top of page
  • Writer's pictureRoberta Rathert

Lost and Found. Day 7.


Waters are high, very flooded in some areas. In certain wild locations, the Mississippi River channel is obliterated by flood waters. Forest and pasture lands have become one with the river, turning it into a giant's lake.


Boomerang-shaped ponds constructed on ground along the river, from up north to Louisiana, are called logans or oxbows meant to catch overflow and hold it.


Water is so high now, one thing is no longer differentiated from another. Islands, logans, riverbank, forest - they all look the same. One big sea. Water is moving every which way, crisscrossing currents, flood current weaving with calmer river current. No more oxbows.


Only constant GPS monitoring allowed me to stay within the river channel, keeping my boat moving above submerged banks. Nearly obsessive checking GPS, hovering over the blue ribbon of the river on the screen, paddling, repeat. It was slow and precarious, not too successful. Suddenly, my phone screen went black. My watch screen indicated it was still working, but I could not see it. Whatever the cause, I had no more navigation assist. A friend later suggested an overheated screen. Or maybe God was saying, "Look to me."


All moving water masqueraded as the true river. No dry land in sight for hours. As time passed, I found myself coming around bends I'd been around before. Fallen trees were becoming familiar landmarks although I thought I'd been paddling south for miles.


I feared the worst - I'd have to sleep in my boat, or just keep paddling in the dark, as if that would make this better.


I was so worn but the speed of the water didn't stop just for me. As I headed toward a tree in the middle of a channel, I put my arm out and hugged it. My boat stopped as if I slammed the brakes of a car. There we sat, raging waters around us.


I had prayed for some help long ago. Now, hanging onto a tree, I got rude again, "God, come on, I'm crying OUT!" I felt an idea come over me. Look down. Grasses!


I did look down. There was a large patch of river grass, an elementary lesson for any paddler, "Let the grass point the way." It was pointing behind me. I let go of the tree, paddling in turn-around style to follow the grass. These grasses became my GPS.


No matter wind direction, flood direction, surface speed. Underneath, the natural current of the Mississippi River was flowing like it always does. The grasses continued to point in unison with the flow, turning to true point at every bend. Grasses in flood water only mimics the river, but reveals itself by fluttering every which way. Real Mississippi current grasses point true. I followed the grass for five miles ending up at Swimming Bear camp just before dark, a place 10 feet above the river, big enough for just one. I welcomed the bear, the mosquitos and ticks, any creature could come, but nothing would disturb me now. This dry land was the blessing that follows my every test.


If you dare, look below at the GPS impressions of my hard day.



433 views16 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Almost.

16 Comments


Guest
Jun 08, 2022

Bobbi,

Your travels amaze me and you're writing wow. You are amazing I feel like I'm reading a mystery story. Like someone else said and your posts between worry and wonder I wait for an update. Dawn

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

It's great to hear your comments, Dawn. Thank you, my friend.

Like

Guest
Jun 07, 2022

I was trying to see exactly where this post was from, Bobbi, but somehow missed the location. All the best as you get thru those logs and downstream-refuge with so much floating by!! Hope you find a great beach to rest well and keep your pace and composure! As an aside, I had canoed the River in the '70's and what scared me was wakes from the barges (in St. Paul!) and waves on Lake Pepin....so hope to see you get beyond all that and onward to LA!

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

wow, yes, you said it! Lake Pepin's waves, they never quit! Thanks for your input and story of the 70's. Appreciated it.

Bobbi

Like

Guest
Jun 07, 2022

A very challenging day!

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

Yes!

Like

fitzpatrickris
Jun 06, 2022

Ohh! Bobbi, I am also in awe! You are amazing and I am on the edge reading! God is with you!

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

Thanks, Kris!

Like

Guest
Jun 05, 2022

Oh my gosh, Bobbi!

Like
Roberta Rathert
Roberta Rathert
Jul 30, 2022
Replying to

Thank you, Ann, my thoughts exactly! OMG! 😗

Like
  • Facebook
bottom of page