Post from Catfish Point


I'm dictating these posts via cell phone from my camp here on Catfish Point just off the Mississippi bank at Mile Marker 569. Unfortunately these posts will be text only and I will update these with photos when I am able to get to a computer.

Day 12:

We started out making good paddle time but late in the afternoon, our progress slowed to a crawl when a stiff headwind reared up and formed steep waves against the current. By late in the afternoon, our progress was reduced to around three miles per hour. Just as we were ready to get off the river, we saw a castle to our left.

The green turrets and castle walls were part of the facade of the Fitz Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. We paddled into a large dock and tied up the kayaks between two air boats that gave tours to casino visitors. We weren't expecting to find a castle let alone a casino, but when we found out they had cold drinks, hamburgers and french fries, we were glad we stumbled upon the place. After filling our bellies we paddled back across the river to a sandbar and made camp among flocks of shore birds that were nesting on the island's sandy interior.

Day 13:

Around one o'clock in the afternoon, we pulled off on a beach shaded with massive cottonwood trees to escape the heat of the day and conduct our midday water tests. Just as we were completing the last of our tests and contemplating returning to the kayaks, Sarah noticed a pontoon boat approaching the beach. As they got closer, we couldn't help but notice a large gas barbecue grill mounted on the front deck. Almost as soon as the pontoons had beached in the sand, Bubba, Bonnie, Chris and Tina had invited us aboard and fired up the grill for hamburgers and hot dogs. They also were very generous in sharing cold drinks from their two well-stocked coolers.

Bubba typifies the type of people we meet along the river - talkative, friendly, outgoing and willing to lend a helping hand if the need is there. As we parted ways, Bubba sent us off with a roll of fishing line and his best advice on how to catch a catfish. We paddled on toward Helena, Arkansas.

Day 15:

This morning I woke with the sunrise and walked on the beach to check the fishing line that we had set out the night before. For the first time this trip, there was a catfish on the hook. Fried with some salt and pepper, it was an excellent addition to our cold breakfast.

After two hours of paddling, we reached a significant milestone on our trip, the halfway point.

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