training for times of such adversity in the refreshing waters of lake superior and the Apostle Island sea caves. We will be sure to post some pictures of our cold water recovery drills =). As for hours of thunderstorms, nothing beats a summer shower to wash the grit and grime from ones self. Our biggest concern is not so much the elements but rather the epic wake produced by the the tugs and barges. To quote a

  5. huckleberryfinn09
    Jan 25, 2009 @ 15:25:10

    (Continued) To quote a salty Norwegian fisherman “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.

    I must say that I admire your Albatross, she would surely make Mark Twain proud! I was looking at her and had a thought, have you considered putting her to sea in waters that you could not possibly get anymore headway up stream? If so, I would suggest putting her in at Chicago and taking the Chicago River to the Illinois River, and joining the Mississippi at St, Louis. Just a thought. Where ever you put in I am sure it will make for an unbeatable adventure!

    Take care,

  6. Tom Haynie
    Jan 26, 2009 @ 06:53:22

    You are correct Phil in each regard, and I was avoiding the ‘Lighting’ word when I plugged in the ‘thunderstorms’ as a more ‘friendly’ term – which remains my main concern whenever I’m on the water.

    Good to hear of your preparations, in scanning your blog you each seem quite adept in your adventures. I think in the end (or along the way) you’ll find we’re more the same than different.

    Plans will remain the same for me, La Crosse to No, I look forward it all – I’d go now if I could.

    Just finished the ‘Bluffs to Bayous’ Book by Byron Curtis, good reading – similar trek as you guys.

    Keep up the good work.


  7. huckleberryfinn09
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 12:13:43

    Touché Salesman, Lightning is indeed a concern. I suppose a little more so for you seeing as it is more difficult for you to pull your boat off the water, just keep a weather eye open and drag a chain through the water and I am sure we will all come through only slightly scorched. I have no doubt that we are more similar than different, We have to share some level of insanity just by thinking about attempting our mutual voyage. 🙂

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