Mississippi River Challenge – Conclusion

With our time expired on the 2014 Mississippi River Challenge, we are off the river and headed back home, to new jobs, and new adventures. We are not stopping now because we can’t beat the record, but rather due to our prior obligations. Colin is leaving for a job inspecting fisheries flying straight out of New Orleans, Clint is flying to New Zealand, and Tim is expected back in front of a classroom. We very much would have liked to have finished the river, let alone to have been able to beat the record, but it turned out not to be in the cards. We have learned a lot over these last two and a half weeks that will help us if we ever pick up the challenge again, and if we do, we hope you will once more follow along with us. From battling ice on Lake Bemidji, and the constant rain and cold of northern Minnesota, being wind bound in Iowa, through to the incessant storms of the last two days, we have encountered and overcome many obstacles despite constant sleep deprivation and its effects. We all put everything we had into the attempt, and are content with our effort towards it. We have encountered so many amazing people, seen so much of the country, and thoroughly tested the limits of our endurance. For now we are tired, and so will do a more complete job of this when we wake up, but thank you to everyone who has been with us since the beginning, those of you who have joined us along the way, and to you who know and live on the river, and without whose help with food and advice along the way, this would not have been possible.

With every fiber of our being, paddle on,

Tim Muhich, Clint Adams, Boot Baweja, and Colin Bright

Oh yeah, and Boot is OK after becoming the first person we know of to get struck by lightning during a Mississippi River Challenge. Like the champion he is, Boot neither ran nor screamed, but valiantly picked himself up off the ground, grabbed his paddle, and said it was time to get back on the water.

Mississippi River Challenge – Day 19

Day 19 Begins – Morning Update May 29, 2014 Thursday – Time 05:30 CST (265miles left in a 2,345 mile journey)

This morning’s headline: “Storms, Storms, and More Storms”

A small recap of yesterday’s action: the team paddled from around Vicksburg to Natchez, finally stopping after they were trapped in a monsoon and flooding. They have not caught a break with the weather, unfortunately, and last night was no exception. They chose to call it a night and avoid the rain, fog, and flooding. After a few lightning strikes nearby, they holed up in the RV. Lightning, rain, and flash flooding are the words of the day–maybe it will give them a last-minute boost! They say their first showers in 18 days last night felt pretty good.

Race Recap: These guys are in a 24’ canoe called The Southbound Spartans paddling 24/7 on the 2,345 miles from Lake Itasca to Mile Zero at The Gulf of Mexico. The current record is 18 days 4 hours & 51 minutes as paddled by Bob Bradford and Clark Eid in 2003. The 2003 World Record Holders have been in regular contact with excellent advice and encouragement. The actual ‘time to beat’ is Thursday May 29 at 10:51am. When that record was set, it beat the previous record by over 5 days. If The Southbound Spartans are still on the water after this time, they will be “kicking ass” over the second place team.

The winds will become the wildcard – and of course – whenever you are dealing with one of the largest river systems on the planet – all things will become ‘rivertime’ –http://www.island63.com/quapaws-river-rat.cfm

WEATHER: We are moving the weather checker to Baton Rouge, Louisiana: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?CityName=City+View&state=SC&site=GSP&textField1=34.862&textField2=-82.4268&e=0#.U4T5SvldWmk

Today: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 88. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Key information resources:
The Mighty Quapaws: http://www.island63.com/about-us.cfm
The Rivergator Site: http://www.rivergator.org/paddlers-guide/introduction.cfm
From Rivergator, The Maps: http://www.rivergator.org/river-log/greenville-to-vicksburg/greenville-to-lake-providence.cfm
Timestamps – see the section in this link about ‘rivertime’ please: http://
www.island63.com/quapaws-river-rat.cfm
Favorite Videos: http://vimeo.com/84604043

Mississippi River Challenge – Day 18

Day 18 Begins – Morning Update May 28 – Time 06:30cst
Mile 437 Vicksburg Mississippi.
Today’s Headline: “Water Above & Below – The High Water’s Coming”

Yesterday’s Recap: The freshened paddlers paddled to Vicksburg in time to pick up the food cache from the Coast Guard Centennial Light Crib before the incoming water got to it, (Many Thanks to Mr. Layne Logue for getting it placed high enough). This stretch from Greenville featured torrential downpours but the hail was not too bad. At this posting time, they are ‘holed up’ in Vicksburg monitoring weather radar until it is safe to proceed.

We’re glad to report that the guys made good mileage yesterday and we look forward to more reports from the boat when they can push them through. If they can paddle in these conditions, Clint Adams has a surfing background, (see timely upcoming paddler bio post).

The Weather is sketchy at best, (Natchez – NOAA) – we may be encountering safety issues that are even riskier than ‘normal’ conditions: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=32.35264725000047&lon=-90.87787793399968&site=all&smap=1#.U4U_F3JdUhU
* FLASH FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS NORTHEAST LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI.
* RAINFALL TOTALS OF 2-4 INCHES WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS TOWARDS 5 TO 6 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE.
* HEAVY DOWNPOURS WILL BE CAPABLE OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR WITH QUICK BURSTS OF HEAVY RAIN AND COULD QUICKLY CAUSE FLASH FLOODING.

Quote from the Fabulous Fans: “Shelly Beesley Palmer” -> My Mother-in-Law had 4 inches of rain in Webster Parish Louisiana (upper north west corner of LA) in 2 hours today. Be careful. They are still forecasting more rain for the area which will move over across to Vicksburg.

Regarding the current downpour – The Southbound Spartans are looking forward to the push that 2-6″ of rain will bring. There’s a section in the Quapaw files that talks about definition of torrential downpour in which 3 days in The Lower Mississippi rain can often equal all of the rain that falls in Colorado in a year. Once again The Southbound Spartans say Thank You to The Mighty Quapaws for their advice as we work our way through The Lower Mississippi.

Race Update: Staying alive and surviving is the first goal – The Southbound Spartans are beginning their 18th day in pursuit of a new record for paddling the entire length of The Mississippi River. The record time is 18 days 4 hours and 51 minutes. This means they need to be at Mile Zero on Thursday the 29th, 10:51 am to set the record. That record in 2003 by Clark Eid & Bob Bradford is an epic story in it’s own right: http://www.mississippichallenge.org/racearchives.html

For other info, we’re going to utilize the resources posted by The Orr brothers. They’re watching over the next food cache and are The Riverkeepers of The Lower Mississippi River. http://lmrk.org/about-us/

Mississippi River Challenge – Day 17

Day 17 Begins – Morning Update May 27, 2014 Tuesday – Time 05:30 CST
(530 miles left in a 2,345 mile journey)This morning’s headline: “Did I Really Sleep On Land With A Belly Full Of Pizza”

Memorial Day also featured a flag raising & a “Paddles Up OOO—HOOO” – when passing by the boat ramp that The Mighty Quapaws utilize their Clarksdale Mississippi operations.

At 6pm yesterday, The Team received full bellies of pizza and root beer during a Greenville Mississippi rest stop. Mr Park Neff got the arrangements made & was a very gracious host to spend most of his day in service to The Southbound Spartans. -> editorial insert -> Yet Another Day In Service to The Paddling Community. — THANK YOU MR. PARK NEFF !!!

At nightfall last night, The Southbound Spartans as a Team – parked on an island and went to sleep. The night time travel in the dark, playing ‘dodge-barge’ was deemed unsafe – (much to the relief of many folks). Travel will resume this morning. If you were looking for The SPOT to be moving, “See SPOT” in the attached photo… (look closely, neither critter in the photo has shaved in a while)… We did see SPOT appear and disappear in the early days of this adventure. Yesterday, she walked into the river at Greenville Mississippi – hopped up on the spray skirt of the boat and walked over to Tim & promptly sat in his lap, “Ready To Go” seemed to be the message… SPOT Check Was AOK @ Greenville.

WEATHER: We are keeping the weather checker at Natchez Mississippi: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=31.560438564000435&lon=-91.40316581099967&site=all&smap=1#.U4Mes_ldXrA Today: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 67. South wind around 10 mph. Tuesday Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 85. South southeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Tuesday Night Showers and thunderstorms likely. Cloudy, with a low around 69. South southeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Key information resources:
The Mighty Quapaws: http://www.island63.com/about-us.cfm
The Rivergator Site: http://www.rivergator.org/paddlers-guide/introduction.cfm
From Rivergator, The Maps: http://www.rivergator.org/river-log/greenville-to-vicksburg/greenville-to-lake-providence.cfm
Timestamps – see the section in this link about ‘rivertime’ please: http://www.island63.com/quapaws-river-rat.cfm
Favorite Videos: http://vimeo.com/84604043

Race Recap: These guys are in a 24’ canoe called The Southbound Spartans paddling 24/7 on the 2,345 miles from Lake Itasca to Mile Zero at The Gulf of Mexico. The current record is 18 days 4 hours & 51 minutes as paddled by Bob Bradford and Clark Eid in 2003. The water levels in The Lower Mississippi will be a key factor, as will the survival of the paddlers. The 2003 World Record Holders have been in regular contact with excellent advice and encouragement.

The winds will become the wildcard – and of course – whenever you are dealing with one of the largest river systems on the planet – all things will become ‘rivertime’ –http://www.island63.com/quapaws-river-rat.cfm

Updated from ‘deskcrew’ by Flipper 05:30 cst ‘rivertime’ on 05.27.2014

 

Mississippi River Challenge – Day 16

Day 16 Begins – Morning Update May 26, 2014 Monday – Time 07:30 CST
WELCOME MISSISSIPPI – bye Tennessee

This morning’s headline “Delta Travel is Beautiful”

Phone in from Tom, “Boot” Bawja 06:30 CST
Marine radio is now allowing discussions with the barge captains – especially helpful in the night. The paddlers received a txt from 2003 World Record paddler Mr. Clark Eid talking about these barges and send this message back to Mr. Eid, “Clark, Thank You & You Are Absolutely Correct”!! Yikes – there was one that ran their tow onto the shore right in front of them. At the moment there are 4 rafts in a narrow bend and The Southbound Spartans are glad they’re in a skinny boat…

The river is dropping in water levels, the wing dikes are no longer runnable, sandbars are appearing everywhere. Keeping the main channel’s primary flow in front of the boat is especially challenging in the night. With increases in barge traffic – The Main Channel gets a little crowded. The barges create huge waves that amplify when reaching the shallow river bottom. Shallow river bottoms in this context happen everywhere across the river as the sandbars move constantly. The impact of the suddenly appearing 8’ waves creates conditions of treacherous travel. For our guy Clint Adams though, they’re surfing opportunities & the paddlers are ‘catching the wave’ as nimbly as a 24’ canoe can…

Yesterday’s recap – after getting ‘barge blocked & with limited communication the night before, our team’s mileage improved significantly and they came through Memphis in a rush. Mr. Dale Sanders met them on The Memphis Mud Island cache drop & sent them on downstream. The river proved challenging to arrange a meeting point for replacement of the marine radio. The Mighty Quapaws fixed that problem as John ‘MadDog’ Fewkes stepped up on his rest day and got the location arranged and the shorecrew placed. This worked perfectly and our team was on their way in to the night. Thank You Gentlemen – Well Done !!!

This morning finds us South of Island 63 and heading into the next food cache at Greenville. If anyone has a couple of pizzas, (one vegan and ½ veggie), it would appear some of the comforts of home are finally creeping into the minds of our team.

In honor of Memorial Day – The Southbound Spartans are flying the nation’s colors on the stern of the boat, (courtesy of a gift from Mr. Randy Scero as Steward of The Food Cache). The new flag has given this waterborne vehicle a touch of class for sure. An additional video slideshow is linked at the bottom of this post for your Memorial Day experience (*).

WEATHER: We are moving the checker downstream to Natchez Mississippi: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=31.560438564000435&lon=-91.40316581099967&site=all&smap=1#.U4Mes_ldXrA Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. Light south wind increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Tonight Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Tuesday A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 87. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms. Tuesday Night A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 68. South southeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms..

The rest of this trip and these posts will focus on the information provided through:
The Mighty Quapaws: http://www.island63.com/about-us.cfm
The Rivergator Site: http://www.rivergator.org/paddlers-guide/introduction.cfm
From Rivergator, The Maps: http://www.rivergator.org/river-log/st-francis-to-arkansas-city/island-63-to-hurricane.cfm
Timestamps – see the section in this link about ‘rivertime’ please: http://www.island63.com/quapaws-river-rat.cfm

Race Recap: These guys are in a 24’ canoe called The Southbound Spartans paddling 24/7 on the 2,345 miles from Lake Itasca to Mile Zero at The Gulf of Mexico. The current record is 18 days 4 hours & 51 minutes as paddled by Bob Bradford and Clark Eid in 2003. The water levels in The Lower Mississippi will be a key factor, as will the survival of the paddlers. The 2003 World Record Holders have been in regular contact & comparatively – The Southbound Spartans are in the hunt and not far behind.

The winds will become the wildcard – and of course – whenever you are dealing with one of the largest river systems on the planet – all things will become ‘rivertime’ –http://www.island63.com/quapaws-river-rat.cfm

(*) Memorial Day River Slideshow Because many readers have ‘a casual day’ today – (not our guys in the boat mind you, but…) – Today we are providing a link to a production from The Mighty Quapaws, Rivergator: Paddlers Guide to the Lower Mississippi “Featuring the WILD people and WILD places along the Lower Mississippi! Narrated by river rebel Mark River with raw river gee-tar by Driftwood Johnnie and technicals by River Brax. A must-see for any and all river-rats! The longest water trail in America along the longest stretch of free-flowing river in the continental United States, over 1100 miles from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico (including the Middle Miss from the Missouri River confluence). There are thousands of islands, backchannels, side channels and oxbow lakes to explore. The trail connects cities, states, public lands, festivals and all of the people and businesses found along the Lower Miss.”
http://vimeo.com/84604043

Updated from ‘deskcrew’ by Flipper 07:30 cst ‘rivertime’ on 05.26.2014