Florida Keys via Mississippi River
UPDATE: The Florida Keys via Mississippi River trip was supposed to take place in 2004. Unforseen plans have forced this to be rescheduled to 2006. While the actual trip path remains the same, a few of the details have changed. We will now attempt to purchase a kayak kit and build it as opposed to buying a preformed fiberglass or plastic kayak. Cool!
In 2006, Groovy Adventures will be kayaking the entire length of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, skirting the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida down to Key West. I'm not sure yet the actual distance of this trip, and weather will play the biggest factor in the total time it will take. Others have done just the river in a couple months time. I'm planning for roughly 60 days kayaking the river, and another 30-40 days sea kayaking to Key West.
Arrangements are already set for put in & take out. We will drive to Lake Itasca, Minnesota where the trip will begin. From here, I'll be on my own for the entire 2,350 mile trip down the Mississippi, spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico. From here, I'll keep fairly close to shore using GPS & nautical charts, following the Florida coast all the way to Key West. I'll be stopping for several days in the Clearwater area to visit friends and family, and then finish up the journey down to the Key West, circling around the southern most point of the United States, and back up the Atlantic Coast of the Keys to Miami. I'll be picked up in Miami, roughly 3-4 months after beginning the journey.
I'll be shooting photos of the entire trip, which will be online as soon as I get a chance to have everything developed, scanned, and uploaded. I'll be updating the journal section as the trip goes on however :)
Why even bother?
Why not! The Mississippi is one of the world's largest watersheds! The upper section is a beautiful & natural river, while the lower section tends to be more heavily trafficked, and more industrial. The diverse range of scenery alone is reason enough to take this trip!
People have done that trip before, what's the big deal?
Well, I've never done it, I've never experienced it, and it's been a long time dream of mine. Part of the reason I decided to extend the trip to the Florida Keys was to set it apart from previous expeditions.
My ultimate goal is to kayak the 5 oldest & 5 longest rivers in the world. (and many in between of course :)) The Mississippi & French Broad Rivers will both be done this year, with next years goal being the Amazon in South America.
How much is it gonna cost?
Long distance trips don't have to be expensive. Gear costs of course are graciously helped by our sponsors. Food & misc. costs during the trip will probably not total more than $1000, and I believe that to be aiming high. I prepare & cook my own meals, drink water, and don't stay in hotels or eat in restaurants. However, that's not to say there will be no good meals along the way :)
- The Mississippi River is the 4th largest river system in the world.
- River begins at Lake Itasca in Minnesota, traveling about 2,350 miles
before reaching the Gulf of Mexico.
- At the headwaters of the Mississippi, the average surface speed of the
water is near 1.2 miles per hour - roughly one-third as fast as people walk.
At New Orleans, on 2/24/2003, the speed of the river was 3 miles per hour.
- The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area maintains its length
at 2,350 miles.
- At Lake Itasca, the river is between 20-30 feet wide, the narrowest stretch
for its entire length. The Mississippi is more than four miles wide at Lake
Onalaska. Near LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Mississippi water held behind Lock and
Dam #7 and water held back by damming the Black River combine to form this
broad reach of the Mississippi River.
- At its headwaters, the Mississippi is less than 3 feet deep. The river's
deepest section is between Governor Nicholls Wharf and Algiers Point in New
Orleans where it is 200 feet deep.
- The elevation of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca is 1,475 feet above sea level. It drops to 0 feet above sea level at the Gulf of Mexico. More than half of that drop in elevation occurs within the state of Minnesota.
* Facts taken from the National Park Service web site.