Tuesday, July 6, 2015
High – 88
Low – 77
Skies – Partly cloudy skies this morning will become mostly cloudy this afternoon. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible.
Wind – SSE 5-10
This morning started even earlier than usual – 3:30 am – (How long will it take my body to readjust to sleeping in till 6:00?) in order to get the boats over the levee and into the water early. A big day lay ahead of us. We had 39 miles to paddle before reaching Venice, which is our last stop before paddling to the end of the Mississippi River – mile 0.
We were on the river by 6:30. A slight cloud-cover provided a backdrop to a peaceful, beautiful morning. We owned the river for nineteen miles before we encountered our first ship, a container ship at 10:00. (See Instagram @ separateboats) What kind-of “needed” items are stowed in each of those containers for consumer consumption? The ship traffic increased steadily from that point on.
Today we noticed a drastic change in the landscape. The horizon has become extremely flat. The tall sycamores and cottonwoods that were previously intermingled with the willows are no more. Instead, the trees, when they are present, are small and few. In fact, sometimes there are no trees but only glades and marsh grass. The left bank descending is no longer contained by a levee and has even had some flows exiting the river and out into the broad marshes. There have even been times when the horizon has been empty, evidence of the porosity of Terra Firma as it is slowly loosing its grip to the Gulf and the oceans beyond. (See Instagram @ separateboats)
Almost every morning for the last three months, as we left our campsite, we did not know where we would be camping that night at the end of our paddle. Finding a campsite was always stressful for John, especially as the available shoreline decreased as the flood waters increased. Yesterday was the last time John had to stress over our overnight accommodations because we arrived in Venice tonight. We won’t have to clothespin our tent zipper closed because, thanks to some friends at home, we are staying at the Cyprus Cove Marina Hotel. What a treat after paddling some really long days and not taking any days of rest for the last couple of weeks.
Of course, the first item of business was to take our first shower in two weeks. (Except for bathing in the river, which replaces the odor of sweat with the odor of the river.) After John smelled much better, he turned on the television. It wasn’t long before he turned it off because we were both annoyed by the commercials and newscast full of hyperbole. How long will it take before all this becomes normal again? Do I hope it never does?
Once we were clean, we walked to the hotel restaurant in the next building to enjoy some non-dehydrated food. As we were sitting in the restaurant, Mark and Myra Moore (friends from home, whom we stayed with at the beginning of our trip) and family were floating down the Mississippi on a cruise ship. They cruised by the opening of the pass in which the marina is located. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see them from where we are located, but it is weird to think they were cruising the same water we had paddled just hours before.
Last night during dinner, we had discussed the heat and made a comment that we were looking forward to escaping it by spending tonight in air conditioning. However, tonight we actually went outside to enjoy our coffee after dinner to escape the air conditioning. I guess our bodies have adjusted to the wilderness. (along with our minds)
While we were enjoying our coffee in the non-air conditioned out-of-doors, Tom and Candy Moore, our ride home, surprised us. How wonderful it was to see familiar faces. We laughed and talked for quite a while before they returned to their hotel and we to ours. When we see them tomorrow, we will have competed our trip. After more than three months of daily paddling and living in the bush, it’s hard to believe tomorrow will be our last day. Mixed emotions abound.
Thanks for following our adventure. For photos and videos of the events mentioned in this daily journal, check us out on Instagram @ separateboats.
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