It was hard to leave John Ruskey’s this morning. The place is a paddlers dream. After saying goodbye to the others, we floated out and alongside the elevated pedestrian walkway that snakes its way through the submerged forests of Helena. Upstream wind hit us immediately upon entering the river waterway, and we battled headwinds all the way to mile marker 633, which is where we sat up camp for the evening.
Thirty miles into the paddle, we spotted a potential campsite. Turning our boats to paddle to the shore, we noticed (for the first time) a big, dark, cloud that was rapidly approaching. Richard and I immediately became concerned and paddled faster. About that time, a weather alert sounded from my cell phone. We knew that the sandy bank we just passed was the only hope for getting ashore before the storm hit. We needed protective refuge, and FAST!
Didn't quite make it to shore before the weather front hit us fast and hard. Paddling up stream now, and with the wind against the current, it was nearly impossible to continue with forward momentum. I finally made it to shore, just short of where the sands began. Had to drag the boat behind me as I walked the final steps to the safety of dry land. Set up camp faster than ever before. Only took ten minutes and I was drying out inside the tent.
For those of you following my journey with SPOT, you will understand the value of this tool. I can't imagine exploring remote areas like this section of the Mississippi without SPOT. Thank you to Globalstar for making this unit part of my Expedition. You are a great sponsor.
Richard Sojourner and I are the only team members still paddling. The Adventureitus Productions team will meet us again above Baton Rouge. Jonathan Brown had to return early to Memphis, and Isaiah Allen only paddled with us the one day. The absence of their wonderful companionship has hit me today, and the loneliness of this huge river has set in. But Richard and I have miles and miles left to paddle and have no plans to stop before reaching the Gulf of Mexico.
We plan on paddling out Early a.m. tomorrow to make up for lost mileage today.
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.