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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch Vol 6 No 12

Quapaw Canoe Company

Clarksdale, Mississippi -- Helena, Arkansas

Serving the greater Lower Mississippi Valley

from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico

As we come to the end of another successful season on the Lower Mississippi River what a welcome warm relief it is to come to shore for some peace & goodwill with my family, friends and the greater river community -- a time for reflection, rejuvenation and celebration, and to share in the infinite goodness of mother earth. As recent as ten years ago we didn’t see any, but this fall we’ve been witnessing river otters on all the islands, and also cat tracks, big cats and small cats, and at least one appearance on every expedition of my fierce brother wanbli bald eagle, the natural landscape forever in flux, all life existing in motion, for us the most powerful expression of this motion is the big river herself!


River Warriors: Our small way of expressing our appreciation is to donate 10% of our guiding fee to those people & organizations making the Lower Mississippi River a better place, namely the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Paul Orr, The Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Dean Wilson, Bruce Reid & staff at Audubon in Vicksburg, Ron Nassar & the Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Jenny Frazier & the American Land Conservancy, and Diana Threadgill & the Mississippi River Corridor - Tennessee. As we finalize numbers this will be realized to help those who are helping the river.

The Mighty Quapaw Film (Barefoot Films 2010: http://vimeo.com/15214979) continues to inspire interesting connections, most recently with Todd Davis Director of the Outdoor Recreation Program at Delta State University. Thank you Todd for taking an entire afternoon to share with seven Mighty Quapaws the possibilities for an education & career in outdoor recreation! (By the way, I am pursuing the creation of a non profit to support the Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program, as well as Friends of the Sunflower River, the overwhelming demands of the small business are finally slowing down enough to pursue these dreams)


River Otters: paddles up to five “River Otters” who made a cross-channel swim with Quapaw’s guidance during 2010, namely Mark Lewis who made the crossing from Marr Towhead to Williams Point (near Tiptonville, Tennessee), Bubba Battle who swam from the top end of Island 67 to Jug Harris Towhead (near Snow Lake, Arkansas) and Alex Mobley

& Melanie Hill who swam from Island 69 to Hurricane Point (near Gunnison, Mississippi). And a member of Calvary Baptist of Alexandria Louisiana, sorry I can’t remember his name! I documented each crossing while paddling alongside each, radio tuned to channel 13. For a short clip I made of the last swim, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXdb-xlJ6Fo and share in Melanie & Alex’s adventure! Be forewarned: there is a reasonable & rational way to safely complete this challenging swim, and there are lots of foolhardy & irresponsible ways to do it! For pointers on the difference, please contact Quapaw Canoe Company.

Frosty Beaver Moon is back! And soon coming to a river near you! We will celebrate the Winter Solstice with a series of Full Moon Floats in Memphis, Helena and Clarksdale, see details below, and also at our annual Yuletide Celebration, we hope to see you on the river for one of our floats -- or in Clarksdale for the solstice party!

December 2010 Full Moon Floats

In Celebration of the Yule/Winter Solstice

Sunday Dec 19th

Frosty Beaver Moon Float - Memphis

Chickasaw Bluffs into Memphis. Meet at 1pm at Mud Island River Park. Shuttle to Meeman Shelby Forest State Park. Paddle into sunset. Supper on sandbar. Moonrise. Paddle into Memphis by the light of the moon. Spectacular backdrop of the Pyramid & downtown Memphis, and the "M" Bridge, with the rising full moon behind. $75 each w/Potluck Supper (bring your own dish). Price includes shuttle, outfitting & guiding. Call 662-902-7841 for details & reservations or write john@island63.com. No better way to say goodbye to the shortest day of the year -- with a roaring driftwood fire, good company and the Frosty Beaver Moon rising over the biggest river in North America!


Monday Dec 20th

Frosty Beaver Moon Float - Helena

Crowley's Ridge into Helena. Meet at 1pm at Quapaw Canoe Company Helena Outpost 411 Ohio in downtown Helena Arkansas. Shuttle to the mouth of the St. Francis River. Paddle into sunset. Supper on Buck Island sandbar. Moonrise. Paddle back into Helena by the light of the moon. Spectacular backdrop of Crowley's Ridge, the Helena Bridge & downtown Helena with the rising full moon behind. $75 each w/Potluck Supper (bring your own dish). Price includes shuttle, outfitting & guiding. Call 662-902-7841 for details & reservations or write john@island63.com. No better way to say goodbye to the shortest day of the year -- with a roaring driftwood fire, good company and the Frosty Beaver Moon rising over the face of the biggest river in North America!

Tuesday Dec 21st

Frosty Beaver Moon Float - Clarksdale

Friars Point to Quapaw. Meet at 1pm at Quapaw Canoe Company at 3rd & Sunflower (289 Sunflower) in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi. Shuttle to Montezuma Landing above Friars Point. Paddle into sunset. Supper on Island 62 sandbar. Moonrise. Paddle back in behind Island 63 by the light of the moon. Spectacular backdrop of the big islands, the big sandbars, the big tugboats plowing through the big channels -- with the rising full moon behind. $65 each w/Potluck Supper (bring your own dish). Price includes shuttle, outfitting & guiding. Call 662-902-7841 for details & reservations or write john@island63.com. In celebration of the Winter Solstice/Yule. No better way to say goodbye to the shortest day of the year -- with a driftwood fire, good company and the rising Frosty Beaver Moon!

Wednesday Dec 22nd

Y'all Come: Christmas Party & Open House!!

Party 4-7pm at new Quapaw Canoe Company headquarters in downtown Clarksdale. How are we going to celebrate the Winter Solstice/Yule? Total Lunar Eclipse? Frosty Beaver Moon? With Live Blues Music, Artwork, Wine & Cheese. Also a Slide show and Live screening of MIGHTY QUAPAW (Barefoot Films Documentary) and MISTER & MISSIS SIPPI (the German Raft Trip 2009 St. Louis to New Orleans). We hope you will join us and help us celebrate another successful year on the Mississippi River with a Winter Solstice/Yule Christmas Party 4-7pm at Quapaw Canoe Company headquarters in downtown Clarksdale. Street Level 289 Sunflower (new store front location at 3rd & Sunflower). Call 662-902-7841 for details & reservations or write john@island63.com. Ceramics by Mara Califf and Watercolors by Drfitwood Johnnie.

Upcoming in 2011:

Jan 1: HAPPY CANOE YEAR!

Jan 4-14

Winter Expedition: Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico via Plaquemines, New Orleans and Venice.

Jan 20

1Mississippi St. Louis

March 5-6

Leave No Trace Trainer Course

Now taking reservations for the Leave no Trace Trainer Course + day trip on the Mississippi River St. Francis River to Helena. Camping and Trainer Course at Quapaw Helena at the base of the levee in downtown Helena. Start: 8am Saturday, March 5th. Afternoon canoe trip to Buck Island as part of course. Camp at canoe base. Sunday March 6th 8am-3pm. $85 for the Leave no Trace Trainer Course, $65 for outfitting & guiding on the river + $10 shuttle fee = $160 total for the entire weekend. Includes camping at canoe base, 2 lunches, supper & breakfast. 6 minimum, 12 maximum.

Mississippi 440 -- High Water

(Dates to be announced) Running the length of the State of Mississippi 440 miles from Mud Island Memphis to Natchez Under the Hill, take out at Fort Adams. Paddle several days with us or join us for the whole length! Start out at the foot of Beale Street in the Memphis Harbor, round President's Island and into the Josie Harry Bar section, then Cat island, Tunica Riverpark Museum, Helena, mouth of the Arkansas River, the Greenville Bends, Stack island, Lake Providence, mouth of the Yazoo River, Vicksburg, mouth of the Big Black River, Grand Gulf, Natchez, Homochitto River, the journey ends at the state line on the towering bluffs at Fort Adams, just above Angola, Louisiana.

Robin Whitfield

(March or April) Opening of Exhibition of paintings by renowned Mississippi kayaker-artist Robin Whitfield. Stay tuned for dates. Also upcoming in conjunction with Robin and her artistic talents: 2011 Artist’s Retreat.

April 14-17

Juke Joint Festival

Live blues music. Watercolor workshops & live carving demonstration. Canoeing and kayaking on the Sunflower River. Introducing Stand Up Paddleboards to the Sunflower! Workshops and Rentals. Guided Adventures on the Mississippi River. Full Moon Float Sunday.

May 27-30

Yoga Retreat

On remote Mississippi River Island in conjunction with Delta Yoga.

June 17-19

Bear Dance Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice Celebration with Cherokee Bear Dancers on remote Mississippi River Island, by invitation only. Please contact john@island63.com for more information.

Sept 16-18

Bear Dance Autumnal Equinox

Autumnal Equinox Celebration with Cherokee Bear Dancers on remote Mississippi River Island, by invitation only. Please contact john@island63.com for more information.