Lying here in my sleeping bag, watching 1000's of mosquitoes aggressively seeking access into my tent. Coupled with the two violent storms we endured last night, I am reminded that one could not survive long in this environment without certain basic needs. Also wonder how the early explorers were able to deal with such conditions. I believe that the hardships humans in these conditions would endure without tents, sleeping bags, dry clothing, food and clean water, go unrecognized by mankind. Just like Juvenile Diabetes. It appears society has not yet come to come to grips, able to deal with the hardships these children endure for their entire life. I hope in some small way my efforts to survive this journey will help raise funds and awareness of the need for a cure.
Paddled thirty-five miles yesterday, finding only two places to stretch my legs on solid ground. Conditions are complicated due to the high flood waters and the absence of civilization. To put it in perspective, we now have paddled the last two hundred miles not seeing a single recreation craft of any type other than ours.
Having difficulty locating a campsite, Richard and I paddled across several wing dams to attempt to enter a channel off the main river, hoping to find a place to simply erect a tent. Nothing, not even a small piece of land above water level. Attempted to paddle through the woods, finding them so dense we could not maneuver our boats through the undergrowth and debris washed in by high waters. Our only options were to paddle the remaining 22 miles to Cairo, Illinois, or see if there was a passage somewhere that would allow us to paddle alongside the levee. Sleeping in the boat was not an option. At about 4 pm I noticed a small uncluttered opening and could see the levee. We were able to pitch tents on top the levee, but this left us high and unprotected from strong winds and rain. We had been paddling since 0730, and opted to stay here. The wind and rains did come. Somehow, our tents survived and kept us dry for the night. How blessed we were to have the simple things needed to survive. It's not that simple for children with Type one Diabetes.
Today is a most important date. It was one year ago today I formally announced plans to paddle the Mississippi River in support of and to raise awareness and funds for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes research in honor of my Grand Niece, Anna, which is also, why I chose to name my Wenonah canoe "Anna".
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.