David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
04/12  Most boring trip ever?
04/13  Muddy Pecatonica
04/14  Say Yes to Drugs
04/15  Add a little Sugar and Rock
04/16  Worst campsite ever.
04/21  Island Of Honking Geese
04/22  Hennepin Feeder Canal
04/23  Locks, sand and muck
04/28  Henry
04/30  No Current on Peoria Lake
05/01  Industry and Locks
05/02  Rain and Eagles
05/04  Half-Way on the Illinois
05/05  Medium-Rare Meatloaf
05/06  Always Pepsi-Cola
05/08  Onto the Mississippi
05/09  St. Louis
05/10  Short Day
05/12  Barge Full of Rocks
05/13  Between Green and Red
05/14  Now comes the hard part
05/15  Metropolis
05/18  Tennessee River
05/19  No Lock For You
05/20  Snakes
05/21  New Johnsonville
05/25  Day of the Mayflies
05/26  Look, Another Cliff
05/27  Rotund Sunburns
05/28  Free Heron
05/30  Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
05/31  Bay Springs Lake
06/01  Locks are for the Patient
06/02  Tombigbee
06/06  Bamboo and Palmettos
06/07  Dry in AlaBAMa
06/08  Cutting Corners
06/09  Another day on the river
06/10  Demopolis
06/15  Hardest Portage Ever
06/16  Hot Rocky Beaches
06/17  First Alligator
06/18  Last Dam
06/19  Tide
06/20  Trashy Beaches
06/21  Just paddling down Interstate 10
06/27  Salty
06/28  Intracoastal Waterway
06/29  Come Sail Away
06/30  Peddling Along
07/01  Panama City
07/07  The Gulf of Mexico
07/08  Peacocks by the Sea
07/11  No Wind
07/12  Actually Sailing
07/13  Tacking
07/14  Steinhatchee
07/19  As sudden as ever
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Between Green and Red

2012-05-13

tl;dr: I have found that the channel down the middle of the Mississippi is the place to paddle.

When I first arrived on the Mississippi River I was very nervous about crossing it. I would hug one bank for a while. Then, after a great deal of consideration, I'd paddle on over to the other side. After a day of this I became more cavalier in my crossings and would spend more time farther from the shore. Today, I realized the place to be is between those channel markers! Not only is the current significantly faster, but it is much smoother. Outside the channel you have to deal with wing dikes. They are supposed to funnel water toward the channel, but they are all submerged right now, so you can float right over them...into a maelstrom of switching currents that compete to flip you over.

Floating down the channel is smooth for the most part. I don't actually stay in the middle but follow the buoys so I'm right on the edge of the channel. Green buoys are on the right; red on the left. This works out okay until a towboat comes chugging upriver. Those boats don't move very fast, so it's easy to get out of their way. However, about five minutes after one passes the turbulence hits. It's not really a wake. I can only wish that it were so. But the entire river becomes agitated and choppy behind those boats. (See pictures.) This lasts for at least twenty minutes, which is about when you meet yet another towboat.

The current is very strong. Often I will see something (like a boat landing or beach) that I decide I should land at, and will start paddling for it. And completely miss because I am now downriver.

I came across an abandoned campsite. After a good once-over, I determined the only thing useful would be several cans of Vienna sausages. I opened one can, and ate one sausage. You know what, these things aren't good under normal circumstances. I moved on.

towboat in the mist


pipe bridge


Tower Rock


green buoys on the right


red buoys on the left


before the towboat


towboat going upriver


standing waves


thank you towboat




Cape Girardeau river front




abandoned campsite


looking back at Cape Girardeau


it's the MARY ANN again





contact me at le@liverworks.com
< 2012-05-12 Barge Full of Rocks 2012-05-14 Now comes the hard part >