Narrative: This is a journey through some of the wildest & remote islands & forests of the Lower Mississippi. Described in a 12-page article in National Geographic Adventure Magazine, August 2007. Great back channels & oxbow lakes to explore. Fossil finding & rock hunting at Knowlton Crevasse & Catfish Point. Great swimming throughout. Abundant wildlife, exceptional birding, world class fisheries, the greatest concentration of white tailed deer in the country, as well as the Louisiana black bear. No towns or industry. The only evidence of civilization is the tugboats on the river. We’ll pass by the mouth of DeSoto Lake, where nearby its namesake explorer Hernando DeSoto is thought to have discovered the “Rio Grande,” as he called it, the “Big River.” He and his men witnessed an armada of 200 Indian canoes on the river. Some of the canoes held 70 to 80 warriors. Opposite Smith Point (Camp II) is the mouth of the White River, through which commercial traffic can access the Arkansas River through the Arkansas Post Canal. This region saw the visit of explorers Jolliette & Marquette (1673), LaSalle (1681) and John James Audubon (1820). It was also the heart of the Quapaw Nation, the Siouan tribe who followed the rivers downstream out of the Ohio River Valley and settled within the forests of this dynamic confluence. Choctaw Island Wildlife Area is the southernmost public island in the Lower Mississippi Water Trail being developed by the American Land Conservancy & others. The route ends with passage through the notorious “Greenville Bends” whose collapsing forests and ruthless pirates & moonshiners caused much misery to steamboat pilots.
This section of Lower Mississippi river flows alongside the Mississippi Delta closest to where the late great McKinley Morganfield (AKA Muddy Waters) grew up and lived the vast majority of years of his southern life (25 years). The shuttle out includes a stop at his home site (Stovall Plantation) and passes through the landscape he played in, fished in, and worked in. You will want to visit Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum before or after the journey to see the original cabin, hand-hewn from huge Cypress Logs, and learn more about the earth-shaking artistic tradition that evolved in this region, the Delta Blues.
Put in at Quapaw Landing, (12 miles W. of Clarksdale). 101 miles on the river. Take-out at Warfield Point State Park.
Schedule: Meet in Clarksdale at 9am.
Put in: Quapaw Landing, 11am Paddle to Island 64 (11 river miles)
Camp I: Island 64
Points of Interest: Island 63, island 62, Burke’s Point, Modoc’s Pass,, Island 64, Muscadine Vine Kingdom)
Schedule: Island 64 to Concordia (22 river miles)
Camp: Concordia Towhead
Points of Interest: Cessions Towhead, Island 69, Knowlton Crevasse, Hurricane Point, Mouth of DeSoto Lake, Mouth of Mellwood Lake
Schedule: Concordia to Mouth of the Arkansas River (23 river miles)
Camp: Arkansas Bar
Points of Interest: : Cessions Towhead, Island 69, Knowlton Crevasse, Dennis Landing, Island 70, Smith Point, Mouth of the White River, Big Island, Victoria Bend, Great River Road State Park, Arkansas Bar Wilderness
Schedule: Mouth of the Arkansas River to Choctaw Island (20 river miles)
Camp: Choctaw Island
Points of Interest: : Napoleon Townsite, Lake Whittington, Catfish Point, Cypress Bend, Eutaw Bar, Chicot Landing, Choctaw Island Wildlife Preserve
Schedule: Choctaw Island to Warfield Point (25 river miles)
Take-out 3pm; back in Clarksdale around 5pm.
Points of Interest: : Napoleon Townsite (abandoned), mouth of Lake Whittington, Catfish Point, Cypress Bend, Eutaw Bar, Chicot Landing, Choctaw Island Wildlife Preserve
Sunrise, Greenville Bends
All expeditions are outfitted with first-aid kits, rescue ropes, life preservers, cellular communication, and VHF marine radio. Please remember itinerary is dependent on river level and prevailing weather. When on the river, there is no time but “River Time.”