David Johnson's Travel Blog
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04/12  Most boring trip ever?
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Locks are for the Patient

2012-06-01

tl;dr: I locked once and portaged three times, because locks are just too frustrating.

It rained much of the night, and by morning there was a strong northwest wind that had the water downright inconvenient.

I paddled an hour to the Jamie Whitten Lock and Dam. I pulled the small craft rope, because nobody was answering the radio. It turns out I'm supposed to be on channel 16 after all. After entering the lock and not hearing anything, I turned around and almost left with the intention to portage. About that time the lockmaster stuck his head over the side. It took forever to get through that lock, but the portage would have been worse. That dam holds back eighty feet of water, and the lower side of the dam is all shear cut stone.

When I was approaching the Montgomery Lock and Dam, I decided to radio in way ahead of time so I wouldn't have to wait. It turns out they were ready for me. I was given instructions to switch to channel 12 and come on in, and then...nothing. I waited for ten minutes, making occasional queries on the radio. Eventually I turned around, exited the lock, and portaged. Zenith of patience am I. This portage was actually quite easy. Just as I was almost down to the water the radio fired up again because the lockmaster couldn't see me. Apparently they have "radio problems." I apologized for troubling them and went on my way.

At the John Rankin and Fulton Locks I didn't even bother with the radio. I had reviewed them earlier on my map and so just portaged straight away. Portaging is a lot faster if it's practical. I don't like dragging over all those big rocks, though. And I keep expecting to scare up a snake.

I sat under the bridge in Fulton, MS for a bit trying to decide if I was going to walk to the local Walmart, which was about a mile away. I didn't necessarily need anything. But I really wanted that General Tso Chicken they always stock. I decided against it. It seemed I'd be stopping the next day, anyway.

approaching Jamie Whitten Lock and Dam


bullfrog in the lock


eighty foot drop


portaged over Montgomery Lock and Dam


stumps


great big turtle


Fulton Lock and Dam


not safe for armadillos either

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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