Welcome to college, as the stages of the river were once described to me (Muddy Mike), Highschool water is Itasca to St. Lewis, College is St. Lewis to Memphis and Grad School is Memphis to New Orleans. The farther I travel down the river the more difficult the river becomes singularly, each stage has its final exam and moreso seams true. In the Memphis to New Orleans stretch the final appears to be Baton Rouge to New Orleans; a 200 mile stretch of ocean going vessels with big dangerous water flows and a river chanel over 100 feet deep. Butt….. This trip has been a forward plunge into the unknown, the experience is worth every hard moment and the hard moments shape the experience.
I had a blast in St. Lewis. Of course, I did the typical tourist, exploring of all the sights, topping the Arch and meeting a lot of new people. Needless to say it was the weirdest time I’ve had on the river… If you want a short story ask about the sights of St. Lewis but, if you want a long interesting story ask about the canoe house, Muddy Mike, Brian or a good friend Monica.
Welcome to the south 🙂 once I crossed the Mason-Dixon line life became again austere and geographically open. Four days to Cairo, a time where I was once again on my own, and free to make life choices that weren’t necessarily healthy like take shortcuts under Riverbend islands where the wing dams were like waterfalls. Isolated places where the danger of mistakes are amplified by their solitude. Finally I made it to Cairo though, the Ohio flows into the Mississippi, The dirtiest water of the Mississippi is swabbed a little bit by the clarity of the Ohio. (A little bit haha) Finally the river miles showed their true end at to the golf of Mexico 950 miles to go. It is here in Wickliffe Kentucky, a tri-state area that something magical happened. Rick and Carmen, people who I have only known through the Black Bear Inn, Dubois, drove four hours across Kentucky to come meet me and show this Colorado Man what Southern Hospitality is like. So much food, we ate so much I was full for the first time in two months (The catfish though). Thank you Rick and Carmen. This trip has become full of experiences like that, where people go out of their way “and when you want something, the whole world will conspire to help you achieve it” ~Paulo Coelho It has shown me how friendly strangers are are only friends yet without the opportunity of time. Here I am in Memphis, 736 miles to go where I have a new bag full of stories for the next blog