Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mississippi Kayak Challenge -Trip Summary # 2, June 16

This update is coming to you from Cape Girardeau, MO. I have now completed 792 miles of my journey.

This past week has been one of extremes: I had 40 mile days in almost ideal conditions, 20 mile days with extreme heat and strong south winds, and everything in between. In the space of a few days, I passed through 30 miles of industrial sprawl around St. Louis, and I camped in near pristine wilderness, with coyotes howling in the night.
The heat is becoming a factor. The temperature climbed into the 90s on Thursday and Friday, and it's taking its toll on me on the river. I am planning to change my daily schedule from now on. I'll start out between 5 am and 6 am in the morning, and stop for the day around 3 pm. The hottest part of the day is between 3 pm and 7 pm, and it would be wise to stay out of the sun then. It will give me a few more hours to write everyday, so the time won't go to waste. I should still be able to average around 30 miles per day.

I passed through St. Louis on Tuesday, the 12th. St. Louis is the symbolic halfway point of my voyage. It is also the point where the Mississippi changes from being a series of lakes, to becoming a free flowing river with faster current. I also passed through the last lock of my journey at Alton IL, 20 miles north of St. Louis.

Like the heat, the current is a new variable I need to factor into my planning and paddling. On the plus side, it's helping me along at about 2 miles per hour, and I can now do 40 miles per day with the same effort 30 miles required above St. Louis. It actually feels like I am navigating a river now. My average speed is close to 5 mph now; before St. Louis it was around 3 mph.

On the down side, the current makes it more difficult to cross the main channel, and getting the kayak to a specific point on the bank or an island is more difficult, and requires me to be more pro-active in my approach. The faster current also causes more turbulence and stronger eddies below the wing dams and other underwater obstacles, which can make things more difficult for me on the water.

I broke my good graphite paddle on Wednesday. Christine shipped two spare paddles from Victoria on Friday. With a bit of luck I'll still get them today.

I'm 53 miles away from Mile 0 on the Upper Mississippi. Beyond Cairo, IL the Lower Mississippi begins, and I have approximately 850 miles on the LM before I get to New Orleans.

I'm doing well, still enjoying good health and I have lots of energy and stamina. I continue to meet friendly, helpful and interesting people along the way. Towns and cities are becoming fewer and further apart, so I stocked up on extra food supplies today, and I'll start carrying more water too. I also consume more water because of the heat, so I need to manage my water supply carefully.

It's beginning to look like I will complete my trip before the end of July; a month sooner than my original plan, unless of course I suffer a serious setback or mishap.



Anonymous DSD said...

Looks like all is going great on this adventure!

6/19/2007 9:56 AM


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