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Quapaw Canoe Company

Winter/Spring 2013

Celebrating our 15th Anniversary Year!

Scroll below for the first Mark River Blog of the New Year. See below for scheduled paddling, or write us to set up your own custom-guided adventure. Go to www.island63.com and click on “Calendar” for open dates. Or go to www.rivergator.org and create your own self-guided odyessey on the biggest river in North America. And may the River be with You!

January, 2013

Big Canoe Construction we will be woodshedding for the next 4 months in the construction of two new 29 foot cypress strip voyageur canoes -- as well as the usual dreaming, scheming and making plans for the Happy “New Canoe” Year...

February, 2013

Saturday, Feb 16th, 12 noon

Friends of the Sunflower River

General Annual Membership Meeting

12 noon on the Deck of the Sunflower Walk

(3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi, next to Quapaw Canoe Company)

Feb 18-28, 2013

Circumnavigation of Big Island

10-day circumnavigation of Big Island by canoe as a learning adventure for the benefit of sponsoring schools and classrooms throughout the region. Big Island is a truly spectacular natural phenomena, a landscape cut by, flooded by and defined by three biggest and most important rivers of deep south, the Mississippi, the Arkansas and the White. This will be the first documented canoe circumnavigation of Big Island in the history of its existence. With “Big Muddy” Mike of Big Muddy Adventures for the students and teachers of St. Ann's of Normandy (St. Louis).

March, 2013

“Quapaw-under-the-Levee”

The Helena Outpost of Quapaw Canoe Company will be moving into a new permanent location set into the river levee at 107 Perry with dugout canoe carving, artwork, maps, river rocks & fossils, fantastic driftwood, and an impressive incredible collection of canoes, kayaks and stand-up-paddleboards (SUPs) all awaiting your use on the Mississippi River to now public-use Buck Island and the mouth of the St. Francis River.

April, 2013

Saturday, April 6th

Naturefest at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science paddling on the Pearl River with the Mighty Quapaws!

May, 2013

High Water Tour #1

Greenville Bends

5-day circumnavigation of the legendary Greenville Bends, storied loops of the Lower Mississippi River, moonshiner haven, river pirates and ancient native homeland, rich forests and vibrant wildlife.

High Water Tour #2

Arkansas City to Vicksburg

126 miles. One week exploration of the Lower Mississippi River from Choctaw Island to the mouth of the Yazoo River at Vicksburg.

June, 2013

High Water Tour #3

Chickasaw Bluffs

Caruthersville to Memphis

113 miles. One week exploration of the Big River from Caruthersville, Missouri to Memphis, Tennessee with visits to all four of the legendary Chickasaw Bluffs and paddling past the mouths of most of the important tributary rivers of Western Tennessee, the Obion, the Hatchie, the Loosahatchie and the Wolf.

High Water Tour #4

Upper Mississippi Delta

Memphis to Helena

73 miles. 4-day exploration of the all of the many habitats found aloung the Lower Mississippi River leaving from from Memphis, Tennessee and dropping into the wild Mississipi Delta, past all of the casinos and big islands, and the mouth of the St. Francis River.

Mark River Blog:

Family Time and the River

As the winter sets in and the holidays approach the Mighty Quapaws clean and repair our vessels for the upcoming season. In good spirits and anticipating the season to come, I feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing I'm headed to New England to see my family in Hingham, Massachusetts, on the south shore of Boston. This is the time when I gorge myself on fresh seafood and "hit the gym" to bulk up for the expeditions to come on the Mississippi River. It is also time for family walks, conversations, football, movies, and very competitive games of Scrabble, Banana-grams, and Rummmikub. Even though my everyday life is full of unconditional love, sharing of knowledge, and infinite moral support I can't help myself, but to relate everything to the Mississippi River.

We spend the daytime hours walking in beautiful places like World's End, a peninsula along the south shore. Large drumlins with horizontal striations an indication of the direction of the receding glaciers of long ago. Huge eastern white pines and hemlocks, northern red and white oaks, red and sugar maples spread across the landscape.

I think to myself, "where are the willows"? A favorite of Mighty Quapaw Chris "Wolfie the River Otter" Staudinger and a staple along the Lower Mississippi River.

I look out at the Atlantic Ocean. Beautiful homes fill the coastline in Hull and Hingham with the picturesque Nantasket Beach in the middle. Herring gulls comb the sky letting the surf bring in bounties of clams and mussels. I say to the birds, "I know your cousins" referring to the gulls of the Mississippi River. A lone surfer braves the waves of the cold ocean and I think about Driftwood John Ruskey. My brother Earl and his wife Charlotte say, "Hey, we gotta show you something".

We jump in the Land Rover and head south towards Cape Cod. I look out of the car window and flying beside us is a beautiful Red-Tail Hawk, a sacred bird in my life, so I knew this trip was going to be great.

We cross the Sycamore Canal Bridge and enter the oldest town in Cape Cod, Sandwich, Mass. It has a boardwalk leading to the ocean that's so long it seems to disappear with the curvature of the earth. It takes you across wetlands, marshes, bogs, and sand dunes eventually making it's way to the ocean. We walk the beach enjoying the sound of the ocean clashing the rocks, while collaborating with the wind and the sounds of the sea furring birds. Being the corporate executive that she is, Charlotte goes, "Now's a great time to share our goals and dreams of the year." We emotionally share our thoughts, hug, and start our walk back. That's why I come here, it's real, like myself and the Mississippi River.

On the way back I look up and coming out of the Sycamore Canal is a huge towboat with barge attached. I tear up and think to myself, "The Mississippi!"

We end the night soothing our weary muscles with family interaction, good food, great red wine, and holiday bowl games. I'm blessed.

When not combing the beaches or walking in old deciduous forest, we frequent the movie theaters. The first was Steven Spielberg's, " Lincoln". Wow, what a movie. Halfway thru the movie Abraham Lincoln tells the story of the time he went down the Mississippi River, and the change it made in his life, and our country. I sat in my seat smiling knowing I'm involved in this iconic national treasure.

The next night to lighten the mood, we went to see Quentin Tarratino's, "Django". The majority of the movie setting was in Greenville, Mississippi, a town frequented by the Mighty Quapaws on our expeditions. No matter what my geographical setting is the Mississippi River is always on my mind.

We head back through these mystical historical New England towns, reading the plaques on the homes that state the year of establishment, while broods of turkeys forage in the roadside meadows and swamps. Some of these homes dated back to the 1700's. My brother Earl spots a gigantic sycamore tree. "Wow", I think," Monkey would be all over that tree!" referring to Chris "Monkey" Higgins, my Mighty Quapaw brother.

I sleep that night, at my brother's home in Black Rock, dreaming I'm in my tent on the Mississippi River listening to the coyotes serenade and gather for the nights scavenge. All of sudden I hear a crazy woman screaming and whistling at the coyotes, "Pow Pow! Pow Pow!" I wake realizing it was no dream watching Charlotte attempting to scare away the coyotes. The neighbors and the coyotes thought it was amusing. I laugh knowing the neighbor's had something to joke and gossip about.

The next morning we tease Charlotte about her embarrassing moment, while Earl drives to get the mail. He's shows up with the mail as I take off downstairs for the couch. I hear a glorious cheer throughout the home, "woo-oooo!" I sprint back up the stairs and my brother shouts," Cameron!"

My nephew Cameron got a full ride scholarship for biomedical engineering from Mississippi State!

A year ago this time, with the help and moral support of Earl, Charlotte, and Cameron, I made the decision to dedicate my life to the Mississippi River. Their hard work and dedication to Cameron and I has given us the intestinal fortitude to follow our dreams with unwavering moral support and unconditional love of family.

I realized that the feeling I get from my stewardship on the Mississippi River with the Mighty Quapaws is the same feeling I receive when I'm with my family. That's sacred.

Just like the Mississippi River.

To the River!

-Mark “River” Peoples

Mark River is a guide and youth instructor with Quapaw Canoe Company and is also the 1 Mississippi Southern Region Intern representing the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.