Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Past Vicksburg, MS and Natchez, MS (Mile Marker 328)


I was able to speak with Joe briefly the past two days, after two great efforts on the Mighty Mississippi. The calm weather has continued for him, affording him great scenery, cooler weather, and long miles. On Monday, he put in 63 to 64 miles, ending up a little bit below mile marker 390. As stated before, he passed by the historical Civil War battle site of Vicksburg, MS.

(Cooking dinner on a large sandbar upstream from Vicksburg)

He unfortunately didn’t have time to stop in town and see the famous siege caves of Vicksburg. In the spring and summer of 1863, the Union Fleet on the Mississippi and the U.S. Army surrounding bombarded Vicksburg with heavy artillery shells. The constant shelling forced some of the residents to live in caves to avoid the shrapnel and artillery fragments. A great website, with quotes from the diary of Mary Loughborough, the wife of a Confederate officer at Vicksburg, can be found here.

Mr. Tom Lewis standing in front of a cave on Grove Street, Circa 1890’s. (photo from; another great website for history of Vicksburg, MS)

Joe camped up downstream of Vicksburg on Monday night under cool skies. He said it was downright cold compared to earlier evenings, reaching a chilly 55 degrees. The great paddling weather fueled another solid effort today (Tuesday), allowing Joe to get to mile marker 328.

(Camp outside Douglas bend)

Today, Joe passed by another large town in Natchez, MS. The town was much less impacted by the Civil War, but has an interesting history nonetheless. The city is named after the original Natchez Indian Tribe that lived in the area prior to the takeover by French, Spanish, and English forces. The United States finally took control of the area with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The area was very important in the early cotton trade as it, along with parts of Georgia and South Carolina, was instrumental in the development in hybridized cotton breeds. These breeds made it more economical to grow cotton in the United States, as compared to the earlier generations of cotton. A final interesting fact is that Natchez was home to the filming of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, another traveler of the Mississippi (Also the novel I’m working on). Most of the information was taken from here. Feel free to click through all the links as Natchez and the surrounding Mississippi valley has some great history. Another great website can be found here.

As for the upcoming days, Joe predicts he’ll be entering Baton Rouge, LA on Thursday night/Friday morning.

(Camp on a peaceful island in the river just north of Baton Rouge)

( A large storm that hit me a day out from Baton Rouge)

(Looking out on the storm after it hit me)

Joe has plans to stay for a night and resupply in town; therefore, with a full cell phone battery charged, I will be able to relay a bit more information on Joe’s day on the river.

Some great news for the fundraising effort……Scott Deig, CEO of Triumph Hospital in Aurora, CO, set up a bake and burrito sale with benefits going to Paddling for Parkinson’s and the National Parkinson’s Foundation. The sale was a success and raised $500!!! A big thank you goes out to Mr. Deig and all those involved with the bake sale; the help is very much appreciated. I will speak with Joe briefly tomorrow and look forward to updating the community at that time.

Paddle on,


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