A day on the
John, right, our guide explains the route from our putin three bends in the river above Memphis, Tenn. Max, left foreground, and his father Brian listen.
Behind Chris is a Mississippi River tow — I'm not sure how they got that name since the barges are shoved from behind — river traffic was heavy today. Each barge carries a load equivalent of 50 truck trailers or five rail cars. It is an extremely efficient way to move material.
Our canoe carries 13 people. It is a French Voyager design based on the long-voyage canoes early French explorers of the Mississippi River — La Salle, Marquette and Jolliet — used in the 17th Century. John our guide built this one and four others, including two which were used in the bicentennial celebration of Lewis and Clark's voyage of discovery up the Missouri River and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.
Max, foreground, runs across the sand bar we pulled out on for lunch. As one of our fellow travelers says, "It's a normal Saturday, going from bar to bar. But this time it's on the second longest river in the world."
Can it get any better than this: fresh shrimp prepared and eaten on a sandbar in the middle of one of the great rivers of the world.
On another bar called Pebble Beach near Hole-in-the-Wall on the Arkansas side of the river, Clay searches for 140 million-year-old stem crinoid fossils and finds some. Naturalists visiting this site also identified stone transported as far as from the Canadian Shield.
Elizabeth adds to her sketchbook. She is a superb artist. To see some of her work, follow this link: http://elizabethalley.moonfruit.com/
Max and his friends assist John with the steering — and pepper him with questions — in the stern of the canoe for much of the day.
Photographs taken with a Leica M8