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Down the Mississippi River by canoe
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Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 18:44:00 MDT Print View

Starting in August 2014 Jim and I plan to paddle a canoe down the Mississippi River, from its source (Lake Itasca) to the Gulf of Mexico.

We were inspired to take this trip by Christine's (aka GermanTourist) Trip Report and blog. And we have gotten lots of good information from Buck's web site.

All of our joint travel has been on foot or bicycle, so preparing for a long canoe trip means we are deep in research and acquisition. Very fun.

On my to-do list in preparing for the trip is to find some sympathetic folks (i.e. BPLers!) who live along the river that we can contact in case we need to ship something to ourselves or contact along the way for whatever unexpected things we might want advice about or help with. If you live very near the Mississippi River and are interested in possibly helping, or just waving as we paddle by your house, please send me a PM, or post a comment on this thread.

We're excited!!

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 19:03:43 MDT Print View

I wish I could help you out with this. It's one of my dreams to paddle the Columbia River in it entirety and this is pretty high up on my bucket list.

Now if you want to move this trip out west, I CAN help out with Columbia river logistics!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 19:27:56 MDT Print View

but with a canoe, you can carry more weight, no need for re-supply

that would be a cool trip

Hanford Reach would be a nice section to canoe

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 19:50:36 MDT Print View

Ah Jerry - we figure it will take 70 to 100 days to travel the 2300 miles. Even with a BIG canoe we'd be resupplying. We'll be buying supplies in towns. Our only concern is if we have to add a specialty item, like replacing a paddle.

The biggest change of gear will be at the Twin Cities. Above there are many small portages, below there are not. Many people add an ice chest and lawn chairs when they reach Minneapolis.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 19:51:36 MDT Print View

Ian - If this trip goes well, maybe in a few years we'll paddle part of the Columbia and take you up on your offer. One thing at a time though.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 19:59:34 MDT Print View

If you are going to be on the river for that long, you better get your hepatitis shots updated. I grew up on that river.

--B.G.--

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 20:45:27 MDT Print View

"Hanford Reach would be a nice section to canoe"

Hope to paddle from Vernita Bridge to Richland this weekend if time allows.

"maybe in a few years we'll paddle part of the Columbia and take you up on your offer."

I'm here for another eight years at least. If I'm in town, I'll definitely help out.

Have fun and please post a trip report somewhere on BPL when you're done. A brit paddled the entire length of the Mississippi on a SUP which seemed pretty interesting.

http://www.deltabohemian.com/brit-dave-cornthwaite-completes-recordbreaking-mississippi-river-expedition-stand-paddleboard/

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/19/2014 20:49:23 MDT Print View

I live close to the Mississippi by Davenport Iowa which is where I80 crosses. I'll PM some info. Also I belong to a paddling club that might be interested in you journey but they will all be wondering like me why a canoe?

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/20/2014 07:35:05 MDT Print View

Amy,

I live in the Twin Cities and am more than willing to help if I can. Only caveat being we'll be in your neck of the woods Aug 28 to Sep 15 and possibly Colorado sometime in early Aug. Keep me informed of your schedule

edit: email addr removed ... will send by PM

Edited by jcolten on 06/20/2014 07:39:09 MDT.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/20/2014 09:48:16 MDT Print View

Enlightened equipment is a few blocks from the river in Winona MN. We'd happily help out with supply shipments but I'm guessing if you're stopping in the twin citties you won't need to here.

If you need a paddle around here my best friends own Sanborn Canoe only 5min from the river in Pickwick MN downstream from Winona.

-Tim

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Down the Mississippi on 06/20/2014 16:40:22 MDT Print View

Amy,
My wife and I live right above the Mississippi in Lake City Mn. Let us know if we can help.

Dave

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/21/2014 08:06:26 MDT Print View

A few words of advice ...

Take Buck's and Christine's description of Lake Winnibigoshish (Winnie) seriously, they are not exaggerating. It will be sometimes crossed with little risk but often not. Hypothermia is a definite possibility even with "warm" August water temps. Even with good PFD's designed for challenging conditions you could end up in the water for hours ... unless of course you you've mastered self rescue in wavy conditions.

"Sandwich packing" is great for keeping gear dry and also buoyant. Look at the section "ANY SOFT PACK WILL DO" at http://www.cliff-jacobson.com/buying.shtml ... I pack sleeping bag and clothing that way and then repeat the sandwich for an entire rucksack containing the individual bags. Done well a pack's contents will be dry after an all day rain and the pack will float for hours and still have dry contents.

edit: I'm curious ... what's your canoe gonna be? Buck did it a hard way with an old school "boomalum canoe". It is worth paying attention to the canoe seat for all day tripping.

Edited by jcolten on 06/21/2014 08:07:53 MDT.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/21/2014 08:11:21 MDT Print View

Jim - thanks for reinforcing the Lake Winnie warning. We are level-headed and not inclined to take silly risks, and we will indeed stay near the shore. When conservative competent people issue warnings, we take it seriously.

We bought a used 17 foot Sauris River Quetico, natural tan color. It's a beauty.

Kent McLemore
(kmac777) - M
What a great adventure! on 06/21/2014 08:49:10 MDT Print View

Have you read Don Starkell's "Paddle to the Amazon?"
http://www.amazon.com/Paddle-Amazon-Ultimate-000-Mile-Adventure/dp/0771082568

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/21/2014 10:21:15 MDT Print View

@Amy: You'll be fine if you are not too schedule focused (as in short on food). It often works to get out very early for a few hours then sit out much of the day and the get a few more hours of evening paddling.

I haven't paddled a Souris River hull but know a couple people who absolutely love them. A well designed hull with no keel is a joy to paddle (sensing the effects of every small stoke change)

@Kent: That IS a great read. Their stories of surf (crash) landings on the Mexican gulf coast are wonderful.

J Phillips
(backcountry9) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park
down the Mississippi by.... raft on 06/22/2014 09:43:55 MDT Print View

My brother, a friend and I built a raft in 1980 and did as much of the river as we could (Keokuk to below Memphis). It remains one of the high points of my life.

Be careful- the river will do most of the work for you but doesn't forgive mindless mistakes and neither do the tow-boats. With a canoe, you should be mostly out of the channel and tugs/barges shouldn't be much of an issue but they will be there and you will have to interact with them, especially while locking through (unless you portage the locks?). Another thing that snuck up on us was that the river changes personality above St. Louis where the Missouri dumps in (effectively doubles in speed). No big deal as long as you're aware of it- the river 'looks the same' but acts completely differently. Again, shallow draft of the canoe and operating in slack water will help. One other thing (based on 1980 info- likely to have changed???), on the lower river (below St.L) there are no more locks and far less places on the river to stock up/resupply. Be aware....

Have an awesome trip!

Nathan W
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
Re: Down the Mississippi River by canoe on 06/23/2014 05:46:31 MDT Print View

I've got a buddy doing the same thing as we speak. They had a rough start and capsized their first canoe on an unavoidable rock.


Last year he biked across the country then hitch hiked back to canada. I met him in Munising, Mi and helped him respoke his wheel.

His name is Thorin Loeks. Check him out on Facebook.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Have fun Amy! on 06/23/2014 08:08:19 MDT Print View

You will make a lot of friends on the river as you travel. It will be a great adventure.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: "Down the Mississippi River by canoe" on 06/23/2014 21:03:40 MDT Print View

This trip beckoned me at one time. I liked the stories of Huck Finn and Jim throwing in a line and having catfish for breakfast. Will be quite the adventure.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSAqkGU2nQ4

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Mississippi River - leaving home tomorrow on 08/06/2014 21:04:22 MDT Print View

We're finishing our final packing. Tomorrow we leave the Bay Area for the long drive to Lake Itasca, in a one-way car rental, canoe on top. Should be on the river in five or six days. If you're interested in vicarious paddling and want follow our blog, pm me with your email address and I'll send you a link. I won't be set up to respond via the archaic BPL pm system.

Preparing for this trip has been a huge effort, primarily because we are not paddlers so everything is new. Jim retired this week after 35 years working for the same consulting company. Huge party last Thursday was a great way to wrap up. Leaving town for a three week adventure is just the right thing to do right now and we're very excited.

Thanks to several people on bpl forums who've been super helpful. What a great community!

Amy (and Jim too)