Despite another week of bad weather, we definitely got in a groove. Nothing could stop us from reaching New Orleans...
- Started in Cape Girardeau (MO) Ended in Caruthersville (MO)
- Miles: 300
- Average: 43/day
- Points of Interest: Cape Girardeau (MO), Fort Defiance at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers in Cairo (IL)
Picking Up Steam
Notes from Week 7:
Due to the faster current, barges traveling down-river will be even faster, so keep your head on a swivel because they might sneak up on you. Also, barges going up-river will need to increase their engine power, which means that they will kick up even bigger waves; this can be incredibly dangerous.
You're in the Delta now
The river is now unchained and you will encounter several large twists and turns. This also means that the existence of towns will be less frequent and they will be farther away from the river. If you feel comfortable with it, occasionally hitchhiking into the town grocery store may be a viable option.
'Ride the channel'
Red and green buoys on the river signal the navigable channel where barges and other boats can safely travel. Generally, we canoed right on the edge of this channel in an effort to maximize our speed. While this can be dangerous, if you keep a constant watch out for incoming traffic, you should be okay.
Wide turns may involve some strategy
The faster current is nearly always found on the outside bend of the turns, which are also usually made out of rocks and river riprap. The inside of turns usually consist of sand and a slow current. While taking the outside on turns is the favorable option, it can also be considerably more dangerous. Barges going up-river (remember, they kick up bigger waves), can launch huge waves that reverberate off of the hard surfaces and then directly at your canoe. Be careful, and if you see a particularly large barge coming up-river, maybe you should opt for the inside of the turn.
Camp sites aplenty
Their are campsites on the inside of nearly every turn due to the infinite amount of sandbars found on the lower Mississippi during times of low water. If you do choose to camp on the middle of a sandbar, make sure to tie up your canoe someone. And, if your expecting a storm, make sure that there is something in your nearby vicinity that is taller than your tent... Nobody wants to get hit by lightening.
Stay a while...
Cape Girardeau will be one of the nicest towns you will come across on the Lower Mississippi. Stop there for a half day and enjoy mainstreet. Also be sure to stop in Caruthersville to stop at "A little pizza of Heaven." It is just off the River.