portfolio > gone on the river

day 68
day 68
August 05, 2022

Day 68, August 5
Measurements: turbidity at Dennis Landing 18cm (same as yesterday). Miles today: 41.

I slept through both of my alarms to wake up what is now very late, a bit before 8am. This was a bit strange, because I went to sleep around 9:30pm. But I did work very hard yesterday, and also the storm got me up several times to put the rain fly on, take it off, put it back on, and take it back off.

It was cloudy again, which I still really appreciated. I took my time getting on the water, and was out of the site by around 9:30am. The overnight oats were not great; I may not want to eat that again for some time.

Interactions with barges started immediately. First there was one coming towards me that I waited for, then another going the same direction as me, then another coming towards me. It gets old.

Then I essentially followed a tow down the river for some time, until I lost it around a bend and found... two new tows coming up at me.

Still seeing a lot of very suggestive foam and scum on top of the water. It's not great.

This afternoon I went past the confluence with the White River, which the Army Corps has a lock for right near the confluence itself. And then there are two more spots where the "Old White River" meets the Mississippi, as essentially a closed off chute.

I passed the town of Rosedale, MS, but it is tucked far enough back from the river that all I saw were a few big houses on stilts on the north side of town. I couldn't even get cell service from town.

That spot was also Klondike Bend, which was surprisingly choppy. Lots of turbulence, moderate waves. I'm sure the wind didn't help, but this seemed to be mostly a river dynamic. I stayed close to the right bank, which meant less current but also less chop. Slow and steady doesn't flip the boat.

As I got to the bottom of Rosedale Bend, where the harbor for Rosedale comes in, a couple of guys in a motorboat made a beeline for me. They asked the usual questions, offered me a beer, which I accepted - a Coors Light, this time. Cold and watery, just what I'm after. They wanted to know the scariest thing that's happened on the water, so I told them about Trempeleau. They had no frame of reference whatsoever for locks and dams, so I had to describe them, which was not easy. When I said I'd had trouble there, one of the guys joked, "you look like a troublemaker," and I was tempted to ask if he was talking about my skirt. They told me one interesting thing, which is that the river level has risen at least six feet in the last few weeks, likely due to all the rain north of here - St. Louis, Kentucky, etc.

Just after I left those guys, I came across a large number of pelicans on shore, who collectively seemed unsure whether I posed a big enough threat to all fly off. Around a third of them did, then slowly circled and landed back with the rest. Oh, and a tow was slowly bulling its way upriver towards us all during all of this.

A bit downstream, I came to the confluence with the Arkansas. More on that in another post.

I kept on past mile 37, but not by much. I pulled onto a very flat sandbar on the Mississippi (left bank) side called Catfish Point dikes, in Cypress Bend. The whole site is maybe six inches above the river level, which makes me somewhat nervous, but oh well. It's very shallow at water's edge - today's picture is the edge of the sand and the water, in the sunset.

For dinner, I outdid myself: gnocchi with veggie protein cube thingies, pesto, sundried tomatoes, fresh garlic and onion, nutritional yeast. Truly delectable, and hardly any sand at all.

The mosquitoes rose almost as a single entity, right at sunset, as I was putting things away. I scrambled to the tent, and got secure in here before they could get their act together.

Other wildlife sightings: an eagle, flying alone across the river. An enormous fish that jumped right to the left of the bow of my canoe, in the same direction I was traveling, so it seemed to float for a moment in midair, a momentary statue to fishy fear. A group of geese that landed near my site tonight, letting me hear the strangely papery sound of them lighting on the water together. An evening cloud of swifts, out zooming about for their dinner. One weird non-mosquito bug in the tent I can't bring myself to deal with.

Tomorrow: Greenville. I'm going to get a room, stay in a bed, take a shower. Maybe see a movie, eat a meal with literally no sand in it. Boy oh boy.