In a battle of mights, the mighty mississippi (along with the coast guard) won over me.
It is officially the worst draught in 50 years that is being experienced in the southern states. The Mississippi river, has decreased to less than half it's normal size in many areas. This of course means it is more dangerous than ever. Since it so narrow, the barges and ocean going ships take up all of the river, leaving little and dangerous water for me to kayak
When we ran the boat from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, I took notes of the places available for camping. My notebook was actually empty as I saw no suitable places to camp along the way. After planning many possible solutions, we decided to kayak the river, being picked up everyday and coming back to New Orleans. That plan was to be put into affect a few days ago, however, it is "highly inadviseable" to kayak the water given all the ships and barges around. That is what the coast guard said. Since it is all commercial trafic and stations along the banks, we were left scratching our heads.
We made the decision to exit the mighty mississippi, and reach the gulf via a different river. The Amite river runs parallel to the Mississippi from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and I decided to kayak that river into the gulf. I started in Baton Rouge three days ago, and I am currently on the mouth of lake Pontchartrain, leaving a mere 40 or 50 miles to the gulf. The only catch is that in New Orleans it storms everyday in the afternoon, which means I have to be done by 2pm everyday.
Kayaking the Amite is fun. I have seen more confederate flags than ever before. More LSU flags too, I dont like them. The bayou is filled with wildlife and a few alligators have approached me already. I probably don't look tasty so they dont bother me. I have kayaked by hundreds of floating houses, which really qualify as junk to me. Entire communities that live far from the cities and have a diffrent way of life. I saw however, a 50ft searay boat in a channel barely the width of it. I nearly witness a suicide, as a young girl wanted to kill herself because her boyfriend cheated on her. Life is more than that. The few people we have met have been very friendly and ask a million questions about our trip. I have seen more signs for getting a gun permit that anything else.
Yesterday, dad and I made a pretty poor decision. We took off from the middle of the swamp too late, and the storm clouds had already formed in the vicinity. Less than an hour in, we were in the middle of large rain storm. We looked at the weather on our phones and there was no relief in sight. We waited out in the swamp as thunder and lightning crashed around us. We made to lake Maurepas and decided to wait the storm before continuing. We waited and waited and made the decision to take off.
We were just far enough from shore to seek refuge, when the wind switched directions and brought the storm back onto us. It was scary. In the list of things that I am scared off, #1 on the list is lightning (there is no #2). Now we were in the middle of the storm with no way out. I said a silent prayer to god and he took care of us. It took us over three hours to cross and open lake and somehow we did not get struck by lightning. I have never been happier to get back to land. The wind blew the big waves onto us and our kayaked barely kept afloat. It was intense.
There are going to be severe storms all week so I am planning on making it to the gulf tuesday or wednesday. I am going to take a lot of pictures to celebrate this achievement. Might be the biggest smile you will ever see on me.