Resources for Preparing and Planning
2. Join the following Facebook groups for paddlers on the Mississippi and ask around for advice/resources:
River Gator - a mile-by-mile description of the Lower Mississippi with helpful tips for traveling by canoe, kayak, and paddleboard. While it's currently under construction, this will be one of the most complete river guides that you'll find.
4. Personal websites - read through websites of people who have already paddled the Mississippi:
- Mississippi River Resource - a good overview of a Mississippi River Trip. Check out the voyage log and the section on river tips.
- Manandyak - another website with advice from a paddler who completed the river in 2010.
- Paddle Forward - a group of 11 young adults who paddled the river around the same time that we did.
Resources to use while on the water
DNR Safety Information
The Minnesota DNR has put together a nice little book about boating on the Minnesota portion of the Mississippi. Be sure to check it out and write down important emergency info/numbers.
Here is a list of all the campsites that can be found along the Mississippi River. We recommend that you mark these spots on your US Army Corps of Engineers maps.
Mississippi Camp Sites
Read our blog about our favorite places and be sure to make these spots on your U.S. Corps of Engineering Maps.
River Angel 1: Michael "Big Muddy" Clark
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
He lives very close to the banks of the Mississippi just a few miles north of downtown St. Louis. Mike has a "Canoe House" where he lets paddlers stay and he welcomed us into his place for a few days while we relaxed and explored St. Louis. He also looked over all our gear and gave us VERY helpful advice about the "New River" (the Mississippi south of St. Louis--its current is much stronger and boat traffic can be very dangerous). From Mike's house, we were able to send home some gear that we hadn't been using, and he even loaned us a few extra pieces of gear that we later sent back to him. His website also has a lot of great information for paddling the Mississippi River.
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Dale was an absolute blast to spend time with and has many great stories to share. He met us at the boat harbor in Memphis, convinced us to stay the night, and even dropped us off at one of his favorite BBQ places in all of Memphis. He generally invites paddlers to stay with him and sign his Paddler Wall of Fame.
Location: Helena, Arkansas
John Rusky has a company that is right on the Mississippi River called Quapaw Canoe Company in Helena, Arkansas. Rusky's company picked us up at the landing and let us set up a tent in their backyard. John Rusky has some of the wildest stories about the river and you'll be very lucky if you get to hear a few of them. John's also the mind behind the River Gator website.
Contact Information: (601) 529-7354
Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi
While Layne does not live right on the river, he was kind enough to meet us at the landing and take us to a grocery store in town. He was a lifesaver on a night when we were running out of food and water.
River Angel 5: Adam Elliot
Contact Information: (601) 807-5382
Location: Natchez, Mississippi
While we were unable to meet up with Adam, we've heard from many people that he is a wonderful guy and is always willing to help. He has even started a branch of the Quapaw Canoe Company in Natchez, Mississippi.
River Angel 6: The Cop in Venice
Contact Information: ?
Location: The End of the River--Venice, Louisiana
We never made it to Venice, as we ended our trip in New Orleans. However, we have heard that there is a cop in Venice that likes to help out paddlers when they finish the River. If you meet up with any of the River Angels, they should be able to help you out with his contact information.
While there are more River Angels along the river, these are the few that we heard about. Be sure to ask around on the Mississippi River paddling pages (see above) and to ask other River Angels for advice.
If you have any additional resources that we may have forgot, please post them in the comments section.