The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

The river is low, a large shallow sandbar has emerged below the I-270 Bridge at which base we pull up and take a break, the Banana Boat and “put-put-put” Dory Doug catch up, a piling of sand around one of the ponderous pylons, driftwood above and a diminishing sandy tail below with a great view into the top of the Chain. This perspective confirms what I saw yesterday from the bridge walkway, and immediately my intended route for Wanbli River Dancer is confirmed, and I back off to let the others inspect the swirling waters for themselves and draw their own conclusions. Suddenly Mike hollers out, “Wanbli John! Look up! Isn’t that…” Oh-my-gosh! Sure enough! Its Lynn Rubright, the children’s book author who lives in St. Louis, looking over the railing down at us, smiling and throwing us kisses. How did she find us here? How did she know? Or is this another river coincidence? I don’t know, and I don’t care, but now I do know everything is going to be alright. For the moment anyway.


That old salt, Dory Doug is the first to get impatient as he stomps around the sandbar, and snorts out, “you guys are just stalling for time.” Poor Doug, the waiting is not over. We are on river time. We must eat something first. You can’t paddle on an empty stomach. The purple drybag is turned over and everyone snacks on old apples from Ft. Osage, peanut butter and cookies. The captains of each vessel, Mike, Church, Ron, Doug, myself (and of course Scott) confer and make a plan to pass through the first giant swirling and return to land below the wing dam to reconnoiter the passage below. But no one wants to follow plans today, and no one wants to follow any leader. Just another day for rough & ragged 1st Squad.


You shouldn’t rush the river in a place like this. I am wondering who wants to go first, “you want Wanbli to lead the way?,” thinking naturally Wanbli would be the leader as she has always been this entire downstream journey. But no, to my surprise, everyone is excited, and rip-roaring ready and tugging on the lead line to be the first to try their paddling hand against the powerful waters of the big river. Dory Doug jumps to the lead, and brother Tom is horrified, “Doug, are you out of your mind?” Video Len stays with Doug and together they push off and into the unknown, Tom is nervously fretting on the shore, he has already caused Doug a false start, and Doug angrily pushes off again with much cussing, motors into the monstrous tongue leading toward the right bank drop off, and then shuts down the engine and begins to float. We are all stricken at once as if by lightning, has Doug really lost his mind? Is he going to float over the edge? Coast Guard cutters can still be seen in the distance, below the falls, rescuing a bereft motorboat. I felt my stomach drop, like a scary scene in a movie where you know something bad is going to happen, but you don’t know when. But Douggie-boy is playing with us.   He is an experienced big river man himself, an animal with plenty of good times in the big roiling waters of the Snake River Canyon, Hell’s Canyon, the Salmon River, and other giants of the West, and he is enjoying his moment of freedom away from the annoying dugouts – finally the leader! His chance to show his balls in face of our greatest danger to date, he remains standing for the longest time as the Dory slides closer and closer to the edge, Tommy on shore is jumping up and down now and yelling for Doug to paddle, and I’m yelling at Tom to shut up and not confuse him, but Doug can’t hear anything, or maybe he can and he is stretching this moment of glory as far as he can, whatever the case, he floats further and further out, deep in the main thrust of water pushing heavily towards the brink, he is standing and seems to be carefully inspecting the topography of the rapids, and then at the last moment when it seems as if surely he is going over, he calmly cranks the engine and “put-put-put” motors his way slowly around the enormous swirl, and is riding the big eddy back toward the St. Louis Waterworks bank right. Len has remained sitting throughout the ride. He is no fool.


But wait a minute! The fun is not over, Ol’ Douggie-boy, the old salt, actually does it – he shuts the engine down again and this time pulls it up entirely out of the water, looks both ways, as if he’s crossing the street, cracks his fingers like a piano player warming up, and places himself proudly behind the long yellow sweep oars – brother Tom is beside himself “ohmigod! Ohmygod! OHMYGOD! He’s gonna do it!” And then Douggie eases over the lip. All eyes are riveted on his passage, and Doug shows out.


The Dory is made for places like this. It comes to life in the waves and bounces through some places that would flip & swamp a dugout canoe, Douggie rides along serene and capable, pulling the sweep oars this way and that, finding the good water, bottoming-out once, he fishtails around some massive obstructions, and then smartly grounds himself on a gravel bar immediately below the falls. The ride is over. Len stands up thoroughly shaken, but composed, and prepares his video camera. Doug doesn’t even look our way, but you can feel his presence hollering out at us, “Who’s Next?”


As on cue, the Banana Boat leaps to action, following the river channel around the wing dam, Jay and the Captains madly stroking the water, they cut the corner near the wing dam and dive directly into the explosive eddying below, teetering and tottering for a moment, they regain balance, realign themselves and angle towards shore, as planned.


Next Capt. Ron is ready to run the gamut with Gunny power-stroker prow and Bison-Bison riding princess, his big black Newfie head hanging over the gunnels and his tongue lolling about out unconcerned, drooling into the river. They follow the path of the Banana Boat, only a little further out. When they break across the eddyline they are near the center of the maelstrom and it spins them mercilessly around a few times, with angry bubbling, I am worried they are going to flip (but Bison isn’t: his fat body is an effective ballast) they paddle quickly in opposite directions to bring themselves around and then continue onward towards shore bank right.


Wanbli and Mato bump the sandbar restlessly, now it’s their turn to prove themselves, Mike and I have already discussed this moment. This place has history with us, in 2002 Mike took the lead in the Red River Bender and I followed in the Cottonwood dugout, the Water Ram, and so today he has graciously allowed me the lead. I will go ahead and he will take sweep. Adrenaline-charged paddlers Idaho Jimmy, Clayton, and our guest Cathy Lagergren are warmed up, we four guide Wanbli into the tongue, flowing Doug’s line, staying well clear of the eddy-line until it seems like we might fall over the edge and then swirl around with the surging waters of the outside of the eddy, it is a dizzying ride, from the distance the current might seem calm and even, but as you are paddling through the middle of it the water accelerates rapidly and then spins clockwise, you can feel the G-force, , if you hadn’t placed yourselves well in the initial tongue, it would push you right over the edge and swallow you up, even in a 23-foot Western Red Cedar or a 27-foot Ponderosa Pine, you are at the mercy of the river. In water like this you get closer to the soul of the river than you ever have been, you become one with the current because no matter how hard you paddle the river has become the master and you the puppet. We swirl around the eddy, our speedy line shoots us past Ron, Bison & Gunny who are still struggling against the eddy flow (but making good headway) we meet again towards the east bank below St. Louis Waterworks where the Banana Boat is riding along, our plan had been to make a landing and scout the next section, but the rebellious Banana Boat is ready to rock, Jay and the Captains Suddenly dig in as we approach and enter the roller-coaster ride bank right! They’ve decided to go ahead. Damn the scouting! The Captains are having their fun today! It’s a narrow & defined channel, with a few drops and some 3 foot waves, you have to hit the first wave close to shore, further out it curls mercilessly over a sucking hole, they paddle along boisterously and we watch.


Back to Mike & Mato Chante: Looking upstream we see Mato enter the tongue of water as we had, staying with the main thrust away from the edge of the wing dam, but even further out towards the point of no-return, and again I am struck in the pit of my stomach with awful visions of the hard-headed bear disregarding all dangers for a jump in the big water to play in the rapids, (his last chance maybe) we don’t call him “rock eater” for no reason, and yes, he hard-headedly pushes the men to the extreme of their abilities and follows the widest trajectory possible outward around the circumference of the eddy, toward the black hole of the Chain of Rocks, from where canoes and men don’t return, and the men are in high gear, one-stroke Eier screaming and putting every ounce of his 40 horse-power into throwing water down one side of the canoe, Willow throwing water down the other, Mike power-stroking low and grim, the end of his black Stetson pulled almost to his chin, making fast deep strokes with Mick Jagger, one side and then the other, positioning the canoe, and then repositioning, and then ruddering quickly & strongly to manually push the bear’s nose away from the falls toward the center of the eddy, if he slips at this moment then the bear will have its way and all will go tumbling over the muddy falls, but the Mato Chante allows himself to be nudged into the relative safety inside the eddy, and they come swirling alongside us, whooping and hollering.


Meanwhile, the Banana Boat is bravely bouncing into the first big wave bank right, but then our cheering turns to shouts of fear, I hand the Eagle to Clayton to hold her steady and jump out with the Rescue Bag and start running. Tommy is madly side-paddling for shore, but they are still too deep to jump out, Mike is yelling for him to paddle forward so they can regain footing. The Banana Boat has gone over in the first wave, the men are thrown out and we watch in horror as they struggle to regain footing. The riverbed is shallow here, rocky but shallow, the water volume greatly reduced, and it seems like they might be able to right themselves, but then they go over the second wave and are tumbled over several times, it looks like they might be getting crushed by the canoe over the rocks, Mike jumps out with his Rescue Rope and follows me stumbling down the jumbled rip-rap of the right bank, we stumble-jump-sprint halfway down, maybe a hundred yards, while the Banana Boat rolls to end of the rapids, and then into an eddy below, and we can see the men regain their footing and stand up and holler triumphantly. Scott makes a “thumbs-up.” Whew! A few bruised shoulders and legs, we learn later, but no other injury.


I’ve seen enough. We have a precious paddler with us today, Cathy Lagergren, and I refuse to put her life in any danger. We line Wanbli River Dancer down the passage, an easy task, I take stern rope, Jimmy takes lead, Clayton and Cathy walk alongside to keep Wanbli from scraping rocks. Cathy has some difficulty wading through a silty creek which pours from some overflow pipe bank right which we are forced to march through, hopefully nothing toxic within, but otherwise we quickly line through and pull into the eddy below. The Banana Boat exits to go retrieve gear. We look above and see the Grumman sailing along into the waves – Captain Ron & Gunny have opted to run the fun! They have put their precious “princess-paddler,” Bison-Bison ashore. They bounce over the first set of waves, and then Ron angles out away from the bank. What he can’t see from above is the steep drop at the base of the last set of waves, and it gets higher & deeper & more turbulent the further out you go. It’s one of those hungry holes that stops vessels in their passage. If you hit it hard enough maybe your momentum will carry you through and over the foam. But if you go too slow you will be sucked in and thrashed. Ron is ruddering so all canoe speed depends on Gunny Bill’s power stroking. As they approach the last big wave I notice Gunny suddenly stop paddling and drop to his knees – apparently he has seen the big wave and drop-off below for the first time and prepares for the worst. Gunny doesn’t resume paddling but grabs both gunnels with his hands. The poor Grumman rises over the top of the last wave, it’s only three feet tall, but there’s a three foot drop off underneath it (and the hydraulic pool below might be ten feet deep), so the canoe rises high prow first, bounced by the abrupt wave, Gunny Bill still clinging on for dear life, shoots over the wave, headed for the cloudy sky, and then plummets head-first into the pool below. The canoe goes down head-over-tail and then is flushed out of the hole, Ron & Gunny are holding onto the side of the canoe and whooping & laughing, so we know they’re okay, but then they stop laughing as their canoe gets pulled into the main current below, I have the rescue bag ready in hand, which I throw with all my might high over the canoe, its zings out completely to the end of the 75 feet of 3/8 inch cord and Gunny Bill gets a hand hold and I yell for my canoe-mates to get ready and then we pull them in and flip the canoe to empty it of water. Once righted, Ron & Gunny paddle off to retrieve paddles and gear, all paddles are rescued (Idaho Jimmy’s main concern, he hand-crafted them), and I think most gear, and yes, sigh, Wilson.


Now Mike and crew come slowly down the bank, following our lead, they line Mato Chante through the rapids, hungry Mato the bear wants to eat the waves and tear up some rocks, but they are keeping him on a short leash and carefully maneuver him through the waves, and back to land at the eddy below, and he begrudgingly complies.


We are through the Chain of Rocks! Wow! Whew! What a relief! Waves of relief and tearful emotion well up through me, I am thinking of Sarah and the Mighty Quapaws who must be nearing our landing, not far below. What a thrilling climax – 810 miles of paddling down the free flowing Lower Missouri River with a crazy rapids at the end! Hee-hee!   My cell phone rang amidst the bank side celebration, it’s Dale, faithful Dale had walked out to t middle of the 66 Bridge and had seen us flip and wanted to know if we were okay, or should he call the Coast Guard.


The Mighty Quapaws are awaiting us at the landing, Cliff, Woody, Boo, Ba-ba and Dinky wandering the sandy shoreline, we give them a cheer, “The Mighty Quapaws!” and stop for hullos and hugs and then continue down to where the Mighty Possum and elder bluesman Mississippi Junebug is awaiting our arrival. Later, the Quapaws biggest memory of the day was of Bison, in Dinky’s words: “on one of the boats there was this huge dog – I was scared but the dog was trained so I didn’t have anything to be scared of!” Mom & Daddy (who had also driven 400 miles from Clarksdale) are safely tucked in at a downtown hotel, in the distance we can see Bill & Karina slipping along down opposite shore in their unmistakable red Mohawk canoe, they had portaged bank left in about the same time it took us to peruse, paddle, and perform 2 rescues, and lo-and-behold! we also spy “LG2” AKA Lee Squared floating downstream nearby, going strong after disassembling and then reassembling their 7×28 foot raft, a 3-hour portage for them. And Look! There’s Norm Miller, smartly paddling his baby blue In the Wake of Discovery canoe-yak across the channel to meet us, the flotilla is coming together after the exciting day, the momentum gathering for tomorrow’s Canoe Rendezvous and Homecoming. Scott runs out with Doug to retrieve Lee Squared who have somehow scooted beyond our landing.


The river gods smiled on us! We are safely through our most dangerous single obstacle. Tornadoes struck Crystal City and points south, blew apart a mobile home park with grapefruit-sized hail, we could see the storms brewing all day long, but they stayed south, the eddyline of the heavens a diagonal over the Arch and downtown St. Louis, supercells gathering storming and then passing on northeasterly along the eddyline while we played on the fluid eddylines of the river, always we could see the opening beyond, a patch of blue or yellow, so we knew we were close to the edge, but we didn’t know how close. Super cells and severe thunderstorms passing over the river downstream of us, bluish-purple manna falling from the heavens, becoming tinged rosy reds & oranges with the setting sun – and then we all had our spirits uplifted with a series of rainbows which danced through the dangerous clouds much as Wanbli River Dancer and even old grumpy Mato Chante had danced through the dangerous waters, if you look close enough you will find great beauty in the most surprising of places.


After getting Sarah, Mara and the Quapaws settled at camp Ft. Dubois (the Quapaws most impressed by the Tee Pees and Bison Bicentennial, Woody said “I went outside and there was a black shadow on the ground; I thought it was a bear, but it turned out to be Bison, asleep on the ground!”), I returned to Riverfront Landing in my wife’s metallic blue Toyota Echo at dark, drug dealers and gang-bangers spread throughout the parking lot above, I slipped down the trash-littered ramp and around a pile of bed frames & some big muddy logs, and then down a one-lane path through the tall weeds below and found Norm & Mike with a fire going. “Ahoy,” I yelled, “I come bearing gifts – red wine and eggs & bacon!” It was all I could quickly locate, but it hit the spot, we cracked the ½ gallon bottle of merlot Keith Locke gifted me, and started frying a pound of bacon in one of Mike’s pots. Ooh-whee! To be on the river with a fire and food coming, the water happily slapping the docked canoes, the raft rubbing bank nearby, Norm’s canoe-yak pulled up above, all of us river-worn and happy to be alive, to be together on this last evening, to be camped one last night on the edge of the river, the best place to be (if you asked any one of us) in all of St. Louis, even for Wanbli Mike, who lives there, and for me, whose wife is camped nearby, this was our night for sharing and celebration, we had done our work and the river had blessed us with a beautiful evening, storms receding in the distance, downtown St. Louis glowing behind Mosenthein Island, the bacon sizzling & popping, a fire warming our cold fingers and muddy feet, endless glasses of wine taken in the only vessels we could find, the recycled plastic water bottles I had cut open and employed as paint-pots for my water colors, which had cupped painting water from St. Helen’s Oregon to Livingston Montana to the confluence, and so it was a fitting vessel for a celebratory drink, in one swallow we tasted the Columbia, the Yellowstone, and the Missouri from our one-night hovel on the Middle Mississippi, we toasted once, and then again, and again, Norm kept saying, “I can’t believe I’m here on the edge of the biggest city in the Missouri Valley” and then “I can’t believe I’m here with you guys, I’m so glad I met you guys. Can you believe how this all happened?” More wine. More driftwood for the fire. The bacon crispy, I cracked two dozen eggs two at a time popping into the pot without removing any grease, swirled the concoction until it firmed, and then pulled it out of the coals to cool. 8 eggs each. 8 slices of bacon. We ate it with the last of the Ukrainian Rye Bread John Moore had brought us at Taylor Access, and washed it down with red wine & water. Norm later commented, “Yeah that bacon and egg supper spiked my blood cholesterol from 98 to 560 but it was worth it!” (John Ruskey)

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
St. Louis Gage (SLG)  
Water Levels and Paddling Through St. Louis  
Water Levels According to the St. Louis Gage  
High Water Note  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Flood Stage Effects in St. Louis  
The Great Flood of 1993  
Historic Flood Crests  
Low Water Records  
Dredging Might Become Necessary SLG 5.0 to -7.0  
The Upper Mississippi  
200.6 RBD Mapple Island Access Ramp
200.7 LBD National Great Rivers Museum
200.7 LBD National Great Rivers Research and Education Center
200.5 – 197.5 RBD Maple Island
Paddling Downstream Along Maple Island  
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary  
200 – 195 LBD Alton/Wood River Industrial Reach
195.6 RBD The Great Confluence!
What Color is the Mississippi River?  
The Lower Missouri River  
195.6 RBD Ted Jones Confluence State Park
LBD Mile 0.5 Missouri River
195 LBD Mouth of Wood River (Cahokia Diversion Canal)
195 RBD Camp River Dubois
RDB Mile 3 Missouri River
Columbia Bottom State Conservation Area  
Stopping at the Confluence  
195.6 RBD Jones-Confluence State Park
LBD Mile 0.5 Missouri River
195.6 RBD Columbia Bottoms State Park
RBD Mile 0.5 Missouri River
195 – 194 RBD Duck Island
194.2 LBD Chains of Rock Canal (Entrance)
Canal: All Boats Enter Here  
194 RBD Canoe & Kayak Access (Columbia Bottoms State Conservation Area)
195 – 184 Big Muddy Wild & Scenic Section
194 – 184 RBD Chouteau/Gabaret Island
190.7 Interestate 270 Highway Bridge
190.5 Highway 66 “Chain of Rocks” Bridge
190.4 Intake Towers
190.4 Intake Towers ##1
190.4 Intake Towers ##2
190.3 Chain of Rocks
Portaging (or Paddling) Over the Chain of Rocks  
Portage the Chain in Low Water  
Below 16 SLG: Portage LBD  
Paddling the Chain in Medium Water  
16 – 24 SLG: Stay Middle Channel  
24 – 30 SLG: Open Channel  
190.3 RBD Water Treatment Plant City of St. Louis
Water Towers  
Grand (“Old White”) Water Tower  
The Bissell (“New Red”) Water Tower  
Compton Hill Water Tower  
190 LBD Chain Sandbar (Low Water Only)
189 – 185 LBD Mosenthein Island
Circumnavigation of Mosenthein Island  
188 LBD North Riverside Park Boat Access
187.8 LBD Big Muddy Adventures (Primitive Mud Ramp)
About Big Muddy Adventures  
187.7 RBD Cementland Dock
Cementland: The Unfinished Adventure Land for Mischievous Adults  
189 – 184 LBD Gabaret Island
183.4 RBD The Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing and Rest Area
184.1 LBD Chain of Rocks Canal (Bottom End)
Safe Paddling Through the St. Louis Harbor  
Port of St. Louis  
The Insider’s Tour of St. Louis: On the River  
Viewing the Great Arch from the River  
183.2 Merchants Railroad Bridge
182.6 RBD Dignity Harbor
182.6 RBD Artica
182.6 RBD Bob Cassilly Sculpture/City Museum
182.5 McKinley Bridge
Fishing Between the Chain of Rocks & McKinley Bridge  
182.5 Venice Power Plant, Venice, Illinois
181.2 Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge(I-70))
180.6 LBD Schoenberger Creek
St. Louis Riverfront (Mark River Reminisces)  
180.2 – 179.2 RBD St. Louis Waterfront (Cobblestone Landing)
180.4 Union Electric Light and Power Company, Ashley Street Powerhouse
180.2 Martin Luther King Bridge
180.1 RBD LaClede’s Landing
180 Eads Bridge
180 RBD “The Captain’s Return”
179.9 LBD East St. Louis Landing
179.7 LBD Malcolm Martin Memorial Park
179.7 RBD The Great Arch
179.2 Poplar Street Bridge
Paddling Route Downstream of Arch  
Running “The Gauntlet”  
179 Douglas McArthur Bridge (Railroad)
178.8 RBD USS Inaugural
178.9 LBD Small Sandbar Below Rocky Point
178.4 LBD Small Sandbar Above Old Cahokia Power Plant
178.3 LBD Cahokia Power Plant
176.8 LBD Best Emergency Sandbar in St. Louis Harbor
176 RBD Anheuser Busch Brewery
176.8 LBD Cahokia Church of the Holy Family
176.9 RBD US Army Corps of Engineers Service Base Dock
176.9 RBD US Coast Guard (314) 269-2500
176 – 174 LBD Marquette Transportation Fleeting
175.5 – 173.5 LBD Arsenal Island
174.8 RBD Iron Worker’s Cross/Diver’s Legs Sculpture
174 LBD Cahokia Chute
174 RBD Bellerive Park
171.8 RBD River Des Peres
171 – 169 LBD Prairie Du Pont Low Water Sandbars
170.4 RBD Limestone Bluff Shelfs
American Bottom  
168.6 Jefferson Barracks (JB) Bridge
Consider the Atchafalaya  
St.Louis to Cairo
168 – 167 LBD Carroll Islands
168 RBD Bussen Quarries
166.7 RBD Cliff Cave County Park
166 RBD Fleeted Barges
166 – 165 RBD Wing Dams
166 LBD Luhr Bros., Inc.
164.5 LBD Pull Tight Landing Blue Hole
161 LBD Meramec Bar
163 RBD St. Mary’s Convent
161.6 RBD Ameren Meramec
161 RBD Meramec River
The River of Ugly Fishes?  
2 Miles Up Meramec River: Flamm City Access Ramp  
St. Louis Circumnavigation  
158.7 RBD Kimmswick
158.5 RBD Hoppie’s Marine Service
158.5 – 157.2 RBD Dikes Below Hoppies
158 – 149 LBD Foster/Meissner Islands Dikes
156.5 RBD Sulphur Springs
156.3 LBD Fountain Creek
155.5 – 153.5 LBD Meissner Island Division Middle Mississippi NWR
151.8 RBD Herculaneum
Herculaneum Downstream: Mississippi River Hills  
151.6 RBD Joachim Creek
149.8 RBD Plattin Rock Boat Club (Hugs Landing)
148.5 RBD Plattin Creek
148.2 LBD Calico Island
146.2 – 144.5 LBD Osborne Island
144 – 140.5 RBD Harlow Island Division Middle Miss NWR
140.5 RBD Saline Creek
140.5 RBD Truman Access Boat Ramp
139.5 – 136.5 LBD Salt Lake Island
154.3 – 132.3 LBD Fort Chartres Island
132.2 LBD Chartres Landing
132.2 LBD Fort De Chartres
133.7 RBD Top End of Establishment Island
132.5 – 129.6 RBD Establishment Chute/Schmidt’s Island
128.7 RBD Lawrence Hollow/Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area
127 RBD Tower Rock Stone Company Quarry
125.6 RBD Ste. Genevieve and Modoc Ferry
125.6 LBD Consolidation Coal Company, Kellogg Dock
122.5 RBD Ste. Genevieve Harbor/Gabouri Creek
122.5 LBD Upper Moro Island/Back Channel
  Moro Island
120.4 RBD New Bourbon Port Authority
117.8 – 115.8 RBD Beaver Island
117.4 LBD Kaskaskia River
117 LBD Ellis Grove Landing
116 – 111 LBD Opposite Cherokee Dikes
110.5 RBD Access to St. Mary’s Boat Ramp Via Old River
Channel/Saline Creek  
110.5 – 109.7 RBD Horse Island
Saline Creek  
Switching to the Middle Mississippi Chester Gage (CHG)  
Chester Gage (CHG)  
Water Levels and Paddling Below Chester (To Cape Girardeau)  
Chester Gage Water Levels and How They Affect the Town of Chester and Nearby Surroundings  
109.9 Chester Bridge
109.5 LBD Chester Boat Ramp
Chester, Illinois  
Chester Downstram  
Middle Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge  
106.5 LBD Mary’s River
106.5 – 104 LBD Turkey Bluffs State Fish and Wildlife Area
105.5 – 103.8 RBD Crain’s Island
102.5 – 101 LBD Rockwood Island
101 – 100 LBD Liberty Island
100 – 98 RBD Jones Point Island
98 -87 LBD Liberty Bar
97 – 95 LBD Jones Towhead
96 RBD Roman Landing
94.5 RBD Cinque L’Homme Creek
94.3 RBD Red Rock Landing Conservation Area
93 – 88.5 LBD Wilkinson Island Middle Miss NWR
90 RBD Seventy-Six Conservation Area and Boat Access
88.4 LBD Lacour’s Island
88.3 RBD Star Landing
87.2 RBD Cumberland Rock
85 – 83 RBD Gill’s Point Bar
84 – 83 LBD Fountain Bluff
82.8 LBD Fountain Bluff
81.3 LBD Wittenburg Boat Ramp
80.8 LBD Grand Tower – Devil’s Bake Oven (Rock Cliff)
80.5 LBD Devil’s Backbone Park & Campground
The River to river Trail (American Discovery Trail)  
80 RBD Tower Rock
79.7 LBD Grand Tower Boat Ramp/Seawall
80.7 LBD Grand Tower, Illinois
79 – 76.5 LBD Grand Tower Island
79 – 77.5 RBD Cottonwood Bar
76.6 – 75.7 LBD Big Muddy Island
75.7 LBD Big Muddy River
75.3 RBD Apple Creek
74.5 RBD Hines Boat Ramp (Dysfunctional)
74 – 63 LBD Hanging Dog Island
73.9 – 71.6 LBD Crawford Towhead
71.6 RBD Hanging Dog Bluff
69 RBD Indian Creek
69 – 65.6 RBD Trail of Tears State Park
67.5 RBD Trail of Tears Overlook
Bald Knob Cross and the Bald Know Wilderness  
66.6 RBD Mocassin Springs Harbor And Boat Ramp
66.6 RBD MIssissippi River Campground (Trail of Tears State Park)
66.3 RBD Mocassin Spring Creek
63 – 61 LBD Hamburg Landing Dikes
62.5 – 56.6 RBD Schenimann Chute
62 – 57 RBD Windy Bar Conservation Area
61 – 55 LBD Picayune Chute
62.8 – 54.6 LBD Devil’s Island/Swift Sure Towhead
56 – 53.7 LBD Minton Point Bar
55.3 RBD Flora Creek
54.5 RBD Juden Creek
54.1 RBD Cape Rock
Middle Mississippi – Cape Girardeau Gage (CGG)  
Water Levels and Paddling Below Cape Girardeau (To Cairo)  
Cape Girardeau Gage Water Levels and How They Affect the Town of Cape Girardeau and Nearby Surroundings  
52.7 Red Star Boat Ramp
52.2 LBD Cape Girardeau Flood Wall
Approaching the Ohio River  
51.5 Cape Girardeau (Bill Emerson) Memorial Bridge
51 LBD Giboney Island
51 – 47 LBD Marquette Island
51 – 47 Cape Bend Chute (Marquette Island Back Channel)
48.8 RBD Castor River Diversion Channel
48 RBD Shoutheast Missouri Port Authority/Cape Girardeau
Slackwater Harbor  
46.2 RBD Gray’s Point
45.8 LBD Rock Island
45.5 LBD Clear Creek
46 – 40 Pawnee Hill/Thebes Dome
44 LBD Thebes, IL
43.8 Thebes Boat Ramp
43.7 Thebes Railroad Bridge
42 – 39 LBD Orchard Springs Island
42.0 RBD Uncle Joe Light
40.3 – 39.3 LBD Betsy’s Bar
Comemrce Rock  
39.7 RBD Commerce, MO
Entering the Bootheel  
39 -35 LBD Burnham Island
39 -35 LBD Santa Fe Chute
37.7 35.7 LBD Jack Pattern Chute
34 RBD Goose Island BLue Hole/Old River/Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake Nature Preserve  
34 – 33.3 RBD Billings Island
33 – 32.7 RBD Lower Billings Island
31 LBD Doolan Chute (Power Island Chute)
31 -29 LBD Bumbgard ISland
31 – 29 LBD Burnham Island Bend
29.8 RBD Price Landing
27 Hacker Towhead Levee Break
26.5 – 24.5 RBD Buffalo Island
25 LBD Brown’s Chute (Top End)
25 – 21 LBD Brown’s Bar/Dogtooth Island
21 – 20 LBD Dogtooth Bar
20.2 Thompson Boat Ramp
18 – 17 RBD Thompson Towhead
Approaching the Ohiao River Valley  
16.8 LBD Scudder Bar
14.5 – 11.8 LBD Sister Chute
14.3 – 13.5 RBD Island No. 28
13.5 – 11.8 RBD Island No. 29
13.5 – 11.8 RBD Island No. 29
13 LBD Cache River Diversion Canal
10.2 – 7.7 LBD Boston Bar
10.2 – 7.7 BD Boston Chute
7.5 Interstate 57 Bridge
5 – 1.8 LBD Angelo Towhead
5 – 1.8 LBD Angelo Chute
1.3 Cairo Highway Bridge
Cairo, Illinois  
Cairo Landings  
Cairo Camping  
0.8 LBD Fort Defiance
Continuing Downstream from Cairo  
Cairo to Caruthersville
The Lower Mississippi and Ohio River Forecast  
Lower Mississippi Mileage  
Switching to the Cairo Gauge  
Referring to the Cairo Gauge (CG)  
Cairo Gauge  
Dikes and Water Level According to the Cairo Gauge  
Dike Exposure Using the Cairo Gauge  
Effects on Cairo and Surrounding Towns in Regards to Cairo Gage  
Cairo Gauge: Effects on Cairo and Sorrounding Communities  
Historic Highs and Lows According to the Cairo Gage  
954.5 Ohio/Middle Miss River Confluence
Start of the Lower Mississippi River  
The Kentucky Hills (Loess Bluffs)  
Greatest Dust Storm Ever  
954 – 953 RBD Birds Point Dikes
953 – 952 LBD Wickliffe Reach
952.6 LBD Quaker Oats Light
952 RBD New Madrid Floodway Inflow Crevasse
952 RBD Bird’s Blue Hole
952 LBD Wickliffe Boat Ramp
951 LBD Wickliffe Docks and Wharfing
951 LBD Wickliffe Cross (Jefferson Hill Memorial Cross)
951 LBD Wicliffe Bluff (1st Kentucky Bluff)
950.2 LBD Mayfield Boat Ramp
950 LBD Mayfield Creek
950 LBD Westvaco Pulp Mill Dock
949 RBD Norfolk Landing
949 – 946 LBD Island No. 1
Zadok Cramer: The Navigator  
947.7 RBD Pritchard Boat Ramp
950.5 – 945.5 RBD Pritchard Revetment
944.5 LBD Island No. 1 Boat Ramp
943.6 LBD Carlisle County Boat Ramp
945 – 943 RBD O’Bryan Towhead/Pritchard Dikes
943 – 939 RBD Chute of Island No.2 (Lucas Bend)
942 – 939 LBD Campbell Dikes
938 – 937 LBD 2nd Kentucky Loess Bluff
Chain Across the Mississippi?  
937.2 LBD Columbus-Belmont State Park
937 LBD Iron Bank Light
937 LBD Columbus Boat Ramp
936.9 LBD Ingram Drydock
Wild Miles Below Columbus  
935 – 934 LBD South Colombus Island
934 LBD Chalk Cliff Bluffs (3rd Kentucky Loess Bluff)
934 – 933 RBD Sandy Bluffs Opposite Wolf Island Bar
935 – 930 LBD Wolf Island Bar
935 – 930 LBD Wolf Island Chute
First Order (Big) Islands on the Lower Mississippi River  
930 – 927 RBD Moore Islands
930 – 928 LBD Williams Landing Bar
926.6 LBD Samuel Light Sand Dune
926 – 924 LBD Beckwith Bend Bar
924.6 RBD Dorena Boat Ramp
924 RBD Dorena Crevasse
922.6 RBD Hickman Ferry Landing
921.5 LBD Hickman Harbor
921.5 LBD 4th Kentucky Bluff: Hickman, Kentucky
The Wiggles  
922 – 921 RBD Dorena Towhead
918 – 915 RBD Seven Island Conservation Area
917 – 916 RBD Island No. 7
Bald Eagles  
916 – 911 RBD Island No. 8
917 – 916 RBD Big Oak Tree State Park
926 – 924 LBD Beckwith Bend Bar
915 RBD (Back Channel) Bend of Island No. 8 Boat Ramp
914 – 913 LBD French Point Gravel Bar
911.5 LBD Island No. 8 Chute Boat Ramp
910 907 LBD Milton Bell Bar
907 – 900 RBD Donaldson Point Dikes
905 – 887 Weclcome to Tennessee?
908 – 905 LBD Donaldson Point Conservation Area (And Also RBD 896 – 893)
Reelfoot Lake State Park  
The New Madrid Earthquake  
Amazing Natural Phenomena Result of the Earthquake  
902 – 898 RBD Winchester Towhead/Island No. 10
902.5 – 897 RBD Winchester Chute
902 – 899 LBD Below Island No. 9 Dikes
899.1 LBD Slough Neck LAnding Boat Ramp
Slough Landing Neck (Bessie’s Neck)  
Bessie’s Bend/Kentucky Bend  
896.5 – 894.5 RBD Hotchkiss Bend Dikes and Bar
890.5 – 889.5 RBD Morrison Towhead
890.5 RBD Sleeping Giant Eddy
890 – 883 LBD Kentucky Point Bar
889.5 RBD St. John’s Bayou
The St. John’s Bayou/New Madrid Floodway Project  
New Madrid  
889 RBD New Madrid Boat Ramp
888.5 – 886.3 RBD New Madrid Bar
Losing Our Tents on the Bottom End of the Kentucky Point Bar  
885 – 883.8 RBD New Madrid Industrial Reach
883 – 879 RBD Island No. 11
882.3 RBD Welcome to Tennessee
880.2 LBD Kentucky Bend Crossover Portage
879 LBD Tiptonville Chute
878 LBD Marr Towhead Secret Sandbar
878 – 875.5 LBD Matt Towhead
877.2 RBD Williams Point
876.5 RBD Linda Boat Ramp
874 – 867 RBD Stewart Towhead
873.7 LBD Bixby Towhead Light
872.2 LBD Tiptonville Boat Ramp
869 LBD Sheep’s Ridge Break
868.9 LBD Sheep Ridge Secret Camp
867 -861 Little Cypress Bend
867 -861 RBD Bar of Island No. 13
Caruthersville Gage (CUG) Water Levels Caruthersville to Memphis  
Dikes and Water Levels Caruthersville to Memphis  
860 RBD Secret Bar Kennedy Point
860 – 855 RBD Kennedy Bar
859.3 – 867.5 LBD Lee Towhead Back Channel
856.2 LBD Fritz Landing Boat Ramp
855 – 852 RBD Robinson Bayou Bar
855 – 850 LBD Island No. 14
855 – 850 LBD Island No. 15/Little Prairie Bend
Options for Paddlers in the Caruthersville Stretch  
Above Caruthersville  
Below Caruthersville  
850 RBD Caruthersville Harbor Boat Ramp (1/2 Mile Up Harbor)
849 RBD Mouth of the Caruthersville Harbor
848 RBD Trinity Barge Fabrication Plant
847 LBD Blaker Towhead
846.5 RBD Caruthersville
846 RBD Isle of Capri/Lady Luck Casino (Casino Inn & Suites)
  Isle of Capri/Lady Luck Casino (Casino Inn & Suites)
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Atchafalaya River 159 – 0 SIMMESPORT TO MORGAN CITY
Louisiana Delta 229 – 10 BATON ROUGE TO VENICE
Birdsfoot Delta 10 – 0 VENICE TO GULF OF MEXICO