|when you hear the words "drifting down the mississippi", all sorts of things will likely come to mind: huckleberry finn, mark twain, steamboats, hot summers and short pants, calm waters and wooden rafts, tranquility, idleness and some kind of carefree vagabond lifestyle. before you even consider the reality of a trip like that, the romance inherent in a sentence like that is palpable all on it's own. so when somebody asks you if you want to drift down the mississippi, you'd be a fool to say no. i also happen to be a sucker for hairbrained ideas so when patrick asked me if i was interested, i was sold before he finished speaking.
more than just a romantic pitch, i will admit to seeking an element of torture when considering a trip like this. i'm steadfast in the belief that the worst, most challenging moments are the ones you end up cherishing - the moments of aggravation, exhaustion and strife are when you learn something about yourself and earn a memory worth having. maybe it says something about me but i don't really remember all the sunny days i've spent being comfortable.
heath, patrick, june and i made it 1,057 miles from hannibal, missouri to morgan city, louisiana in 34 days on the mississippi and atchafalaya rivers. after 34 days of being cold, dealing with rain, hauling thirty pounds of gas for miles across depressed southern river towns, being abandoned by your friends for days, waiting out the windstorms alone and especially after spending last night sleeping in a puddle of mississippi mud, we couldnt be bothered to take a celebratory group shot. so this is it - finish with a wet whimper in morgan city, louisiana, as close to the gulf of mexico as we could get without needing to be towed back.
whatever romance was abound on the mississippi river when mark twain wrote tom sawyer is long gone - the river is a busy, dirty, miserable industrial shipping channel now. perhaps nothing is as care-free or romantic as it was a hundred years ago but i like to think there's still some romance left in suffering through and overcoming a challenge with your friends.