Earlier today, a funny thing happened. River Angel, and soon to be Source to Sea paddler, Matt Burdine tried to catch up with us at Mayersville, Mississippi. Unfortunately, we were paddling so fast that he he arrived with food too late. The alternate plan was for him to meet us on the levee a few miles downstream. The sandwiches were great. Thanks Matt! Too bad that paddling over to the levee became almost an impossible task.
Matt blew his car horn several times. I was finally able to figure out where the sound was coming from. We found the boat ramp. Well, we "thought" we he was there. Started paddling up the road only to find that there was a long stretched out section of the water. Walked over the hill, tried wading, and just went deeper and deeper. Richard even tried swimming and turned back. The side currents were ferocious. But I wasn't going to pass up free food. Unloaded my canoe, dragged it down the road until the road re-entered the water. Richard climbed in the boat with me and I paddled us over to the jetty where we ate well.
The expected campsite was missing. Nothing except tree tops visible above the surface of the water.
Before leaving Greenville, we made detailed plans on where to camp this night. There were three options, but we decided on the site furthest down river. At 50 miles, we paddled up to the recommended site, finding it submerged. There was no dry land to be found.
Having seen several homes on the west bank we made the decision to paddle across, thinking there would be a place where we could pitch a tent. Even if it meant trespassing. It would be dark in two hours and it could take that long to find any dry ground. Nothing could be worse than spending the night in our boats all night, fanning off mosquitoes.
The shoreline on the east bank was all flooded - no homes, nothing where we could get out and walk. Crossed back to the other side.
Desperate now, we were ready to take anything long as we could get out of the boat. Saw what looked like sand at the north end of an island. Turned out to be logs and other debris washed in - no ground of any type.
Paddled through several more islands with no exposed ground. Saw on the distant tree lined east shore what appeared I be a ten to twenty foot sandy bank. Richard said no, but I was now relying on faith and the higher power that it would be usable land, even if we had to set in camp chairs all night.
There it was, a little piece of sand. The bank was only a couple of feet high. Matted with saw briers and years of under growth, I manage to explore just enough to see that, with some work, we could pitch a tent. I was not leaving the site no matter how bad it was, which is the second time today that I set my jaw in determination.
Both Richard and I are having a difficult time cooling down tonight. Our makeshift site is nothing to behold, but it is dry. We have been in and out of the water several times, just to somewhat keep our core temperature down to acceptable levels. Now, after a quick bite for dinner, no cooking, we are setting here with all the expected nature's critters waiting for the air temperature to cool down enough to get inside the tents. The mosquitoes are getting more aggressive now that it is dark. Must get inside now, even if is hot in our canvas shelter.
Plans are to paddle out at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Must find a way to beat the heat and this is our only acceptable option.
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.