- Started in Clarksville, TN Ended in St. Louis, MO
- Miles: 174
- Average: 35/day (not including two-day rest stop in St. Louis)
- Points of Interest: Alton (IL), St. Louis (MO)
River Angels to the Rescue
Mike is one of many Mississippi "River Angels," which is basically a network of other paddlers who have committed to helping out long-distance travelers along the river. Thanks to Mike, we met a few other people who provided us with shelter, took us to the grocery store, and gave us advice. If it hadn’t been for our coincidental interaction at the Mel Price dam, we never would have had the rest of these experiences.
Notes from week 6
If you would like to spend a few days in St. Louis, you should consider leaving your canoe at the Alton Marina, the nicest marina on the entire Mississippi. From there, getting into the city will take 1-2 hours by public transportation. Your other options: 1) approach a barge company with a dock and somehow convince them store your canoe for a few days (don't call them ahead of time because they will give you a definite no due to insurance reasons), or 2) find a local, like Mike, who lives on the river.
You'll eventually notice 'River Time'
Time on the river goes by at a different pace than anywhere else. You'll definitely notice this when you take a break in St. Louis or any other cities.
Thank you, Missouri River
Just north of St. Louis, North America's longest river joins the Mississippi. At first site, the Missouri's strong current took our breath away and rekindled a sense of excitement that we had been missing for a few days prior to this. From here on out, the river is a completely different animal.
Be VERY CAREFUL around the Chain of Rocks
North of St. Louis, the river momentarily splits and you will have two options to continue your journey to the city:
- 'The Canal of Rocks' is the less advised option. This is the route that barges go through, which makes it incredibly busy (and therefore, dangerous).
- 'The Chain of Rocks' would be our recommended route. However, please note that the Chain of Rocks are not navigable when the water is low and it can be incredibly dangerous. Make sure that you are river-left a few miles prior to approaching the chain, and keep your eyes open for the parking lot right before the Chain's natural dam. If the water is low, you MUST portage through the parking lot to get through the Chain.
Welcome to a new river
Nearly everything changes after St. Louis. Be careful and talk to experienced people about what you should expect. We'll have more tips about this in our next post (week 7).