Thursday, June 11, 2015
High – 91
Low – 76
Skies: sun and clouds mixed
Winds: S 5-10 mph
The alarm went off at 3:30AM. The temperature was 76 F when we were woken by the alarm. I killed the alarm, and after lazily reading devotions, stepped outside to a dark sky exposing an extremely hazy set of stars and moon. At least there was a slight breeze and the horde of bugs had somewhat subsided from last night.
It’s hot and there’s nowhere to go to escape it. These are the kind of conditions that have us discussing resolve and trying to encourage each other.
We were on the water by 6:30 and immediately encountered heavy tow traffic. After staying towards the right bank until clearing the first two tows, I contacted the approaching northbound and told him we were heading across the river to skirt the dikes along the red buoy line. He confirmed our intent, so we turned across in front of his path, paddling hard so we would not cause him to slow down.
Water has been both our friend and our enemy this trip, but it is now supporting us in a new way. Evaporative cooling. We are now taking the water that we had to avoid during the first cold months of this adventure, and dowsing it over our hats and shirts to prevent us from overheating. It helps, even if the breeze that dries it feels like a hair dryer.
Well, this was our fourth day since filling our water reservoirs and it will likely be two more days until we arrive in Greenville. While we still had about 18 liters of water left, we knew we should find a way to top off if we wanted to avoid filtering from the river. I had seen some fleeting areas (gathering and parking, of barges) on the map about 11 miles down and hoped we could find one of the small harbor tows with a slip, where we might be able to scrounge some water. As we approached we didn’t find any fleeting, however, there was a boat ramp with a house nearby. We pulled in, performed the typical urgent task of emptying our biological bladders, and then I headed for the house. I found the owner, Virginia, and she kindly welcomed us and allowed us to fill from her hose. We were soon underway again with a full supply of water. Good people everywhere.
On downstream we saw an unusual tall vessel coming towards us around the bend. It was the paddle wheel boat “Mississippi Queen”. We would later see the larger “American Queen” go past our campsite, also heading north. (See Instagram at separateboats) A paddle wheel ship convention perhaps?
We passed the confluences with the White River (Who knew there is more than one Rivers White River?) and eventually found a place to camp on the right bank. It’s funny how campsite priorities have evolved. The top considerations now are shade, breeze, and “no” bugs (it’s all relative). Level, safe tent placement is optional. (See Instagram @ separateboats)
Found and eagle feather. Cool.
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