Mark River’s Thoughts – The American Bottoms

Another long day of paddling in rainy asymmetrical unpredictable weather patterns  throughout the day. They come and go so quick like western storms. Since St.Louis we have paddlep along a  floodplain call the American Bottoms. It stretches all the way from Cahokia, Ill.  to Chester, Ill. , with the Interior Highlands across the channel of the Mississippi River. These ancient cliffs where once part of the Appalachian Mts. 200 million years...

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“Do it for the dolphins!”: Relieving Our Rivers One Bag at a Time

Every time I’ve thrown my laptop in my backpack and set off for the Mississippi sunset to put a couple words down, I instead end up with the same blank screen and a green, Missouri Stream Teams bag full of mostly Styrofoam, jugs, broken glass, and the occasional propane tank.  At times, this pattern of distractions has been a curse, especially when I lose track of time, forcing me to rush to the office before the doors lock at 7 P.M.  While...

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America’s Solar Eclipse 2017

Some events only come around once in a lifetime and there is an exciting one occurring just around the corner! On Monday, August 21st, 2017, a total solar eclipse makes its way across the United States. A total eclipse of this type has not happened in the continental United States since 1979! A solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses in-between the earth and the sun and either partially or fully blocks our view of the sun. One would think...

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This is Wild Country

River School with Proctor Academy by Mark River Peoples (1 Mississippi Outreach Assistant, Mississippi USA)  Every year we embark on a journey with Proctor Academy of Andover, NH. somewhere along the Mississippi River. This year in particular, we decided to let the students pick the route of the voyage, which added a mysterious factor to the event. Democracy was put forward and the decision was announced. It would be the last 48 miles of the...

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“She Went Down in 12 Minutes and Not a Soul Was Lost”: Visiting The USS Cairo

Last November, as part of our canoe trip down the Mississippi River from Memphis to the Gulf of Mexico, I was in Vicksburg, Mississippi with Cody Presny and Haley Brasile of Amongst the Current and my paddling partner, Bito Beitzel.  My friend, Jerico LeFort, is a paddling enthusiast and a humble river angel (“river angels” help long-distance canoe and kayak paddlers complete their journeys), who happened to be near Vicksburg as...

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Farm Fresh, Just Around the Corner

Soon, the seasons will be changing again into my personal favorite – spring. Springtime brings nature to life again from the dormant, cold winter. The rains and melting of northern snows bring a bursting Mississippi River to all the cities and towns along the way. This also means it is time for local farmers to begin planting delicious fruits and vegetables. Many farmers will offer their goods at farmers markets and stands along the side of...

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Amongst AMONGST THE CURRENT: Grafton to Alton, IL, on the Mississippi

Bummer. Grassroots Grocery would not open for another hour, yet I had told the paddlers I would grab sandwiches and local fruit before meeting them.  I called to see if the new manager was at the store yet.  SHE WAS!  After a breezy stop by the cozy co-op, I proceeded towards Grafton to meet up with Amongst the Current, Cody Presny and Haley Brasile, and their solo-paddler companion, Bito.  Cody and Haley were canoeing the entire Mississippi...

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