Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No 440
Layne's Log: South Pass Island back to Venice
Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
Quick Advance Note: Today is America Recycles Day! Wed Nov 15th. See below for flyer from Marc Taylor, Clarksdale Recycling. Thanks for organizing this Marc!
Layne’s Log: South Pass Island back upstream to Venice, the end of the road (LA23)
Day 10 (Nov 10, 2017)
28 miles paddled today, 167 miles total paddled
Last Day! 28 miles Upstream in 20mph North / ENE winds.
From the River Mile Markers… I assumed it was going to be around 23 miles upstream to Venice… but, I just traced out our path on Google Earth and it was 28.4 miles! Upstream! And with a 20 mph North / ENE headwind!
From the previous night, we all agree to wake up at 4:00am and be packed up at 5:00am. Ship off at 6:00am (sunrise 7:00am). I wake up at 3am and go join John for some morning coffee.
The wind is a stout 20 mph Northeast wind and the sky is full of stars with some clouds. I finally get a chance to take some night pictures… and I get some cool pictures with headlamp trails, stars and airplanes flying by.
River makes up our last hot breakfast of cooked apples and oatmeal. River and Lena have been amazing on this trip cooking the entire time for us 8-9 paddlers. Paddles up to you two!
The Gulf is grumpy this morning the south side of the island is rough waters… so, we decide to launch on the south side of the island. That means that we need to drag/push Grasshopper (550 lbs) and Cricket (550 lbs & 400 lbs respectively… and semi-loaded) through the 40 feet of roseau cane and to the water. So, we do it with no problem (Grasshopper did slow down pretty good at the end… hehe).
At time of launch, the sun is coming up with a beautiful sunrise.
The strong wind has an east direction in it… so, we hug the roseau cane coming up the South Pass. We paddle by Port Eads Lighthouse and then make it up to the South Pass Campground (Pass a-Loutre WMA) after 10 miles. This is a great place for lunch… so, we take advantage. There are 4 big tents there and they are all duck hunters. Opening season is in the morning. We talk with Curtis (MS State grad… Hail State!) that lives in Houma. He gives us info about all the years and places he has hunted. He says that where we are and to the east is where all the duck are these days.
Off again upstream, and make it to the Head of Passes. Lena has been carrying the ashes of Captain Jimmy (Clarksdale resident and long distance paddler that paddled to the Gulf often in his life)… and we spread his ashes at Mile Zero. A cool touching moment.
We look before crossing … as our Mom & Dad always taught us…and Pass a-Loutre is clear and no boats/ships… so, we cross. We have no protection from the wind now… and we feel its full force. It’s not too bad, because it’s only a 0.6 mile crossing distance.
We continue to hug the east side of the river and make pass Pilottown and get to Cubit’s Gap. This is a 1.0 mile crossing in open water. Once we get 100 yards into… our forward movement stops … but, we’re still paddling! So, I tell the crew… “Paddle hard fellows! We’re not going anywhere!”. We pickup speed and beeline to the nearest shore on the other side. It was a pretty hard paddle and we rest up when tucked under the east side rock protection.
Paddling to Venice: we now have Ships and big boats to watch for. But, we’re not exactly concerned to be run over by them… as we are traveling the shore line. We just need to watch out for the big waves. They can pickup height as they come into the shallows.
Everything works out and the sun is close to setting. Two big Ships are going upstream and we make our decision to cross after the last one.
As we paddle into Tiger Pass and the sun is almost set… they must be giving away free fuel somewhere… because every boat, jon boat, oyster boat, shrimp boat, crew boat… etc is coming into Venice. This Pass was choppy from all the boats.
We land into the Cypress Cove Marina at 6:20pm. It took us 10 hours (minus a few breaks) to paddle 28 miles upstream. But, Grasshopper and Cricket just smile at the river. That’s what they live and love to do.
RiverGator Celebratory Trip from St Louis to Gulf of Mexico is officially over. It was an amazing experience with great friends. I will think about it often and just smile real big...
After a 3-day celebration camp the Rivergator crew leaves South Pass Island in two voyageur canoes: 29' Grasshopper and 24' Cricket -- l-r from rear: Lena Von Machui, Boyce Upholt, Mark River, l-r front row: Julia Holmes, Chris Battaglia, Jamie Lynn Miller, Michael Orr, Robert Landreneau, and Layne Logue. Not pictured: Chris Staudinger and John Ruskey.
Capt Layne Logue has been keeping a daily journal of the progress of the expedition on the Rivergator Facebook Page, which he calls the "Layne's Log:"
What is the Rivergator Celebratory Expedition?
This Trip is the Rivergator.org Celebratory Trip for the completion of the non-profit free paddlers guide mile by mile on the Mississippi River from St Louis to the Gulf of Mexico (including the Atchafalaya River). That’s over 1,350 miles surveyed and paddled 3 times over 6 years. John Ruskey & the Mighty Quapaws have paddled all of these sections 3 times (at low, medium and high water). So, in all they have paddled close to 4,500 miles to create 1 million words of Rivergator.org. This trip is part II: Bonnet Carre Spillway (north of New Orleans, mile 127) to the Gulf of Mexico (mile -12)
Links Connected to Rivergator Celebration & Expedition:
Sundown Sat Dec 16:
- Quapaw Canoe Company Christmas Party - Winter Solstice Bonfire -
Rivergator Celebration -
Sat Dec 16th: Sunflower River, downtown Clarksdale, starting at sundown: We will be sharing photos, videos, artwork, and many adventure stories around the campfire, in celebration of the Rivergator -- and also the winter Solstice. This done in conjunction with the annual Quapaw Canoe Company Christmas Party (legendary parties!). Potluck feast, BYOB. We'll provide eatware, serving utensils, and the bonfire. Bring your guitar. All are welcome to join us on the banks for the Sunflower River. Exhibition to be set up nearby in the "Cave" location, the original home base of Quapaw Canoe Company (flooded out in 2016).
~ This portion of the expedition is made possible thanks to a partnership with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network ~
America Recycles Day!
Flyer from "Miss Recycle Clarksdale," Marc Taylor;
Thanks for organizing this Marc!
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