Thursday, November 05, 2015

Correction:  the directions in the last post said take I-40 East.  You take I-40 WEST, not east, to exit 143.  But you would have figured that out by the time you got to Knoxville.

Don't forget to BYOPlates, utensils and cups.  Plus non-disposable water bottles.    

As far as the river trip itself under the new plan:

On Saturday morning we will launch directly from our Friday night campsite and go downstream from there.   Hopefully we will have run the shuttle Friday while we're still sober.  Surely we will have run the shuttle Friday.

The total trip to the Sunday take-out is exactly 10 river miles.  This tasty looking island is at mile 7.5...

A big red-brown butterfly sat spread on the cottonwood log my ax was stuck in, warming itself in the sun.  I watched until it flew stiffly away, then got up and followed, for no good reason except that the time seemed to have come to stir, and I wanted a closer look at the island.

It was shaped like an attenuated teardrop or the cross section of an airplane's wing, maybe three quarters of a mile long and 100 yards or so wide at its upper, thicker end.  Its foundation everywhere appeared to be a heavy deposit of the multicolored gravel, and its flat top except for a few high dunes of the padding sand was eight or ten feet above the present level of the river.  All around, it dropped off steeply, in spots directly to the water, in others to beaches, and toward the pointed tail the willows and weeds stood rank.  I rooted about there and found nothing but coon tracks and a few birds still sleepy and cold on their roosts, but, emerging among cockleburs above a beach by the other channel, scared four ducks off a quiet eddy.  I'd left the gun in the tent; shots from here and there under the wide sky's bowl reminded me that busier hunters than I were finding game.  

Let them.  I considered that maybe in the evening I'd crouch under a bush at the island's upper end and put out sheets of notepaper on the off chance that more geese would come, and the off-off chance that if they did they'd feel brotherly toward notepaper.  You can interest them sometimes in newspapers.

And maybe I wouldn't.

Goodbye to a River, pp. 154-55.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Ok you jessies, we're abandoning the Duck River plan and this will affect a lot of stuff so pay attention.

Everything about the section of the Duck we were going to do was based on a late fall, low-water, dry-weather trip.  Especially the second night campsite which was going to be quite scenic but on a low, flat gravel bar.  The river has gradually been coming down from the big rains we had a week ago but is not all the way there:

Then there is the weather forecast for Friday.   

We are not fair weather canoeists, and we sure aren't engineered for patio living, but there's no good reason to rush to get out on the river in the middle of a storm that is supposed to pass in the afternoon.  Plus I really don't know what it will do to the water level that is already a little high.  Theoretically it will take a couple of days for the water to rise that far downstream.  But theory isn't worth much when you're standing ankle deep by the place your campfire used to be as any veteran of Big Swan Creek can tell you.


We are going to change both rivers and strategies.  We will go to the Buffalo, which should be fine with a little extra water, and we will camp right at the put-in instead of paddling on Friday.  We'll do this at the Highway 13 access on the big gravel bar under the bridge where Crazy Horse Canoe Rental is located.

Here it is from street view:

Kind of nice, isn't it, considering it's by a highway?  And we have permission from Crazy Horse to be there which is also a nice feeling (see Big Swan Creek, supra).  We could even use the bridge for shelter if we needed to which might make for a memorable party.  

If you trust GPS in Wayne County the address is 2505 Waynesboro Hwy.  Otherwise take I-40 West to exit 143, and take Hwy 13 south 40 miles to the bridge.   The Natchez Trace is also an option for everyone except Mullowney who doesn't like the federal jurisdiction there.

The benefits of camping at the put-in are:  

-  We can take our time arriving while the storms pass
-  No paddling in the rain
-  No jon boat travel in the dark (and the rain)
-  Possible one-nighter options for people with conflicts on Friday or Saturday night
-  Still get to camp on a gravel bar

Other things that will change now:

-  We will probably not go to the trout farm in the rain either.  The cooks are already mobilizing for this contingency.

-  We will not take the jon boat.  Kirk, Ian and Bob will just come straight to our homeless encampment under the bridge.  I'll figure out the canoe situation.

-  We will relax our departure time from Nashville.  Rob will pick Pete up at the airport at 8:00 am but they can now finish grocery shopping and packing together.  Let's plan to leave from my house at 10:00 am.  It's two hours to the Buffalo/Hwy 13 bridge by the way.  

-  Pete:  no need to change the muffaleta plan unless you want to.  RRCCers:  assume a late lunch will be served on site Friday unless you hear otherwise.   

-  All kinds of new car camping options on Friday as well:  good guitars, glass bottles, etc.   Josh we may need to bring more than just the token mini-kegs.   They don't even have to be mini for that matter...