Jake’s Picks: The Lower Mississippi

John Ruskey and the Quapaws on the Lower Mississippi. Photo by Robert Zaleski
John Ruskey and the Quapaws on the Lower Mississippi. Photo by Robert Zaleski

By Jake Stachovak

The Lower Mississippi proved to be one of the most breathtaking parts of my trip. A river that's a mile wide and shared with 10,000-horsepower towboats, pushing rafts of barges more than 1,000 feet long, is a spectacle almost too grand for words. The river valley is a wilderness as wild as many in the Lower 48 and the Mississippi eagerly carries you through the middle of it all. Riverside towns are few and far between and can be a little rough, but the camping on numerous sandbars and islands is about as easy as it gets.

Beta: To see what makes the Lower Mississippi great, paddle 100 miles through the Muddy Waters Wilderness from Quapaw Landing near Clarksdale, Miss., to Warfield Point State Park just outside Greenville, Miss.

Don't forget: A VHF radio for safety and to listen in on towboat traffic.

Afterward: Pull up at the boat ramp in Natchez, Miss., right beneath the funky and historic Under-the-Hill Saloon for some fresh crawfish.

Web: Quapaw Canoe Company

Ed Note: In 2009 and 2010, Jake Stachovak paddled around the eastern half of the United States. These are some of his favorite stops along the way.

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