The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Appendix

Rivergator Appendix V

Layne’s Log

Facebook Journal kept by expedition member Layne Logue

Dec 6-16, 2014

 

Day 1 = 11 miles.  Total paddled = 11 miles Remaining = 199 miles Mississippi River Expedition Vicksburg to Baton Rouge (210 miles) Dec 6 10 people and two canoes left the Vicksburg Riverfront boat ramp around 2pm. The rain held off and the wind was at our back. We made campsite at mile marker 428 on the right bank descending tucked into a cove that is protecting us from the north wind. Adam Elliott was grand chef tonight and it was whitetail deer chili with cornbread pancakes. And banana nut bread for dessert. Good way to start...

 

Day 2 = 20 miles.  Total paddled = 32 miles Remaining = 179 miles Mississippi River Expedition Vicksburg to Baton Rouge (207 miles) Dec 7 Last night at our campsite (mi marker 426 almost across from LeTourneau boat ramp)... I used my Sierra Madre Research Hammock tent (nube, pares and winter barrier). This was my first time sleeping in a hammock. And it was really good! The day started out very cloudy and a little wind... But the temp was not too cold. After breakfast (bacon, eggs, cantaloupe), we shipped off and landed a mile downstream at the Palmyra chute (north entrance and a big sandbar). Walked around for 30 min then left. The sun started started poking out at noon... and we all were glad to see the blue skies open up. Had lunch pretty close to the Palmyra chute (south exit). Tom had a small campfire going in no time and although we weren't cold... It was nice to have that for lunch. The Corps of Engineers Quarter House boat and the Mat-Sinking unit were all out in the river working past Togo Island. A crew boat Captain, Paul Koestler pulled up besides us in the middle of the river to see where the heck we were going. We talked a bit and John Ruskey gave him a river map poster that John made. We paddled over to where the Big Black River comes into the Mississippi River and went back onto there a half mile... then headed straight across to Middle Ground Island and made campsite at mile marker 407.5. Nathan and I put our SMR hammock tents right at the 40 ft dropoff to the river. It's very steep sand and has a couple vertical sections. Dinner was Raft stew(?) which consisted of potatoes, cheese and wild hog & deer sausage (from Nathan). Campfire was nice and the stars came out. John got on my acoustic guitar and sang and played the blues. He also used a bud light bottleneck for a slide that we made earlier. At lunch, we etched the bottle and broke it by the heat of the campfire. That was our project at lunch. Ahhhh river life). The coyotes are howling right now as we go to sleep.

 

Day 3 = 39 miles.Total paddled to date = 70 miles Remaining = 140 miles of the Mississippi River Expedition Vicksburg to Baton Rouge (210 miles) Dec 8 Woke up early to catch the sunrise over the Big Black Bluffs. Our campsite is close to Grand Gulf. Mile marker 408. The morning temp was a little chilly ... Around 40, but quickly climbed when the sun came up. Blue skies and not a single cloud. John said he wanted to make 30 miles... So, we paddled a lot today. Actually got 38 miles today. Barge traffic was pretty busy today. We had VHF radios and it was funny to hear the Tow boat captains warning other traffic of idiot kayakers. (We're actually in canoes.) After 4 hours of paddling, we stopped at Spithead towhead for lunch. This was a big sandbar and Adam, Braxton and Nathan found some freshwater otter tracks. The sun was great, temp 68 and we were sitting by the water listening to the small waves crash. You could fall asleep if you closed your eyes. Buckled down and paddled hard past Waterproof and made the bend that puts Natchez in view. It's 7 miles away but still you can make it out. Landed at a nice sandbar (mile marker 371) as the sun was close to going down. We collected firewood and then got our tents up. Braxton got going the vegetable soup with Alligator and deer sausage. The temp is really dropping and should be a low around 38. Light breeze. Although we're 7 miles from Natchez... The stars fill the sky and the Milky Way is easily visible too. Mike spots two satellites buzzing by. A paddle wheel passenger boat came by and it was lit up with lights. The coyotes howl and we howl right back at them.

 

Day 4 = 12 miles. Total paddled to date = 82 miles Remaining = 128 miles.  Mississippi River Expedition Vicksburg to Baton Rouge (210 miles) Dec 9 Woke up to a pretty chilly morning at 3am. Note to self: don't drink a lot of ginger tea before bed. This morning I slept late to 7:15am. The fog was rolling around us but finally burned out before we shoved off. We leave mile marker 371 and paddle 7 miles to Natchez. The weather is perfect... Sunny and 60's temp. The American Queen paddle boat is docked at the boat ramp and we park next to her.... We say goodbye to our new friend Tom and friend Mike... And pickup Mike & Paul Orr. John gives us 2 hours to re supply some groceries and take a look around. We stop and see our good friends Gail & Greg (they live at Under the Hill) and they let us plug up our electronics to charge up. Thanks again! I go to The Pig Out Inn to buy some smoked turkey, beef brisket and baked beans for the trip. So good... We load up and paddle 5 miles to the Natchez Islands (mile marker 358). Several people go to the back side of the island and watch a bunch of beavers swimming around and slapping their tail. Ralph got a good video of it. We have a good view of the sunset (and will have a good view of the sunrise in the morning). John plays some guitar music... And then Nathan has a knot tying school lesson for everyone. Repeat after me ... English knot. We can see Natchez from our campsite (again) and the moon is huge and bright orange. It's 9:41pm and I can still hear beaver splashes going on in that back island channel. Must be a ton of beavers there.

 

Day 5 = 33 miles.  Total paddled to date = 115 miles Remaining = 95 miles.  Mississippi River Expedition Vicksburg to Baton Rouge (210 miles) Dec 10.  Woke up on Natchez Island (mi marker 358) to a beautiful sunrise at 6am. Mark River Peoples made scrambled eggs and sausage and had green grapes on the side.   As we eat around the campfire, River thinks he shouldn't have had his tent so close to the beavers. Because every time he got out of his tent, a big beaver would slap his tail in the water... letting him know this is HIS area.  The day was partly sunny with a north wind at our backs. Birds, ducks and pelicans were plentiful. We saw several pelican congregations... Around 200 in a group on the water edge of the sandbar. It's really cool to watch groups of Pelicans fly. It's like a dance in the sky. They fly as a group then turn around, fly for 200 ft and turn around.... repeat. On the top side of a pelican is white... But on the bottom side, it's black. As they keep turning, you see white, black, white...etc.  On the water, we hear a towboat say watch out for those canoes, they're going down the middle of the river! We laugh... And Adam calls on his VHF marine radio back to him we're ok. Towboat Capt was surprised OH! You got a radio!  We stop on a sandbar for lunch and we find an old campfire (again!). This is the second time on this trip to find fire where we stop. It's really nice to warm up. It's not cold, but our wetsuits make us sweat... Due to constant paddling and especially when the sun is full. So we're chilled because we are a little wet.