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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 361

Harvest Moon Water Church

--- Tuesday Sept 13, 2016, Clarksdale, Miss - Helena, AR ---

Covering the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Memphis to New Orleans. We agree with the Standing Rock Sioux: water is more valuable than oil. Please don't pollute our precious waters with more pipeline crossings!

Upcoming Events:

Friday Sept 16th Full Harvest Moon: celebrate the 2016 Full Harvest Moon with other luna-tics in a hand crafted voyageur style canoe -- paddling down the mysterious river into the undulating lights of landmarks like the M-Bridge, the Pyramid and the hustle & bustle of downtown Memphis…

Saturday Sept 17th Water Church: a day-long adventure exploring the heart & soul of the muddy river as it bounces back and forth under endless skies in between the big islands of the Lower Miss -- it inspired poets, painters and prophets -- it will inspire you!

(keep reading below for details)

Welcoming Lena von Machui

Paddle’s up to our newest multi-talented Mighty Quapaw: Lena von Machui. Like many Clarksdalians (myself included) Lena came for a visit and never left. And boy, are we glad she did! In Quapaw spirit, she brings many skills and talents to the biggest river in North America. Although she is officially our "big river secretary," you might notice her involvment with many Quapaw Canoe Company activities, from guided trips to canoe carving, from youth programs to social media. Lena relocated to Clarksdale from Germany in 2012. She came to research the history of the housing situation in the Mississippi Delta, and wound up never leaving. After working as the coordinator of the Clarksdale affiliate of Habitat for Humanity for four years, as well as spending a lot of time volunteering with a local after school program, Lena is now the secretary of the Quapaw Canoe Company. Though many of her tasks are in the administrative field, she likes to participate in all of the Quapaw activities; from canoe building to river trips. Due to her earlier research, as well as through the community ties developed in the past years in Clarksdale, Lena has gained a deep appreciation not just for the people and the communities of the Mississippi Delta, but also for the Big River which created it all.

Life-Changing Adventure: Exploring Mindset

Ready for a life-changing adventure? Sat Sept 24 - Sun Oct 2. Join world class adventurers Dave Cornthwaite & Emily Penn on a 8-day life changing expedition down the Lower Mississippi River. There are a few seats left open in the big canoes! Explore the wild recesses of your heart (and your mind) while journeying down some of the most beautiful wild sections of the big river in voyageur canoes hand-crafted and guided by Quapaw Canoe Company. Go to Exploring Mindset or Pangaea Exploration for more information and sign-up!

Full Harvest Moon

Friday, September 16, 2016

This will be a special night to celebrate to the Full Harvest Moon, in the time of the Autumnal Equinox. Put in at Meeman Shelby Forest and paddle into the rich undulating colors of sunset as the river swirls between islands and floodplain forests. Make a landing for supper on one of the big sandbars. Build a fire, and enjoy the rising of the moon over the Mississippi River. After moon-rise set off again in the canoe paddling now by the mysterious undulating light of the Full Moon past the mouth of the Loosahatchie River, the Wolf River, and then down along Mud Island and into the Memphis Harbor at the foot of Beale Street. The sandbars are as bright as snowfields in the full moon and the river glistens like shiny liquid steel.

Date: Friday, September 16, 2016

Meet Place: Mud Island Memphis

Meet Time: 4:30pm, shuttle leaves at 5pm

End Time: 11pm-12midnight (depends on storytelling, songs, wind, towboats & etc)

Quapaw Provides: canoe, paddles, lifejackets and all necessary river gear, first aid kits, VHF Marine Radio, running lights, and all necessary emergency gear. Enamel plates & silverware for potluck supper.

Bring with You: Snacks, 2 water bottles, something to share for Potluck Supper. Shoes you don’t mind getting wet & muddy. sweater or fleece, long pants (or fleece). Mosquito repellant. Headlamp or Flashlight. Cell Phone in Ziplock.

Come prepared to paddle. Dress for the weather. More details below. Questions or reservations? contact Lena Von Machui or John Ruskey

Autumnal Equinox

Equinox literally means “Equal night” -- and equal day. It's the one day the whole world shares the same duration of sunlight and darkness. In the Deep South we will be leaving the throes of the long hot summer days as the earth rotates on its axis and will now be cooling off with longer nights and shorter days. This will be a spiritually charged night in conjunction with a Full Harvest Moon. The moon will rise at sunset and will be at its brightest as we paddle the flowing waters of the Mississippi coming into Memphis. As we paddle you can enjoy the light of the rising moon, the Pyramid, the “M” Bridge and all of downtown Memphis reflecting melismatically in the curvy language of river boils, eddies & ripples.

Water Church --

Mississippi River Day of Action

Saturday, September 17


Meet: Quapaw Canoe Company

3rd & Sunflower in downtown Clarksdale, MS

Come prepared to paddle and pray. Dress for the weather. Details below. Questions or reservations: contact Lena Von Machui or John Ruskey

Water Church: a day-long adventure exploring the heart & soul of the river.

Description: Water Church is a special opportunity to experience the mysterious muddy power and spiritual majesty of the Mighty Mississippi. This offering is being made in conjunction with the Mississippi River Day of Action as a way to get closer to the essence of the river — and your deepest spiritual feelings — with a day of exploration by canoe! This daytrip is open to anyone who wants to partake in the truly awesome experience of paddling the river as the world awakens around you, the effervescent colors of the sky & the river arranging themselves by degrees in blues, greens, yellows, oranges & reds down low on the horizon, as the angular light slowly increases, the first songs of the birds in the forest, the deer slipping away into the woods for the day, coyotes running along the banks, beaver finishing their last piece of willow and disappearing into a cut bank burrow.

Route: Put in at Montezuma Landing and paddle into the rich colors of sunrise with maybe whisps of fog lingering over the water following the main channel of the river between Friars Point Islands and Dewberry Bar. Make a breakfast landing on one of the big sandbars, maybe build a fire, and enjoy the intensifying light over the Mississippi River. Set off again paddling past Old Towne Bend, the endless sand dunes of Island 62, and then into the chute of Island 63, where wild turkey often fly across the channel and beaver populate the banks. Also commonly seen: Asian carp, white tailed deer, river otter, and (infrequently) coyotes and wild boar.

Quapaw provides life jackets, paddles and all necessary river & emergency gear. All ages welcome. (We have life jackets for all sizes & shapes, including infants!) Meals include all the food prep, campfire cooking, cookware and eatware, and cleanup. Wear shoes & clothing you don’t mind getting muddy & wet. Swimmers: bring swim wear and towel. Sun screen or sun protective clothing for sensitive people. Leave towel & change of clothing in your car. Be prepared for possible rain showers. Bring daypack for personal items. Place cell phone, camera and any other electronics in zip locks, drybags or dry box. Schedule subject to change if inclement weather closes in. First come, first served. Email for signup.

Water Church is a group of caring people of faith who cherish the Mississippi River as a sacred trust and want to equip each of us to address the issues challenging the river. We feel that there is no other place to get closer to the heavens -- than on the face of the waters of the biggest river in North America.

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Our Projects: we are dedicated to the long-term health of the people and waters of the Lower Mississippi River through deep engangement and balance.

Rivergator: 1 million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:

Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way? Only with your care and protection.

Our Friends: include supporting businesses along the Mississippi River such as:

Quapaw Canoe Company: custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Big Muddy Adventures: custom-guided adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Mermec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.