The tent swayed violently back and forth in the wind storms of last night.
Packed out and left the critter-infested levee campsite at 1100 today. After two violent storms last night, we were ready to leave this unprotected finger of land with miles of stagnant waters backed up on the so called protected side of the levee. No place to be during a wind storm, which we graphically experienced, hopefully for the last time. But, with water levels at record highs, we could easily find ourselves having to paddle through several flooded forests again in order to find land suitable to erect a tent.
Arrived at Cairo, Illinois at 1530 to find that Point Defiance was underwater. Paddled up the access road a quarter mile, and behold there stood AnnA, my Grand Niece. She was standing on the road at the water’s edge. This was a surprise. I was most humbled. The greetings received from the welcoming party were the best ever. Also up the ramp was: Judi (my sister), Angie (AnnA's mom), Chandler (AnnA’s brother), Debbie (cousin), and high school classmate Coleman, all from Kentucky. Chris Austin and Mary Finley also came up from Memphis. Paducah TV was there giving area wide exclusive coverage of the event. To see the TV coverage go to the “Recent Press” tab on this website.
The river is now almost too high for us to safely paddle. We paddled 200 miles between the big dam at Alton, Illinois above St Louis and all the way to Cairo, Illinois without seeing a single boat other than a few barges. The river is very isolated now, cut off from civilization. It’s like a wilderness on water. Stunningly different to realize that not one of the adjacent forests have exposed sand or dirt of any type above water levels. Finding a campsite is nearly impossible. When Richard and I have to resort to pitching tents on a levee, you know something is not right.
Decisions on whether to paddle or not to paddle will have to be made daily. The July 11th group decision to paddle to Hickman, Kentucky has been made. Will paddle out from Cairo, Illinois around 0945 tomorrow morning.
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.