Posted by: noadventure | September 27, 2011

Tom Sawyer Style on the Big River

Outside magazine has opened my eyes to the FACT that the Mississippi River is a navigable waterway. There is plenty of myth and folklore surrounding the danger of the Big River, but the truth is that it should be treated with common sense, as all potentially dangerous things should be treated.

I’ve said this before about river swimming and river paddling. Feel free to see my friend swim right here in New Orleans at the dog park.

Lucky for us, there is an actual outfitter for Mississippi River canoe trips right up the stream in Clarksdale, MS. By the way, Clarksdale is the “crossroads” town of blues fame. If you’re there, might as well stay at the Shack Up Inn or check out Ground Zero blues club – owned by local boy made good, Morgan Freeman.

How beautiful is this.

John Ruskey is the owner and chief guide’s name and he is as burly as Old Man River itself. With the Quapaw Canoe Company, you can take day or multi-day trips all over the Delta. In May, when the river was cresting all-the-fuck-over Arkansas/Missouri/Mississippi/Louisiana, John Ruskey and two other guys from Outside magazine rode that sucker from Memphis to Vicksburg, clocking 100+ miles a day. Wow.

On these guys’ trip, they blasted down the empty river while exploring flooded towns, overtopped levees, and forest slaloms. Riding the river at it’s crest is like experiencing the river the way it was centuries ago, before the dams condemned the river to it’s constricted present state. Flood waters have a renewing effect on the areas they flood, both natural and unnatural.

These bluffs north of Baton Rouge look pretty awesome.

I can’t wait to take a multi-day canoe camping trek. This is some real Huckleberry Finn living.

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