Mississippi and Missouri River Confluence | The Mississippi River
Confluence of the Mississippi & Missouri Rivers. The Ted Jones Missouri State Park is here, and it is part of the Riverlands Corp of engineers area. Once at the. Although some states border an ocean, and some have majestic A thousand miles downstream from this point, the mighty river meets the Gulf of For the same reason, historic cities like Hannibal, St. Louis, Ste. The Missouri and Mississippi rivers are quite different from our other aquatic habitats. Missouri River, longest tributary of the Mississippi River and second longest river in It is formed by the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers in the (Gallatin county), U.S., about 4, feet (1, metres) above sea level. the river again turns to the east and, after flowing through Kansas City, Missouri.
Left without their primary source of sustenance, many of the remaining indigenous people were forced onto resettlement areas and reservations, often at gunpoint. In late June, Jolliet and Marquette became the first documented European discoverers of the Missouri River, which according to their journals was in full flood. The commotion was such that the water was made muddy by it and could not clear itself. However, the party never explored the Missouri beyond its mouth, nor did they linger in the area.
It is unclear exactly how far Bourgmont traveled beyond there; he described the blond-haired Mandans in his journals, so it is likely he reached as far as their villages in present-day North Dakota. The expedition's discoveries eventually found their way to cartographer Guillaume Delislewho used the information to create a map of the lower Missouri. Louis because of his "outstanding service to France". I learned that Jim, whose right leg is amputated below the knee, had lost lbs over the last 18 months and that he works out regularly in a local swimming pool.
He uses molded plastic devices that are specially designed to create resistance underwater. Only a few blocks later I was hailed down by Timothy, a friendly gentleman and fellow kayaker who, again, recognized me from the newspaper. Further up 5th Avenue he tracked me down again, dropping off a photocopied map of the river section we had discussed. Minutes later I was befriended by Kelly, a goateed Great Falls native who earns money collecting scrap metal.
Having lived beside the Missouri his whole life, aside from stints driving transport trucks and working on fishing boats in Alaska, Kelly has always wanted to travel down the mighty river to its confluence with the Mississippi. Like Timothy, Kelly returned an hour later with several bags of rice, gifts from his elderly mother who had read about me in the newspaper.
Fifteen minutes later, he returned again with a bag of chili mix and more rice, gifts from his sister this time. Further down 5th I chatted with homeowner and retiree Don who was busy sprucing up the colourful garden that ringed his beautiful cedar sided home. Next it was a chat with potter Gary Doos and his grandsons, Trent and Tiny. Gary, a friend of Judy Erickson, who some of you may remember as the woman who ripped a hole in the crotch of her pants while offering to cook me dinner, had also read the article in the newspaper and nicely offered up his home as a place to stay next time I was in Great Falls.
A few blocks later I chatted with 5th Avenue resident Rob and his young son, Kade. Rob and some friends were excitedly gearing up for a week-long fishing trip on a nearby river and were eager to hear about my own journey.
I was also joined for a short while by a 7th grader named Austin who was riding around the neighbourhood on his BMX bike. Austin was looking forward to a new year of school and loved telling me about some of the summertime adventures he and his family had partaken in, most of them water-based. In the heat, an unfortunate issue with both kayak wheels was most unwelcome. Short pieces of metal wire that I had been using to keep the wheels on the axle had become jammed in the plastic plugs that allowed the tires to rotate on the axle.
A sweaty roadside repair was necessary. Within ten minutes I was up and running again. At 37th Street I worked my way up a steep grade and followed 6th Avenue for a stretch before edging over to 7th for the remainder of the walk to the northern outskirts of town at 57th Street.
I looked out over wheat and barley fields that stretched to the horizon. After towing the boat through residential neighbourhoods and meeting hordes of friendly folk, this new territory looked desolate and daunting. There was no shade, no people and no end to it.
Save for a scurry of activity at Malmstrom Air Force Base to the west, and the endless rush of traffic along the highway, the bleak and foreboding landscape offered a sterile calm that left me feeling very tiny and a little ill.
A motorcyclist held up traffic at the highway intersection, which allowed me to cross without issue, and an army officer named Matt pulled over to offer me a lift. I politely refused, saying that I was doing the portage under my own power. Trucks sped by, stacked high with hay bales. I sweated profusely as I worked up yet another moderate grade and turned to see the city of Great Falls fading away in the river valley below. She had been leading a group of teens on a day-long canoe trip, part of a week-long summer camp for youth.
Laura and her friend Joe wished me well on my journey and continued on theirs. As the temperature neared the mids, blackflies hounded me mercilessly, biting through my socks and T-shirt every few seconds and preying on any exposed skin. I was delirious from the heat, stopping every hundred feet to rest. My feet were blistered and swollen, painful with every footfall. Four anonymous motorists stopped to offer me a ride but none were as comely as sweet Jordy, a transplanted Californian who now wrangles horses at a ranch in the nearby town of Belt.
I left the highway at its junction with Highwood Road and decided to make camp in a carpool parking area. My Cascade friends, Wes and Kathy, showed up at around 7pm, bringing with them two gallons of water, one cold and one frozen.
I sat in the air-conditioned comfort of their vehicle and related the events of the day. Wes informed me that I had walked eight miles, five shy of my goal of thirteen, half the distance to Widow Coulee fishing access.
It was now obvious that completing the portage would take more than two days. My feet were not happy with the news.
The Missouri Meets the Mississippi | Discovering Lewis & Clark ®
As rural residents began their morning commute into Great Falls, I began Day 2 of this mile manual portage by towing my kayak in the opposite direction, away from town, deeper into a yellowed desert of wheat fields shorn of their bounty. It was harvest season, which meant that trucks hauling grain and convoys of combines were the norm on the narrow, shoulder-less roads. Green mile-marker signs made progress somewhat tolerable and helped me gauge the distance remaining to Widow Coulee, my final destination, the spot where I would be reunited with the Missouri River.
A former facilitator for Outward Bound, an organization that helps get city folk into the great outdoors. Ron gave me a quick minute lesson in safety and survival techniques.
His delivery was engaging and professional; his advice enlightening and useful. Ron suggested that I look up his friend Terri Baker who owns a thrift shop in Fort Benton, a river town that I would pass through following the portage. As it turned out, Ron alerted the Fort Benton newspaper and I was able to meet with his reporter friend Walleyne Flanagan for an interview while in Fort Benton. When told of my kayak wheel dilemma, which had acted up again, the ever-resourceful Ron went to his mini-van and promptly emerged with two large cotter pins that were a perfect match for the axle.
The steep road out of Box Elder Creek seemed never-ending in the morning heat. Every hundred feet I would switch hands until the discomfort became too great. Then I would take a much-deserved break, drink water, curse and resume the torture. The smiles in the accompanying photos seem to mask my pain. At the junction with Salem Road, I left the pavement behind and rolled the kayak over rocks and dirt for the first time during the expedition. A stiff wind blew across the fields of barley and wheat, shorn clean by crews of combines that raced up and down the rows on each side of the road.
Grain trucks and their subsequent squalls of choking dust sped by me in both directions, dumping their payloads in silver granaries that dotted the horizon. I managed a total of 10 miles before making camp on a roadside strip of dead, spiky grass. He was on his way to Widow Coulee fishing access, having never been there before.
I admired his desire to seek out new places. Perhaps one day he will embark on his own Missouri River journey and tell his story to me over bowls of chili and rice. But for now, I listened intently as he related the plotline of a new Jennifer Aniston movie that he had seen recently. For the second consecutive night, Wes and Kathy sought me out and brought gallons of cold and frozen water as well as warm water, Epsom salts and a plastic tub in which to soak my feet.
They also gave me some blister medication which helped to heal toes that had been crammed into cheap running shoes and pounded over jagged rocks that littered the rural roads. Roadside visits do not come much more thoughtful than those of these three new friends.
They had all gone out of their way to help someone who only days before had been a stranger. From them we can certainly learn anew lessons of acceptance and selflessness. I am eternally grateful to be surrounded by folks as awesome as Wes, Kathy and Kelly. My strategy on Day 2 had been to camp within two miles of Belt Creek, the most formidable obstacle of the portage. Climbing out of the creek would require a tremendous push, or pull in my case, up a steep gravel and dirt road that measured 1.
Just before I began the descent into the creek draw, I revisited an oddly placed site dedicated to the Lewis and Clark expedition of These early American explorers had arrived at this same site after months of travelling up the Missouri with a dedicated crew of military men and intrepid souls.
I had roads and bridges to walk on and people to bring me ice water and foot baths at the end of long days! The descent by road into Belt Creek was nothing more than a simple display of gravity. The kayak travelled downhill mainly by its own accord, needing no coaxing or convincing. The steep walls of the creek draw were laced with layers of grey and rust coloured rock, their rounded tops dotted with fragrant sagebrush.
The creek itself, like many in this badlands area, was a shallow, meandering ribbon of clear water, its contents curiously having more volume upstream than down. The closer Belt Creek got to its confluence to the Missouri, the less water ran between its banks.
Thirsty land and rapid evaporation are factors that create peculiarity in landscape such as this. Once arriving at the bridge, I removed most of the gear from the kayak and hefted it in stages up the steep road. At a roadside spot I chose based on the fact that I was breathless, I piled the gear and returned to the boat for another shuttle.
Thankfully, the lightened kayak climbed the hill easier than expected and I carried on over a stretch of easier grade, then positioned the boat in the roadside weeds and returned several hundred yards to the gear pile. Sweating and shouldering a multitude of waterproof bags, and grinning at the irony of carrying such gear in an area more arid than any through which I had travelled during this expedition, I continued on up the incline to its apex beside the aptly named Forder Farms.
A lone brown stallion behind a wire fence stamped the dirt angrily and snorted at my presence, then whinnied and galloped out of sight, leaving me with a cloud of biting blackflies and a long walk back to the gear pile. After sorely heaving a duffle bag full of gear to the kayak, which was now positioned halfway between the two gear piles, I decided to place the bag in the boat and pull the works up the hill to the farm. This idea lasted about three hundred feet until I nearly exhausted myself from the effort.
I shouldered the bag and slowly waddled up the hill, well aware that my energy level was now waning. With all the gear now at the top of the hill, minded only by an angry horse and hungry flies, I returned to the kayak only to discover that I had forgotten to switch on my SPOT satellite tracker while at the bridge below.
I realized that if I turned it on now, there would be a gap in the tracking route. So I walked 20 minutes down to the bridge, switched on the device, said hi to a curious mule deer loitering in the sage, walked back to the kayak and pulled its reluctant bulk up to the gear pile.
Owing to the fact that the portage had to be done in stages, I estimated that I had walked at least three times that distance. It was now 4pm and any progress that was to be made would be done with sore shoulders and ravaged feet. Even ascending the slightest inclines in the road felt like climbing mountain passes. Even more daunting was the fact that the road had taken a turn to the east to bypass a large wheat field. I felt as though I was being led further from the Missouri.
Widow Coulee, in fact, lay attainably near. This fact buoyed my spirits and I carried on for another hour until the pain in my feet drove me off the road.
Before their hour-long drive back to Cascade, they drove down to Widow Coulee so Kathy could see the Missouri in its badlands setting. It bears noting that this campsite was atop a gentle rise upon which I could see for miles in any direction. This site marked the highest point of the portage. In the predawn darkness I could see the glow of Great Falls and the lights of the air force base that lay more than 10 miles away.
There had also been an alarming stillness at night. There were no sounds, not even the stirring of insects or the rumbling of passing aircraft. Here, nature had been muted by pesticides and agriculture. Here, nothing flourished except our incessant need to feed a planet overpopulated with hairless monkeys possessing little foresight and an abundance of ignorance.
Perhaps when our greed finally exceeds the stockpiles of grain, the sound of hunger will be heard in the night, coming across the plains in the wails and cries of children, descendants of gluttons, burdened by generations of ignorance and irresponsibility. Day 4 began as a chilly affair. Those layers were quickly shed as the day warmed.
A desire warmer than the sun burned inside me to end this portage. Excepting a few minor inclines that drew out groans and gritted teeth, the road to the river was mostly downhill, descending into a wide valley carved over eons by the river. From hundreds of feet up I could see the Missouri snaking its way north and I longed to be atop its surface in my little red kayak. Before the final descent to the river, I encountered a cattle guard embedded in the road. For those unfamiliar, the premise of the guard is to prevent cattle from crossing into adjoining property while allowing vehicles to proceed unhindered.
Cattle guards were not designed, however, with kayak wheels in mind. The distance between the rails is too great and, as I learned after attempting to cross the guard on foot, will flatly stop anyone attempting to pull a boat on wheels over it. In my case, the sudden stop forced the kayak cart to collapse.
I had to lift the boat off the cart, drag it off the guard and mount it back on the cart. But our journey was not complete until we made another cattle guard crossing.
This time I stole from a large pile of cut weeds and placed the rotting vegetation between the rails in order to facilitate passage. My plan was hugely unsuccessful as the cart promptly collapsed again and the same procedure as before had to be followed; all this within sight of the boat ramp. I had successfully worked my way around five hydroelectric dams and I had done so completely under my own power. I grinned and turned the camera on the towering walls of the surrounding badlands.
I was home again. And I was happy. Hospitality here at the resort comes dished in generous helpings. The curious and conversational resort staff have taken a sincere liking to the news of my river journey and have bent over backwards to offer some special North Dakotan treatment for this Canadian kayaker. The added bonus of camping beneath shade trees for the first time in several weeks has indeed been a treat. All was not so charming Friday afternoon Aug 31 as I fought my way through a huge, half-submerged dead willow thicket that, given low water levels, completely consumed the width of the lake, a full two miles at this point.
It took me an hour to push, pull and curse my way through the morass, completely confined to my kayak and having to, at one stage, urinate in the cockpit of the boat. And before you cringe with thoughts of me soaking in my own pee while paddling, please know that minutes later the wind increased fourfold and proceeded to churn the lake into whitecaps. As foot-high waves crept over the bow and spilled into my lap, the cockpit cesspool became well-diluted and fully cleansed.
After a half-hour of struggling through wind and waves, I finally arrived at the western shoreline where I discovered yet another stretch of dead willows preventing me from reaching solid ground.
Standing calf-deep in mud and stagnant water, I unloaded the boat and hauled my camping gear to the base of an eroded bluff where I was well sheltered from the howling wind.
Thus was my introduction to Lake Sakakawea, a body of water upon which, according to my paddling guidebook, many dreams of kayaking and canoeing the length of the Missouri have ended. Yes, it is one tough lake. But this seasoned adventurer has been through tribulations a-plenty over the years. With utmost respect to the lake, it will take much more than dead willows and wind to stop my journey. A rare calm moment on Lake Sakakawea, September 5.
It seems like every time I take one of these POV photos I find some unseen thing lurking on the back of my head.
You may remember that back in Townsend, Montana I had a piece of green river vegetation rooted in my hair. This time the unidentified stowaway is white.
I have no idea what it was or how long it had been there. It is warm, sunny and strangely wind-free here at Lake Sakakawea State Park.
And those evenings have been mighty cool with temperatures in the mids. In fact, two evenings ago, there was a frost warning issued for counties east of Lake Sakakawea. Hold on a minute. What happened to daytime highs in the mids?
North America is inching into autumn as I inch along a river. For the past few days, winds from the northwest have been blowing across the lake, producing swells and breaking waves over three feet high. Many times while paddling I could not see over these breakers. Paddling in these conditions was downright scary. Mix in the fact that there were dozens of open water crossings, including bays that were two miles wide, and you have situations that were just plain unsafe.
I can honestly say that these were the most challenging conditions that I have ever paddled in. I was well beyond my comfort level and skill level. I am relieved to be here and have little interest in paddling this lake again. Before I embark on my Lake Oahe odyssey, I have 76 miles of free-flowing river channel to enjoy. Water released from Garrison Dam is pumped from the bottom of Lake Sakakawea, so the water in the tailrace, the water exiting the dam, is a cool 52 degrees.
Apparently this is done to help prevent algae from forming in the river and to aid the fish stock, which prefer cooler temperatures. I will be stopping in the town of Washburn river mile to resupply food for the lake journey ahead. At river mile I will pass into South Dakota, the third state on this trip.
Forty-one percent of the continental United States 1. Seventy percent of nutrient loads that cause hypoxia are a result of agricultural runoff caused by rain washing fertilizer off of the land and into streams and rivers.
Additionally, 12 million people live in urban areas that border the Mississippi, and these areas constantly discharge treated sewage into rivers. The farm and urban discharge includes nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous that is very important for the growth of phytoplankton. This huge influx of nutrients causes massive phytoplankton blooms to occur, this in turn leads to a large increase in zooplankton that feed on phytoplankton.
Large amounts of dead phytoplankton and zooplankton waste then accumulate on the bottom of the seabed. The decomposition of this matter depletes the oxygen in the area faster than it can be replaced.