Raft down the Mississippi

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by qwist04, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    A motley crew if ever I saw one....:p

    Congrat's for getting off your duffs and doing it, instead of just talking about it. And I'm glad it went rather smoothly. Did you get any fishing done?
     
  2. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    where'd ya hide the keg ? ;-)
    and did ya have any trouble keeping it cold enough
     
  3. willdeh2
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    willdeh2 Junior Member

    To answer your questions, no we did not fish, and no we did not have a keg.

    To be legal for fishing, you must obtain a fishing license in one of the bordering states. We didn't feel like spending that money, and we don't really enjoy cleaning fish to eat them. We did get this question all the time though, it seemed like everybody knew the perfect spot and wondered if we had gotten anything good.

    About the beer, we are only 19 and we didn't feel like having one more thing to worry about when the Coast Guard found us. This was also a very popular question because who in their right mind would go down the river without beer? Really, it was a good enough trip that the alcohol wasn't necessary... About keeping liquids cold, we did have a cooler full of Mt. Dew and Coke. We'd get ice everyday and it'd last about 10-12 hours before it was just cold water. Kind of frustrating, but better than lukewarm.
     
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  4. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Good for you. Clean, law-abiding fun.

    -Tom
     
  5. tom kane
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    tom kane Senior Member

    And a compliment from New Zealand
     
  6. willdeh2
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    Location: Iowa City

    willdeh2 Junior Member

    Is anyone doing the trip this year? I'd love to hear someone else's travel stories.
     
  7. Hayaka
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    Location: Irvine, CA

    Hayaka Junior Member

    Venice to Head of Passes

    Hi, what a great thread. I've read all the posts from back in 2005. Fascinating stuff.

    My ambitions are much more modest than the rest of you that have posted here. I want to be at the Mississippi's origin and the mouth during the same trip, but I won't be traveling the whole way by boat. I will start at Lake Itasca, and then drive by car south, crisscrossing the river at various points until I get to Venice, Louisiana, which is where the road ends. My problem is that the mouth, which is at Head of Passes, Louisiana is about 10 miles south of Venice, and the only way to get there is either by boat, or by a combination of boat and walking along the marshy shore. Although I'm open to boating it as much as possible downstream, if it is safe and the current gets me there more quickly, my intention is to walk most of the way from Venice to Head of Passes. However, there are about five locations where a boat will be necessary, ranging in distance from about 500 yards at the beginning (the Venice channel), to probably less than 30 yards in a couple of places. To do this I intend to use an inflatable raft with a paddle. From reading this thread I realize that an outboard motor is recommended. However, I'm talking about pretty short hops between the walking sections, and I'm hoping a paddle will be sufficient for what I want to do. I will of course wear a life jacket and stick very close to the shore line during the brief segments on the water.

    My biggest concern is at the end when I have to paddle against the current during the 500 yards or so back across the Venice channel. I'm in reasonably good shape and have canoed in Newport Bay near my home on occasion, but I'm not an experienced boatman by any means. If necessary, I can probably walk west across the marshes and cross the Venice channel away from the river where the distance over water is shorter and I wouldn't be paddling directly against the current.

    Well, that's my plan. I realize it may sound rather naive. Any comments are most welcome.
     
  8. Raftman1979
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    Raftman1979 Junior Member

    Since you're going to be taking a car, just bring a rigid kayak. Not an inflatable. They're more streamlined and you can paddle them faster.

    The current probably only goes about 3 mph. If you can paddle faster than 3 mph, you'll be fine.
     
  9. Hayaka
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    Hayaka Junior Member

    Thanks for the response, Raftman. I'll think about using a kayak. Somebody on another site suggested that I can probably just hitch a ride back upstream from the Head of Passes with a fishing boat. Hopefully that will be the case.
     
  10. willdeh2
    Joined: Apr 2011
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    willdeh2 Junior Member

    That sounds like a pretty cool trip! I can't tell you anything of the river past New Orleans, but a rigid kayak does sound like a reasonable idea, you might be able to stay close enough to land that the current wouldn't affect you as much. Let us know how your trip goes, I'd love to see some pictures of the river in the delta. Are you driving all the way from California?
     
  11. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I don't know about there, but around here there is no walking along the marshy shore. If you're on the marshy shore, you need to be rescued. Are you sure it's walkable? Maybe you could rent a boat in Venice, there seems to be a lot of hunting done in the WMA, so maybe they rent boats somewhere. Carry along some candy for the alligators, those salt water ones seem kind of uppity.
     
  12. Hayaka
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    Hayaka Junior Member

    Thanks for your response, Sam. You could be right about this part of the Mississippi. I'm basing the hiking approach largely on Google Earth images, which seem to indicate there are trails, or at least open ground (dry or otherwise), that can be traveled across. Are you saying that the coastal areas near you are impassable because of water, or because the plant and tree growth are impenetrable?
     
  13. Hayaka
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    Hayaka Junior Member

    Also, could you give me the name of a location near you that is impassable? I'd like to compare how it looks on Google Earth with the Mississippi images. Thanks.
     
  14. Hayaka
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    Hayaka Junior Member

    Willdeh,

    I'm flying to Wisconsin before the election (going to be volunteering as an attorney on one of the presidential campaigns there), and then renting a car for the trip to Lake Itasca and points south. I'll be sure and post plenty of pictures.

    I plan to start at Venice around 6 am as the sun rises. The sun will set about 5:30 there in November. Do you think that is enough time to go 10 miles south and 10 miles back, if I paddle the whole way? As I said before, i'm in decent physical shape, but have limited experience on the water. I plan to train for it though, in the three months or so I have before the trip.
     

  15. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    It's mud and tall reeds/marsh grass. Try this for a google maps example, it's the delta/mouth of the Altamaha River...
    Two-Way Fish Camp, Ricefield Way, Brunswick, GA
    There were a lot of rice paddies there so there might be some paths on the levees surrounding them, but on the ocean side of highway 17 and before the barrier islands, there is nothing much that you can walk around on.
    I can see those paths you're talking about, you might be right about being able to walk around there. If nothing else it looks like the channel banks are all rock lined, but walking 10 miles (20 miles round trip) on those would be a chore. I don't know about there, but here you also have snakes to wonder about. And huge, big, large wild hogs. I doubt those possible paths that can be seen were made by people.
    One other thing is tides. We have 6-7 foot tides, and when the planets are aligned, a few spring-fall tides that push 9 foot. Those will come out of the channels and cover the whole marsh, as will the smaller ones if the wind is pushing the ocean towards land. So check the future tide tables and pick a good time, and keep an eye on the weather.

    I tell you what though. There's a Coast Guard station in Venice, you could call them up and ask them what's what. If nothing else, let them know when you start walking, and if you don't check back in, they'll come looking for you.
    Also that WMA at the end of your venture ought to have some DNR office you could call to get an idea of what it would be like to try and walk there.
     
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