-- Last Updated: May-17-13 9:36 AM EST --
Did a couple of hundred milers "back in the day".
Never capsized, but that was what I feared the most.
In some stretches, the Mississippi is a very swift, and a very wide river.
The chances of you towing your canoe to a river bank if you capsize in one of those swift, wide sections of the river is slim to none. Just getting yourself to shore could be a life lesson.
I know one thing; you'll be a long way downstream if/when you do get out, and your canoe will end up way down stream.......somewhere, maybe above water, maybe not.
We encountered 2 huge whirlpools strong enough to spin the canoe 360 degrees in a matter of seconds, and we had to paddle hard to get out of them.
We encountered a few large diameter, long lengths of trees, that just popped up to a height of 2 to 4 feet above the water with absolutely no warning.
Barge wakes; barges will not stop, swerve, or slow down for you! Don't play ride the surf on barge wakes; big mistake!
Rip rap diversion dams; some under water.
Half sunk channel markers that pop up unexpectedly.
Watch out for fishing lures in low hanging trees.
Huge debri field floating in, or on top of the water in eddies. Tires, refrigerators, car parts, freezers, washers & dryers,a bathtub, couches, barrels, lumber, parts of buildings, dead cows, dogs, cats,raccoon, beaver, fish, clothes, wood boxes, metal shipping containers, etc. Use your imagination to come up with other items we saw. Some very nasty stuff!
Met some great people, and some real super asses. Had kids throw sticks, and rocks at us & shoot bb guns at us.
If you leave your canoe & gear on a beach to walk to a town for water/food/etc; your canoe & gear may be there when you get back. Then again, they may be gone.........or at best you'll be missing some gear.
Have stepped out of canoe in slightly over ankle deep water at sand bars, and immediately sunk to above my knees in mud. Not as easy to get out as you might think.
I survived without much training, but I would not suggest it to any novice.I'd never go back out there again; unless I had a minimum of 2 trustyworthy & experienced paddlers with me.
Carry a comprehensive first aid kit, plenty of sunscreen, wide brimmed hat, more than one flashlight, spare batteries, and lots of water.
The Mississippi river is heavily polluted.
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