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Mississippi River Canoe Route

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ME: Hi, Bob Kelly here, at 76 still fit—chased my 19 year old granddaughter Caitlin up Kilimanjaro two years ago. I write, but I focus most on my family, Liz, volunteering and kayaking. The former continue to chase or push me as they did on this venture.

Bob Kelly gets ready launch

Having worked, lived in or visited 137 countries, Canada remains the best—in all its precious pristine beauty and its humanity.

A significant part of that is the Mississippi River boating/camping system right in our back yard—I love it.

MY GEAR: A 16 year old 15.5 ft. Aquaterre “ride on top” with hatches capable of holding 100kgs. It is unsinkable as proven often on my 2001, solo 9,000 km kayak trip from Sandpoint, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia. (I was younger then).

MY MOTIVATION: Having kayaked from Innisville down Lake Mississippi and River to Ottawa in 2002, I often thought of paying this river its due by traversing its entire length. Following my solo trip and other adventures, however, I just never “got around to it”. In April, 2013 Liz and I visited Alex Broadbent of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) for detail to better enable me to consider the possibilities. Alex—MVCA’s resident map maker and most experienced Mississippi canoeist—was most responsive and sparked the idea of my logging information about the route to help the MVCA could bring additional up to date information regarding the canoe/kayak route, its portages, camping, promise, difficulties and inhabitants, -humans and of nature.

My first plan was to start as close to the headwaters as possible and do the trip in one stretch, camping along the way. “The best laid plans of mice and men” intervened, however, and for reasons of other volunteer commitments, “foreign” travels, visits from friends from abroad, and appeasement of concerns of my family, I decided to do the trip stretch by stretch. Alex launched me in at the western starting point, Lake Mackovy, the most practical spot at that time of year.

For the remainder I usually drove to my planned exit or pull out point, left my pet 66 Mustang there and have either my partner Liz, or granddaughter Caitlin, drop me at my starting point. Alex helped as well, particularly on the day of our great “portaging” adventure.

I did not do the different stretches in geographic order due to timing and transport but have added the actual dates paddled.

FYI: the Numbers (e.g., P1.) represent the portages as clearly detailed/numbered in the Mississippi River Canoe Route brochure.

Read all Paddling the Mississippi Posts:

May 20, 2013: Highway 511 Bridge to Innisville via Highway 7

May 24, 2013: Sheridan Rapids Bridge to Highway 511

May 27, 2013: West Dalhousie Lake to Sheridan Rapids

May 30, 2013: Mackavoy Lake to Mazinaw Dam

June 4, 2013: Mazinaw Dam to Kashwakamak Dam

June 12, 2013: Kashwakamak Dam to Ardoch and River Rd east of Mud Lake

June 20, 2013: Mud Lake/River Rd. to Miller Lake Rd, 509

June 25, 2013: Highway 509/Miller Lake Bridge to Dalhousie Lake