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 +======= 3 Month Mississippi River Canoe Kayak Adventure =======
  
 +Two brothers, Bob Reid (64 years young) and [[Losang Jinpa]] (46 years), will canoe and kayak the entire length of the [[wp>​Mississippi River]] from the [[google>​Mississippi River headwaters]] to the [[google>​Mississippi River Delta]] with Bob's [[google>​Presa canario]] dog from August 15, 2012 to November 15, 2012.
 +
 +
 +====== The Route ======
 +
 +
 +http://​maps.google.com/​maps?​saddr=laCrosse,​+Wisconsin&​daddr=Venice,​+Louisiana&​hl=en&​sll=37.0625,​-95.677068&​sspn=43.393645,​127.705078&​geocode=FQxbnAIdY8uP-imVszJn31T5hzGwIjcZFYipfw%3BFbCZvgEd61ys-ilp64X4rgefiDGl9bTPvxkmlA&​vpsrc=1&​mra=ls&​t=h&​z=5
 +
 +[[Mississippi River Trip Lacrosse, Wisconsin to Venice, Louisiana by car]] 1,210 miles โ€“ about 21 hours
 +
 +[[Mississippi River Trip Lacrosse, Wisconsin to Venice, Louisiana by walking]] 1,158 miles โ€“ about 15 days 17 hours
 +
 +[[Mississippi River Trip Lacrosse, Wisconsin to Venice, Louisiana by canoe]] 2,350 miles - 67 days
 +
 +
 +
 +====== Getting to the Mississippi River Headwaters ======
 +
 +[[Mississippi River Canoe Adventure San Francisco Bay Area to La Crosse, Wisconsin Headwaters]] - 2,042 mi โ€“ about 1 day 8 hours
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +====== Bob's Canoe ======
 +
 +Old Town Predator SS150 Canoe
 +
 +[[google>​Old Town Predator SS150 Canoe]]
 +
 +$1,579.99
 +
 +Predator SS150
 +
 +Paddled, rowed or motored, the square-stern Predator offers great stability and versatility. Though the canoe is small enough for car-top transportation,​ its rear motor-mount accommodates up to [[google>​5 H.P. outboard motor]]. Includes nylon webbed seats, removable workdeck, oar socket and lock kit, and a bow-mounted anchor system allowing you to raise, lower, and lock anchor without leaving your seat. 15'​3"​L,​ 40"W, and 15" deep. 113 lbs. Max capacity 1,700 lbs. With a motor, max capacity changes to 4 people or 850 pounds as regulated by Coast Guard.
 +
 +http://​www.oldtowncanoe.com/​canoes/​huntingfishing/​predator_ss150.html
 +
 +http://​www.oldtowncanoe.com/​canoes/​anatomy/​materials/​index.html
 +
 +http://​www.gandermountain.com/​modperl/​product/​details.cgi?​i=438607&​pdesc=Old_Town_Predator_SS150_Canoe&​aID=505P2&​merchID=4006
 +
 +
 +
 +====== Losang'​s Sea Kayak ======
 +
 +Bought from eBay:
 + 
 +17 ft. [[google>​Sea Kayak]] Timuacan
 +
 +This is a very fast sea kayak. It was designed and manufactured by a naval ship designer. The less unstable a kayak is, the faster it is. This one is designed for racing. In fact, a woman won the world'​s championship with this same model five times in a row. It is best operated with outriggers. That way you don't have to constantly brace. ​ You can enjoy it. They don't interfere with the speed at all. You don't have to worry about using the Eskimo roll. The outriggers can be unpined in seconds and can be set aside. You can get all the advantages of this unique kayak and none of the disavantages. They will go from a minimum of 3 ft. outward to 6 ft. Also up and down 18 in. This is one of the most fun boats I've ever had but it's time to let somone else enjoy it. I have never been outrun with this kayak. This kayak has done over 6.5 mph on the Suwannee River. It weighs only 49 lbs. One good feature with this one is the fact that after leaving a river and entering a large body of water where there are swells and huge waves, this boat will take it. Full skirt also included. It don't get too rough for this one. I paid over $2000 not counting the outriggers which cost $350.
 +
 +http://​www.ebay.com/​itm/​120805261551
 +
 +http://​cgi.ebay.com/​ws/​eBayISAPI.dll?​VISuperSize&​item=120805261551
 +
 +
 +----
 +====== Online Resources ======
 +
 +http://​www.bucktrack.com/​Mississippi_Canoe_Planning.html
 +
 +http://​www.bucktrack.com/​Missisippi_River_Canoe_Speed.html
 +
 +
 +
 +====== Book Resources ======
 +
 +
 +A Journal of a Mississippi River Canoe Adventure: It's a Long Way for a Beignet
 +
 +Otremba Publications,​ 2003 - 82 pages
 +
 +Author Jim Otremba
 +
 +Publisher Otremba Publications,​ 2003
 +
 +ISBN 0972390502,​ 9780972390507
 +
 +
 +Biography & Autobiography / General, Canoes and canoeing, History / General, Mississippi River
 +
 +http://​www.amazon.com/​Mississippi-Canoe-Journal-Minnesota/​dp/​0972390502
 +
 +http://​www.barnesandnoble.com/​w/​journal-of-a-mississippi-river-canoe-adventure-jim-otremba/​1103017503?​ean=9780972390507
 +
 +http://​books.google.com/​books/​about/​A_Mississippi_Canoe_Journal.html?​id=MnUVAAAACAAJ
 +
 +----
 +
 +For stories and pictures of one man's 101 day trip down the river (also contains good links) 101 Days on the Mississippi
 +
 +A very well-written book on canoeing the Mississippi is "​[[google>​Mississippi Solo]]."​ The only disappointment is he skipped some sections of the river. Nevertheless,​ the book is well worth it for the writing itself and his keen observations of the people along the river.
 +
 +Some facts collected on the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area page:
 +
 +A raindrop falling in [[wp>​Lake Itasca]] would arrive at the [[wp>​Gulf of Mexico]] in about 90 days.
 +
 +Average river speed at [[google>​Mississippi River headwaters]]:​ 1.2 miles per hour.
 +
 +River speed at [[wp>New Orleans]] on 2/24/2003 was 3 miles an hour.
 +
 +River length, about 2,350 miles.
 +
 +Narrowest point: about 20 feet, just below [[google>​Lake Itasca]].
 +
 +Widest point: about 4 miles at Lake Onalaska near [[wp>​LaCrosse,​ Wisconsin]].
 +
 +Shallowest point: just below Lake Itasca, less than 3' deep. (I found the river to be less than 6" deep in places in that area.)
 +
 +Deepest point: about 200' at New Orleans.
 +
 +Elevation above sea level at Lake Itasca: 1,475 feet.
 +
 +Elevation above sea level at the Gulf of Mexico: 0 feet. More than half of the total drop of the river occurs in Minnesota.
 +
 +The Mississippi River drains 41% of the continental United States.
 +
 +
 +====== How long will it take? ======
 +
 +We plan to take 3 months. It took "​Buck"​ Nelson (http://​www.bucktrack.com/​Canoeing_Down_the_Mississippi.html) 67 days, by himself, under what is probably fairly typical water conditions. The river'​s speed depends a lot on water levels. We may find the current much faster or slower than Buck did. Our trip will likely NOT be the [[google>​Huck Finn]] experience many envision, where you simply sit and watch the world go by. Buck paddled most of the day from before sunrise until just before sunset. Like most folks, we will want more time off and shorter paddling days. On Buck's trip, the current was perhaps 1.5 miles an hour, average, above St. Louis, and 3.5 mph from there to Baton Rouge. Below there, it slowed down somewhat again.
 +
 +====== How much will it cost? ======
 +
 +That is a very subjective question. It could cost you thousands, or only a few hundred. Buck's biggest expenses were flying back home from New Orleans, two nights in a motel waiting for his flight, and shipping his canoe back home, which cost about $300 itself. Buck spent about $10 a day while traveling down the river. Buck camped every night and ate regular grocery store food (no freeze dried foods.) It would be possible to spend much, much more, by eating meals in towns, spending lots of time in motels, eating out, and hanging out in bars. One reason Buck stayed out of towns except for grocery/​water stops is that he didn't want to leave his canoe for too long.
 +
 +
 +====== Where does one get food and water? ======
 +
 +Buck didn't have a guidebook or anything, so he just looked at his [[Mississippi River maps]] and watched for towns, and asked people along the way. He  got food every four or five days. We could get food much more often, or much less often. At these stops, Buck would hide his canoe and/or chain it up, and bring his most valuable items with him. Being two brothers with a big guard dog ([[wp>​Perro de Presa Canario]]), we will have less worries.
 +
 +
 +====== Will one have trouble with locals? ======
 +
 +I think you pretty much make your own luck here. If you hit the bars and camp in sight of the boat landing, you may have trouble. I had no trouble at all. Choose your campspots wisely.
 +
 +
 +====== Will the bears get me? ======
 +
 +[[google>​Don'​t keep food in your tent]], and [[google>​Minnesota bears]] are HIGHLY unlikely to hassle you. I saw only one, as it swam across the upper Mississippi,​ and it ran as soon as it hit shore.
 +
 +
 +====== How about food? ======
 +
 +I found food, water, and other supplies relatively easy to get along the river in most stretches. Just plan ahead.
 +
 +
 +====== Will the big boats destroy me? ======
 +
 +They will if you don't pay attention. Below [[wp>​Minneapolis]] / [[wp>St. Paul]], where the lock and dam system starts, the navigation channel is marked by red and green [[wp>​buoy]]s. You should be especially aware whenever crossing the river through this main channel and when approaching bends in the river. ​
 +
 +It is usually safer to take the inside bend than the outside bend because you are more likely to stay out of the deepwater channel, and you'll be less susceptible to the huge wakes thrown off by towboats rounding the bend. It is very difficult for the big ships and rafts of barges to maneuver, so you should always assume that they don't see you and will run you down if you don't watch out for yourself. I had no close calls with boats, and did not find it too stressful avoiding them.
 +
 +It may come as no surprise that the biggest danger on the Mississippi is the river itself. Don't mix alcohol and boating, and always wear your [[google>​life jacket]]. When you load your canoe, secure your gear as if you expect to capsize during the day. Be especially careful if the water is cold.
 +
 +
 +====== Here's some good words of advice from the Corp of Engineers... ======
 +
 +Avoid dangerous currents found immediately above and below all navigation dams.
 +
 +Stay clear of barges and towboats. The cannot stop or maneuver easily, and can create dangerous currents even when tied up.
 +
 +Be cautious of [[google>​wingdam]]s and other submerged structures outside of the nine foot channel. Not all hazards show up on the chart.
 +
 +Learn proper locking procedures.
 +
 +To add to what the Corp said, one of the biggest dangers on the Mississippi River or any fast moving body of water are currents near fixed objects. ​
 +
 +Where the water is fast, steer clear of moored barges or boats, steep banks, wingdams, trees or anything else that can create dangerous currents. They are far more powerful than the strongest paddlers and can easily trap you and destroy your boat.
 +
 +
 +====== How will I get home? ======
 +
 +
 +If you plan on canoeing most of the river, you have several choices as to where to end your trip. Here they are, in order, from north to south:
 +
 +New Orleans Many people stop at New Orleans. That's the easiest place to end your trip, with readily available transportation,​ and many people consider it the end of the river for all practical purposes.
 +
 +[[wp>​Venice,​ Louisiana]] is the last town along the road system. You might decide to have friends or family pick you up there. I actually found it fairly easy to hitch a ride for me and my canoe up to New Orleans from Venice, once people knew I had canoed the length of the river.
 +
 +[[google>​Mississippi River Mile Marker "​0"​]] (Head of Passes) is symbolically the end of the main Mississippi River because after that point the river branches out into several channels: Southwest Pass, South Pass, and [[google>​Pass a Loutre]]. This point is several miles downriver from Venice. The mile marker was pretty obvious, at least when I was there. It would be hard work, but possible, to canoe from this point back to Venice, if you pick the slowest current and take advantage of eddies. It should also be pretty easy to "​hitch"​ a ride back to Venice with a passing fishing boat.
 +
 +The Gulf of Mexico at one of the outlets of the Mississippi. Southwest Pass is the main shipping channel. I chose South Pass. South Pass is the center channel at Mile Marker "​0"​. I didn't have a map when I got there, so I remember hanging on the a big pile in the strong current so I could ask a passing boat to verify which one was South Pass. The boat traffic was fairly tame in South Pass, and mostly consisted of fishing boats. I was offered a place to stay on my last night, at South Pass Marina, (Port Eads.) The salt water is only about two miles below Port Eads, and it was an amazing sight. It would be hard work, but possible, to canoe from this point back to Venice, if you pick the slowest current and take advantage of eddies. What I did is canoe from the salt water back to Port Eads, then I got a boat ride from there to Venice. It should be easy to "​hitch"​ a ride back to Venice on a fishing boat. For most folks, the cheapest and best option for getting home from Venice or New Orleans will be a ride from friends or relatives. It cost me $300 to ship the canoe. (It was borrowed.) I flew home and mailed my paddles. I simply taped them together, and put my address on a paddle blade then took them to the Post Office! It worked great. I know of people who have given away their canoes at the end of the trip.
 +
 +Note, I do not know how hurricane damage has changed the river below New Orleans. If someone can tell me, I'll post an update.
 +
 +Below is an amazing NASA satellite image of the mouth of the Missississippi River. You can see the road to Venice running down the west side of the river and ending about mid-photo. You can also see the river branching out at Head of Passes at Mile Marker "​0."​ To see this breathtaking photo without my added notes, click here
 +On the Way
 +
 +Please read through the photo captions for more tips on things to do, and NOT do!
 +
 +
 +
 +====== What will we bring? ======
 +
 +I had some trouble figuring out what type of canoe would work best. It seemed that most folks who'd canoed the river had just used whatever canoe was at hand. Now that I've made the trip, I'd suggest making stability your number one consideration. I never flipped the canoe once, and part of that was because of the design of the canoe I borrowed from my friend Gerry Molberg. It was a standard 17' Alumacraft, weighing about 65 lbs. Now that I had a canoe, I selected the rest of my gear.
 +
 +I found that for packing purposes it was best to think of the river in two parts; before the Twin Cities (above which there are a dozen or so portages,) and after, where the only portaging you are likely to do is around busy locks. (At some locks, you may only have to portage as little as 30 feet!) After the Twin Cities, you may want to consider adding an ice cooler, and even a lawn chair.
 +
 +    Two good paddles: One I borrowed. The other I bought from canoeing experts who helped me select a good fit for me. I chose a "bent blade" paddle, which is supposed to increase efficiency, and I believe it did.
 +    Dry Bags: Two of them to protect my most vital gear. You will get rained on a lot, and often your gear will be sitting in water sloshing around the bottom of your boat. Plan accordingly!
 +    Life Vest: You'll be living in your life vest. Buy a good one that fits you well, or it will chafe your neck off!
 +    Cooler: I'd suggest on holding off on the cooler until you've reached the Twin Cities. There are lots of portages before then!
 +    Rope: About 20' long, for securing your canoe every time you land. Tie good knots, and check them frequently.
 +    Chain and lock: I only had to use this a couple of times. The trouble is, if you leave your canoe you also are leaving most of your other stuff.
 +    Giant Sponge: For soaking up that water that will be sloshing around your canoe. Also works good for mopping up sand and silt.
 +    Plastic Box: Once I got past the portages, I bought a large, clear plastic box with a tight-sealing cover. It worked great as a bombproof, waterproof container.
 +    Tarp
 +    Tent/​Poles/​Stakes:​ Get a good one and be very selective on where you set it up. Stay well above the water and out of poison ivy. Try to camp where people won't see you.
 +    Sleeping Bag: Hollofill, Quallofil, Polarguard, etc. Down has it's place, but not on the river.
 +    Sheet: For those hot nights when your bag is too hot.
 +    Sleeping pad: Bring a thick, comfy one.
 +    Pack: for toting your groceries and drinking water back to the river.
 +    Stove/Fuel: bring a small, simple one. Often you can't or shouldn'​t,​ build a fire.
 +    Water Filter: for when you run out. I much prefer getting drinking water along the way.
 +    Water Containers: About 3 gallons worth for each person Several smaller are better than one giant.
 +    Matches and lighter: Several sets, secured in dry spots
 +    Food: You can pick up food every couple of days or so along the river. After the Appalachian Trail, I delighted in carrying lots of heavy and/or fresh foods.
 +    Cooking pots: One big and one small
 +    Knife, fork, spoon
 +    Garbage bags: heavyweight,​ large, several
 +    Ziplocks: Lots. Freezer style, 1 quart and one gallon zipper type
 +    GPS: I recommend one. I like the Garmin eTrex model. Easy to use, and great for telling how fast you are cruising, or knowing how slow you're actually going in that screaming headwind.
 +    Binoculars: Small ones, great for looking across to the opposite shore, spotting that next lock, birdwatching,​ etc.
 +    Camera and extra film: Waterproof is a good idea.
 +    Duct Tape: Bring 30 feet or so, perhaps wrapped around your water bottle.
 +    Pocket Knife: The Swiss Army style with opener, scissors, tweezers, and knife is nice.
 +    Leatherman type tool
 +    Parachute cord: 100 feet
 +    Radio and batteries: For news, tunes, weather
 +    Headlamp and batteries
 +    Compass
 +    River Maps
 +    Watch with alarm
 +    Phone Card
 +    Credit Card
 +    Driver'​s License
 +    Cash
 +    Weather radio
 +    Marine Radio: May be worthwhile for dealing with locks
 +    Mug
 +    Pens
 +    Notebook, diary: I carried a mini tape-recorder on this trip to serve as a journal.
 +    Books: Try "​Huckleberry Finn," "Life on the Mississippi,"​ and "Tom Sawyer"​
 +    Address Book
 +    Good rain parka
 +    Good rain pants
 +    Fleece jacket
 +    Long underwear tops and bottoms
 +    Balaclava
 +    Shorts
 +    Convertible pants
 +    Running shoes
 +    Teva-type shoes
 +    Socks: Actually, I rarely wore socks OR shoes out on the river
 +    Underwear
 +    T-shirts
 +    Fleece gloves
 +    Ball cap: or other sun hat
 +    Bandana
 +    Toilet Paper
 +    Towel
 +    Toothbrush/​Paste
 +    Bug Dope
 +    Sunscreen
 +    Shampoo
 +    Razor
 +    Prescriptions
 +    Soap
 +    Blistex
 +    Ibuprofen
 +    Floss
 +    Needle: Use floss for thread
 +    Towel
 +    Fishing gear: I didn't bring any, personally.
 +    First aid kit
 +    Other medications ​
 +    ​
 +    ​
3_month_mississippi_river_canoe_kayak_adventure.txt ยท Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:10 (external edit)