Close Window
Rivergator Reaches Memphis!
LMRD No 399

April 11, 2017

Rivergator reaches Memphis!

Thanks Memphians Chuck, Edwin, Tom, PawPaw, Theresa @ Jabberwocky Magazine (the Earth Friendly Family Publication), Josh, Jason, Robert, Warren, and others for meeting us and helping us celebrate the Rivergator! Thanks Trey and Mud Island for making us welcome. Thanks Nikki's Hot A** Chips for the box of spicey chips and extra spice!

Rivergator Update:

We have been joined by a variety of voyageurs on this stretch of river, from Caruthersville to Memphis to Helena, AR. PS: Currently the expedition is on a resupply break mid-week, to return to the river Good Friday. Keep reading below for Mark River's and Andy McLean's latest journal entries.


Check out Magique's (Chris Battaglia's) vimeo piece (created for Blue Mind: Seven Ages of Water):

Boyce Upholt Canoe & Kayak stories:



Latest Voyageurs joining expedition:

Dennis Van Norman, AJ Fantastique, Abby Ruskey, Robin Colonas, Christine Ingrassia, Emma Ingrassia, and Nick & Jen Lyman. We appreciate you for the paddlestrokes and good spirit on the Rivergator Celebration Expedition! May the spirit of the river be with you!

(R-L) Emma & Christine Ingrassia (Daughter & Mother)

Dennis Van Norman

Abby Ruskey

Mark River's Rivergator Journal
Listen to Nature

We leave Caruthersville on our first sunny day of the trip. Days like these make you forget about the cloudy, cold, rainy days of spring. I take a needed break from my wetsuit and adverse-weather clothing to feel the healing warmth of the sun rays incident to my face. We take advantage of the great weather and embark on a 62-mile day to a slither of sand at the bottom of the first Chickasaw Bluff. We were expecting high winds in the following days, so we had find a place to protect us from the wind.
With the high winds approaching, we wake at 4am, in order to be on the water at sunrise to head downstream to Dean's Island. We find an archipelago of islands 26 miles north of Memphis with protection on all sides from the gusting winds we expected. Our plan works out well. We arrive at the island by 10am, before the high winds created white-capped swells.
We plan on hunkering down for two days to let the winds subside. Days on land are great for resting and exploring-- an opportunity to feel your surroundings and listen to nature. The one thing I have noticed throughout this expedition is that the animals are way ahead of schedule. Canadian Geese are already nesting. The Least Terns are arriving months before summer. Maybe the males are here to practice their fishing techniques, so they can be chosen by a highly coveted female? Turtle markings line the sandy bluffs. Baby Map Turtles are floating in the surf. They are about a month early. The water is heating up fast. Stoneflies are emerging. Stoneflies, Mayflies, and Caddis flies are major food sources of fish. Does this mean there will be an early spawn? Parachute Spiders fill the air. This usually occurs during the summer months. Bees are busy on the islands, a welcoming site. Monarch butterflies hover in the wind. Spring Peepers sing their chorus throughout the night. Wild dew-berries blooming. We should be watching and listening to these creatures. They know more than we think.
We humans have lost contact with these wild places. Our bodies are being altered daily by superficial mechanisms that mean nothing. We are being blindsided by material things that takes our minds of what's real. We can learn a lot from watching and listening to natural things. You will feel better, think more clearly and figure out that all chains of life are important and that without them we will suffer greatly. We are not here to profit off of every piece of land and all the resources it provides, but to maintain and sustain all life for a healthy balance on this earth. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Let's not be the weak link.

-Mark River

Andy McLean's Journal:

The Rivergator expedition is providing an opportunity to explore the idea of working on rivers through having an extended period in the outdoors. More than that though, it is about being part of something where each paddle stroke is a contribution towards the bigger mission of our voyager canoe's safe passage to the Gulf.
The experience of a river expedition is a very different feeling - it is very much an existence that comes to form as a life removed from what I know. It's a place where a new routine can be established, one where the daily fuel is generated by movement through the water and an appreciation of the people that help the mission evolve each day.
The environment is a challenging one, where the need to be adaptable to the forces of nature and the limitations of natural environment we find ourselves is more a mindset than a skill. For me, this makes the expedition more a mental challenge than a physical one.
The river seems to provide time in a way that other experiences do not and this time added to the fresh wilderness air is a wonderful combination. As the days become weeks, I'm experiencing a positive affect on my outlook for the path ahead which in turn creates an energy for each day's paddling to come.

Exploring Mindset

PS: Andy was first inspired by the Mississippi River by Dave Cornthwaite & Emily Penn's Exploring Mindset, which takes place every year in the fall.

Go to for full details about joining the 2017 edition with Dave & Emily!

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
is brought to you courtesy of
The Lower Mississippi River Foundation