You want to see a lot of river, even to go from near your home to the sea. But it may turn out that the more you set out to do, the less you will enjoy it. The more you "push on", the less you get out of what you accomplish.
In '73, our first year of paddling, we did 13 days in Quetico. Our first smart move was to cut way down on our route so we could enjoy the environment more and struggle less with portages. Even so, my wife commented that she would have preferred to stop after a week.
I'm sitting within a 5 minute walk of the Mississippi below New Orleans. I'd like to paddle up to the city sometime, but otherwise the Big Muddy holds no attraction for me below St. Louis. Oh, maybe I'd paddle around below Vicksburg and Natchez, but the rest, no.
The best rivers are the smaller ones. The best pieces of river environment come in short segments. It's HARD to plan a quality river trip in the middle of summer that's weeks and weeks long. And it's hardest to plan a quality trip on a huge, half spoiled river like the Mississippi.
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