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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 843
~~~~~~~~ Monday, May 17, 2021 ~~~~~~~~~
Clarksdale, MS ~ Memphis, TN ~ Vicksburg, MS

Next week we will be Weaving Asana -- with Elements of Dance -- and a Deep Connection to the Breath -- on a giant Mississippi River Sandbar Island!

Will you be on board with us Quapaws -- in partnership with the Mississippi Delta dancer, yogi, and transcendental element motion weaver, Erin Mulligan?

Flower Moon River & Yoga Retreat

May 25-27, 2021


Join Erin, John, and the Quapaw Canoe Company on this three-day/two-night adventure where you’ll practice yoga on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. This trip is designed for you to experience true nature among friends, the stars, and a full Flower Moon (May 26). Enjoy morning and evening yoga and meditation sessions, gourmet vegetarian meals daily, and plenty of free time to explore, get quiet, and rest. This adventure is for everyone, whether you're a seasoned yogi or beginner. The River will provide a safe space to go inward, and your guides will provide the structure for a fun and exploratory journey.

River level will affect which island we can get to, and which island will be the best for this wonderful, life-enriching retreat! We’ll camp somewhere between Clarksdale and Rosedale -- on some wild, remote island located within our favorite stretch of river — the Muddy Waters Wilderness, between Montezuma and Quapaw, near Clarksdale, or maybe further south, deeper within the Muddy Waters Wilderness.

Quapaw vessels are handcrafted 29-foot long French voyageur style canoes. All participants paddle together; no previous experience necessary.


  • Yoga and meditation classes on the banks of the Mississippi River

  • Paddling on the river

  • Enjoy evenings spent by the fire under the full Harvest Moon

  • Free time to explore the river banks, write, read, paint, swim, nap...

  • Optional hikes to swimming holes

  • 3 daily meals

Skill Level: Beginner


3 Days/2 Nights: $650

Includes yoga and meditation instruction, meals, shuttle, canoes, paddles, lifejackets, and all river and kitchen equipment. Pack gear into our dry bags. Pack your tent and sleeping bag, or rent from us $35/each item.

Registration requires 1/2 down deposit (or full payment) by cash, check, or credit card via PayPal.

To register, please contact John Ruskey by calling 662-902-7841 or …


In the event of bad weather, a full refund will be issued. We may not be able to refund if participant cancels for personal reasons.


(Subject to change)


10:00 Meet at Quapaw Canoe Company Clarkdale, pack dry bags, and gear

11:00 Leave for River

12:00 River trip begins

4:00 Arrive on the island, set up camp

5:30 - 6:30 Gentle Yoga & Meditation

7:00 Dinner


7:00 Morning Meditation

7:30 Breakfast

9:00 - 10:00 Yoga

10:00 - 12:00 Free time for exploring or resting

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 4:00 Free time

4:00 - 5:00 Yoga

6:30 Dinner


7:00 Morning Meditation

7:30 Breakfast

9:00 - 10:00 Yoga

10:00 - 11:00 Pack, Break Camp

11:00 Lunch

12:00 Finish Pack up and depart

3:00 take out

4:30 Arrive in Clarksdale

Coming in Two Weeks: May 25-28, 2021
Erin Mulligan Yoga Retreat
Seats still Open!

For more info, go to:

and click on:

Spring 2021 Artist Retreat
Photos & Sketches by John Ruskey

Some scenes from our journey: the wilderness within

Looking to the wonders of the heavens during the time of the full pink moon

And following tracks over the elemental face of the earth

River Otter


Mississippi Map Turtle hatchlings everywhere, on the move

All of creation, and all of the universe, informing our pens and pencils, our paintbrushes and cameras, our guitars and ukeleles...

Some with subtle design...

Some not so subtle

The pathway is sometimes soft...

Following footsteps of the muses, wherever they take us...

Or beckon...

The Wilderness within: This is a recapitulation of an ongoing theme of ours, the wilderness within. What is wilderness? Where do we find it? What does it do to our hearts? Our souls? Our pathway forward? The setting for this is the wild islands of the Lower Mississippi River, or on the Mississippi Barrier Islands. The vessel is our voyageur canoes. Our feet open the islands, our paddles open the wild watery world surrouding. Our paintbrushes, guitars, ukeleles, cameras, pens and pencils are the tools in the exploration, inward and outward. The rhythm of the quiet breath in, and the exhalation following sets the pace. In the stillness between thoughts, and in the space between our footsteps, and between our inhalations, the universe opens up, with infinite dimension and possibility...

Birds spotted during Artist's Retreat: Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Wild Turkey, Mourning Dove, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Tern, Common Tern, gull species, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, White Ibis, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Wren, Northern Mockingbird, Bobolink, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Palm Warbler, Summer Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, various Hummingirds, and Dickcissel. (Thanks to biologist Lynda Saul for compiling this list!)

Note: next opportunities for creative/spiritual rejuvenation with Quapaw Canoe Company takes place in less than 2 weeks! May 25-28, Erin Mulligan Yoga Retreat

Also, now on the calendar: Nov 8 - Nov 14 Horn Island Naturalist's Expedition