Since we hit Missouri on Wednesday, a summer storm has been traveling with us night and day; trying to get our spirits down. We hunkered down, floated forward and yelled, “NOT TODAY, MOTHER NATURE!!” as we pee into the wind. This has been our first taste of “real” weather so far, and can happily say it went surprisingly well..granted everything on the raft is damp and our feet are pruney white from being waterlogged for the past few days. We fought through, choosing a different route through a slow slough, and traveling through Quincy, IL completely soaked all day, we were glad to have a break today when the rain finally stopped. Mist has overtaken typical landscape allowing us to snap quite interesting photographs.
To date we’ve locked through 19 locks, our largest drop was yesterday at 38 feet! The Keykock Power Plant uses the river to produce hydro-electricity.
In one of our previous posts, we were at the widest part of the Upper Mississippi (almost a mile and a half) and the current was virtually nonexistent. This dam holds all that water back, creating a river a fraction of the size coming out the other side. This ended up being a wonderful surprise since we were getting tired of floating at a snails pace..the river now is flowing noticeably faster (about 3mph!) Did we mention the birds following us down the river? These barn swallows (Hirundo rustica), flew out by the thousands after it rained, to catch bugs over the river. Like a scene out of Top Gun, these guys we flying and darting inches about the surface of the water, never touching the water or each other. Our little friends must have heard we had a biting fly problem! They’ve help keep the flies at bay, while we sit in the raft, anxious, with our newly acquired fly swatters and fly-paper. Dang flies don’t stand a chance!
Camping on a washed-out river island, the trees in this forest live in the sand and muck. This left only big, tall trees with a ton of river debris. Taking hike through this flood plain helped visualize the power of the Mississippi and the devastation that can come with high water. Back in these woods, there were trees over 5 feet in diameter! cracked like twigs and twisted up with other logs equally as big. Seeing the size and amount of debris left behind from the flood made us feel a deeper respect for the water we’re floating on.
Then later on, the vines entangle another river island making the entire scene green. On occasion a large cliff wall with visibly different layers produced some interesting rock walls cut through by the railroad tracks.
The U.S. Coast Guard stopped by today. We’ve accomplished the trifecta of being checked out by the Police, DNR and Coast Guard; passing each of the requirements with flying colors. They also enjoy looking at the registration card. Make: Homemade | Hull: Wood | Vin: None. After reviewing the safety equipment, they let us on our way, only to return five miles down the river to donate gasoline money. Thank you for the donation and for the professionalism of your approach. Theres no doubt we feel much safer knowing people like you are on the river looking after crazy guys like us 🙂
Skully missed everything because he was fast asleep