Miles Covered: 149 total river miles, 2 days – lm 540 to lm 468 to 391 St Joseph, la.
Closest towns or landmark (chart): Greenville, Ms to Goodrich to Goldbottom
Original Post date: June 21
So a single night in the mid-summer heat of Greenville capped off with a two mile walk for ice (hand-truck and cooler), was plenty for my long anticipated return to the area – a closing of a ‘little circle.’
Simply put – I was ready to get back on the River – and Why not?, after twenty something days living with the river it was just more comfortable out there…. Pulling away from GYC and across the section of Lake Ferguson I noticed ‘Gar’ ‘jumping’ out of the water ahead – I don’t think I had ever seen a gar ‘leap’ – but there they were (more than one), clean out of the water.
Out through the industrial alley I stood in the shade of the slow moving ‘bird,’ many of the workers along the shore slowed or even took a moment to watch us pass – I felt that any of them would trade places with me in a moment…...
Those workers knew exactly where I was headed – back to the Mississippi conduit to ride that mighty current Southward.
Soon after reconnecting with the Mississippi I passed under the old Hwy 82 bridge, from there its not difficult to notice the new bridge under construction just to the South. In research prior to the trip I found that the number of highways that cross this river (which physically divides our Country) were relatively few – research the number, you may be surprised also (only three in Ms.).
Funny too, because as I put the Greenville Bridge in my ‘rear-view mirror’ and turned setting my sights forward, I could feel the Mississippi ‘open-up’ in front of me – suddenly the ‘big muddy’ struck me as being wider, flater, and much hotter! At this point southward the feeling surrounding me was – ‘big and e z; with a very lazy feel to it all!
Along with this ‘laziness’ the ‘boils’ (or ‘suck-pockets) became more pronounced too. This is an area of water current that for some bottom or current anomaly (natural or manmade) causes the current of water to ‘bubble up’ from the bottom (but without air) breaking the surface like a mushroom – the effects passing above them were that they slowed the ‘bird considerably – before the boat would ‘lurch’ from the last part of it.
I could imagine the stymie effect on smaller craft like canoes or simple rafts – it could make a simple paddle into areas of labor!. Even with the current a paddler could be weary from working their way among these all day. There were large fields of these that I crossed throughout today (lm 396,5 mm area) miles of these pockets. It would be easy to embellish the possibility of these holding a canoe or raft in place for hours – (the birds pictured used the features to their advantage).….
I’m feeling the heat and finding mosquitoes (or they finding me) more and more – the heat now lingers into the evening and the longest part of the night. During the day the shade provided by Freebird’s roof really helps to make it bearable – but still, wet with sweat and nothing left to remove (why not?).
The Mosquito’s, well in the mornings they are at the mosquito netting begging to get in, while the further south I get they seem to be waiting along the reeds by the shore – no matter the time of day. I was told to try spraying Lysol (the mouthwash) about the cabin before bed and that would keep hold mosquito’s away, not sure if it really works – but the place smells a little better.
And then I noticed this ubiquitous vessel – which I was later informed was the Delta Mariner and that it could hold up to three Delta Rockets….. .
Update; January 2012, The Delta Mariner strikes a bridge on the Tennessee River.
And more towboats – its also been neat to see a few of the Tow Pilots step out of their cabin door and give a ‘thumbs-up’ as we pass, makes me feel a little better – either like I did something right in maneuvering this “mo-ped on their interstate” or they are simply happy to have me out of their way. I find later that we had crossed paths with several of the same tows over the distance, another possibility – anyway every one of the Tow Pilots (except two“locals”) have been very professional with their regard to our craft, outstanding.
I almost waited too late to find a spot for the night and ended up sleeping alongside the channel, the boat rocks when the tows pass during the night – but it was fine, especially early in the am when the partial moon came over the horizon with a large bright star to its right. It was the first time that I noticed a more level landscape with nothing above the trees but sky, flat Mississippi – I was tied to Louisiana. Sleep has been best when tied to the ‘off’ side of an island, but funny thing – I haven’t had any real problems sleeping, even though the wee hours of this particular night had some rocking going on, but then …….
in the last hours before/at dawn I awoke to an abyss of absolute peace, dead still. Its not the first time this has happened, but to be sound asleep and enveloped into such a setting is sometimes enough to wake a person up. I walked the deck, mumbled something about being beat around earlier, admired the moon – then ambled back to the ‘rack.’
Earlier that evening a fisherman (Harvey) and his sons had dropped by as they checked their lines – for catfish. Good conversation and in it all I was curious how they cleaned catfish and so we did it right there, he left me with a couple of fillets and I just finished cooking them – the best ‘boat-meal’ yet.
As I talk to the folks along the river I understand more and more how it affects their lives, many make a living from the river (like towboat personnel, 24 days on, 14 off) and folks like Harvey whom is not working and this is his grocery-store, his families food – he provides.
He loved the boat too, said he wished he had one just like it to put over by the island so he could just go sit on it anytime he wanted…. I took it as a complement.
Saturday, Vicksburg, Ms.
Another nice day, another ‘scorcher,’ its still ten degrees cooler in the boat – plus I can/will jump in if my personal heat alarm goes off. A number of times through the day with the boat moving , I walk to the front, kneel over and dip a bucket of water from the river – in pouring it over me I discover the best thing about the Mississippi’s water, it’s temperature.
Since Greenville the river has widened, with this it seems to have slowed – maybe it’s the heat too, but idle speed seems more like idle speed – plus “Wilson” and “Patrick” stay pretty much to themselves – I guess I’m saying the day is feeling a bit longer – but still plenty around to hold my interest.
I meandered with the river to Vicksburg – thinking of all the Civil War History. Vicksburg is located on one of the few bluffs of the area – overlooking the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers – 150 years ago this made for a very strategic strong-hold for the South.
I had all the desires of taking a walk and exploring the Civil War history, museums and cemeteries – lots of history there, lots of folks died when Grant went through, I don’t think 150 years can really heal that completely.
– but again what I continue to find is a lack of accommodations for recreational boaters, I mean none….. just boat ramps, no docks. So I didn’t visit as I really wanted.
As I asked for fuel at one of these landings, a fellow there (Jim Jones) told me of a place a number of blocks away, he even drove me there in his pickup to top off my fuel – thanks Jim.
So then I continued down the river in the current at 5 miles an hour – this is where I really wanted to be anyway.
Noticing a small congregation of folks on a beach and I stopped to chat, Kelloge Sandbar – it always makes me feel better seeing folks swimming in the river. More good conversation and they even invited me to stay for burgers and deer sausage, but being weary from the heat – I continued my trek.
I found a place early, that’s where I am now after eating the catfish – my evening.
(The little motor fluttered today too, it certainly hasn’t been run hard – cross your fingers that she holds out)
I also figured out that in a poor anchorage – to loop the rope around the anchor-point and tie-off back at the boat, this way I could just unhook at the boat (without getting out) – I used this on several occasions (its still always good to have two points of contact) as the anchorage dictated.
I slept well this night, even with the family of foxes ‘whining’ all night in the woods alongside.
Noted ‘tows’ for the day;
The Frank Rader
The Ann Peters
The Patricia Hart
The Jeff Boat
The Windy L
The Douglas Fischer
The Harold B Dodd
The Austin Golding
The E Bronson Ingram
The Jeffry C
The Marie G
The Joe Bobzien
The John R Ingram
The Dennis Collins
The Tiffinay B Barrous
The Carol McManus