July 28, 2010

Life on the Mississippi.

At Wyalusing State Park today, we rented a canoe...

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... and paddled 5 miles of Mississippi River. Part of it was out on the open river like that, and part of it was in these slow back channels called sloughs:

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I could do photos because I brought my iPhone. I didn't want to risk one of my good digital cameras, but I decided to risk the iPhone on the theory that if we fell in and the phone died, I could buy one of the new iPhones, which is something I'd like to do anyway.

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We fantasized about living on a houseboat (complete with sliding board):

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And look — look closely....

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A bald eagle!

43 comments:

former law student said...

Supposedly the amount of time my neighbor and his brother spent maintaining and upgrading their houseboat far exceeded the time spent relaxing on it. One of the best days of his life -- to hear him tell it -- was when they sold the houseboat.

I advise you two simply to rent one whenever you feel the urge.

LonewackoDotCom said...

I haven't swum for many years, and the idea of open water - or even something much less than that - kinda scares me. Plus, isn't water kinda flat? I mean, one square yard of the water's surface is pretty much the same as any other square yard. Open water is, in other worse, fungible. Rocks are not.

P.S. Earlier today I was banned by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Someone who Althouse mentioned before and I think he responded or something. If Althouse wants to do something effective, she can make a link just link the penultimate one on her sidebar, linking his name to that post. Yes, I know she doesn't want to give me a link, but maybe her desire to do effective things will help overcome that.

chuck b. said...

I'm calling the second picture as one of the most appealing pictures you've ever shared with us.

chuck b. said...

I don't understand why you were so obsessed with the fish-eye, but have no time to explore the many interestin iPhone photo apps that I have suggested to you countless times.

Hmph!

chuck b. said...

I'm leaving in a snit. I'm not coming back for several weeks.

Bob Ellison said...

That's no bald eagle. He or she is wearing a rug.

The Crack Emcee said...

"I could do photos because I brought my iPhone. I didn't want to risk one of my good digital cameras, but I decided to risk the iPhone on the theory that if we fell in and the phone died, I could buy one of the new iPhones, which is something I'd like to do anyway."

Thanks for reminding me I've got $50 to my name for the next two weeks.

Man, you and Reynolds - who's also big on cavalierly talking about all the shit he can buy - are gonna hate me when I crawl out of this situation, because, while I won't mention y'all by name, I am going to talk about this period - in such detail y'all are gonna think Bruce Springsteen's tales of the common man were all cribbed from episodes of Mayberry RFD. When I had money I wasn't talking that way, and I resent others doing it even more now. Fucking lawyers.

I remember my divorce lawyer, always on my nuts for money, money, money - when he knew my ex and the quack had run off to your beloved France with it. He didn't believe a word I had said (just like everyone else) until the other two dead bodies showed up, and then he was like "pay me when you can" because he finally "got" that what I had been telling him all along was the truth - and then he felt like the jackass he was. Money don't hide that shit.

Anyway, I hope you get your new iPhone. I'm looking forward to the release of the new $35 iPad out of India. Now that's some revolutionary shit:

Drop it in the water and nobody'll ever see you as elitist.

Quayle said...

Chuck b, don't leave in a huff.

Leave in a minute and a huff.

ht Groucho

Penny said...

"Life on the Mississippi"

Althouse is "Trolling on the River!"

Mark Twain and Tina Turner are amused.

sunsong said...

I like all the pictures. They are beautiful. I especially like the first one. The water. There's something about it that lets me almost imagine being there.

In summer, the song sings itself. ----William Carlos Williams

Lem said...

A Clinton appointed judge on Wednesday blocked key parts of Arizona's new immigration law hours before it was to take effect.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Bob's right! That's the endangered Bad Toupee Eagle, Haliaeetus blagojevichus.

Beth said...

These are taken with your iPhone? They're beautiful. I want to explore that Mississippi someday; there aren't anymore serious paddle boat trips up the river anymore, so that's a dream to put aside. Maybe there'll be a Wisconsin road trip in the next few years.

The Mississippi I know is beautiful, but furious. You don't want to paddle a little boat into it. It's a working river filled with barges and tankers, tugs and towboats, ferries and paddleboats, and a fierce current churns up anything that falls in. In June, three men and their dog went out in a pirogue and fell out in the rough waters. They had on life jackets, but those did them no good; they were swept under a set of barges lined up five or six deep against the river bank and drowned. This happens all the time.

But I live just five blocks from the river and down the street the park overlooks it, so it's part of almost everyday for me. We walk our dogs on the levee. I've watched a big school of catfish jumping down the center at sunset; the motion looked like silver drops of mercury bouncing off a gun-metal gray table until my eyes understood what I was seeing. Right alongside the park is a dry dock where tugs are repaired and you can see what usually rides beneath the water. The sounds of trains stopping and pulling out along from docks along the port, and of cargo containers being lifted and lowered by huge cranes often send me to sleep. I like the combination of nature and industry on my end of the Mississippi.

Ann Althouse said...

@Crack Isn't the noticeable thing that I haven't bought a new iPhone and that we're spending vacation time in state parks and local lakes and bike trails?

Ann Althouse said...

@Beth Great descriptions! We thought about our connection to New Orleans. As for river traffic, we were alone on the water most of the way. In the last leg of the trip, we saw that house boat, 2 little fishing boats, and one motor boat (which produced the only wake we experienced, a small wake, because they saw us and slowed down). I hadn't been in a canoe in 20 years, and I could have gotten scared about so much open water, but I trust Meade to handle things and to make up for my limitations. I have the habit of thinking of myself as physically weak, but I surprise myself. I paddled the whole 3 hours.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't understand why you were so obsessed with the fish-eye, but have no time to explore the many interestin iPhone photo apps that I have suggested to you countless times."

The fisheye is a lens that you put on the camera before you start, not an app to figure out. I don't fiddle with with the settings on my good cameras much and I only use the iPhone for photography in a pinch, like today, out on the water. I could barely see what I was doing and was afraid to take any time to do anything more the the minimum to get these shots.

Almost Ali said...

Lovely photos. I don't think I've been to Wisconsin, but I've crossed the big river in a dozen places.

Never heard of it being fungible, though. The word fungible has been popping up a lot lately - over the weekend I heard used on TV to describe money. And now here to describe water.

I wonder if Crack Emcee would use fungible to describe lawyers? Or wives/girlfriends? And if the financial guru I saw on TV was right, fungible funds while appearing limited, would stretch into eternity.

mesquito said...

I bought a kayak this summer. Have been exploring the Medina, Sabinal ahd Frio Rivers in the Texas Hill Country.

You can rent vy nice houseboats on Lake Amistad, which is on the Rio Grande west of Del Rio. Very nice, especially now that the lake is bursting-full.

Beth said...

Thanks, Althouse. I'm up laaaate finishing freshman comp final grades and I needed to remind myself that I like words.

We thought about our connection to New Orleans.

Yep, you're right up there at the other end. It takes on a lot of steam as it rolls down my way, but it's the same river and it's a great American treasure.

I have the habit of thinking of myself as physically weak, but I surprise myself. I paddled the whole 3 hours.

That's a wonderful thing to find out about yourself.

HDHouse said...

Houseboats are a lot of fun. I spent 1 night on one on a lake near Tulsa, OK and two of us had to stay up all night with flashlights keeping water moccasins from slithering onto the boat. That cured me.

edutcher said...

Agree with chuck on photo 2, but, if you want a sliding board on a houseboat, I'm guessing Natchez is about the farthest north you'd want to live.

PS I laughed at the line, "I decided to risk the iPhone on the theory that if we fell in and the phone died, I could buy one of the new iPhones, which is something I'd like to do anyway.".

Jobs must be laughing every time he looks at his bank balance.

Pogo said...

The photos remind me of growing up in a small town in MN that hugged the Mississippi; a city boy plunked down amongst river rats who seemed to know everything about the water. The second picture could have been taken there.



Beth said...
"I like the combination of nature and industry on my end of the Mississippi."
Loved your descriptions.
Rivers teach you respect for the power of both nature and machine. That placid surface hides some serious muscles; watch out when the sleeves get rolled up - a serious thumpin' is afoot.

People are drawn to the river's edge as if by design. Here's a carving by an in-law of the town's namesake, a young indian girl.

sydney said...

I was wondering if anyone else was ever jealous of the lifestyle of law professors the blogosphere has revealed. Looks like just me and Crack Emcee. I can't remember the last time I even had the opportunity to go on a hike with my family. I've been too busy trying to figure out how to survive.

Pogo said...

Sydney is a family doc. Survival is indeed the name of that game.

Medicine is gonna really suck for the next 5-10 years. I hope I make it; I don't really know how to do anything else except bitch, and most folks do that for free.

mrs whatsit said...

You said "sliding board"! I grew up in Maryland saying that, but after we moved farther north I was laughed at and told that it's a slide -- which sounds to me like a verb, not a noun. Nice to know I'm not the only one. Plus, what inviting pictures -- I want to slide down the sliding board on that houseboat!

Kevin Walsh said...

Wyalusing?

Because we don't have Pujols, Jeter or Halliday.

www.forgotten-ny.com

JAL said...

At Hilton Head two years ago I looked up as a bird went over ... and it was a bald eagle up close (relatively) and in 3D.

Very cool.

Growing up in the times when all things natural were (apparently -- who knows?) at risk I now live where turkeys, geese, bear, deer, coyotes and bobcats roam.

And I am not out west.

Patrick said...

I will always associate Wyalusing State Park with hope and optimism. Camping there with my family last year, whilst unemployed (nearly 6 months), but on the bubble for a job. Received a call for a second interview, so I was really hopeful. Didn't get either, but I did set out on my own, and things are better than I could have planned. Those two leads, however, really helped me relax, and enjoy a beautiful corner of WI. this year, the trip is to Itasca State Park, where the Mighty Miss begins its journey to where it meets up with the Wisconsin, and beyond.

k*thy said...

I love that park and it's been way too long since I've been there.

I've never seen it south of Dubuque, but even there it's so, so powerful. There's a great little sculpture up at the Walker in Minneapolis - it's just this string of silver-something up on the wall. In seeing it the first time, I thought, "boy, that looks familiar." Turned out it's a depiction of the Mississippi. Cool. I love mapped art.

As for the iphone photos, I don't have one and don't anticipate getting one, but am looking forward to the rumored release of the cameraed-itouch. I sooo need a new portable camera.

REPaske said...

I am so glad to see the photos. Thank you for the kind words. Wyalusing Willie. http://friendsofwyalusingstatepark.blogspot.com/

Fred4Pres said...

I saw a bald eagle the other day grab a fish off the water about 30 feet from me. But I did not have my camera.

roesch-voltaire said...

Your photos remind me of the time my kids and I rented a houseboat from a place in McGregor, Minn and then then journeyed down the river through the first set of locks. At night we read from"Huckleberry Finn," while bats swarmed around the cabin. But unlike Huck, after two days we were ready to return home.

ironrailsironweights said...

Wyalusing State Park has a monument to the passenger pigeon, once America's most abundant bird, but then vanished in one of the largest and most puzzling extinctions.

Peter

rhhardin said...

The eagle has judged you to be inedible.

c3 said...

We thought about our connection to New Orleans. As for river traffic, we were alone on the water most of the way.

This conversation reminds me of this song

madawaskan said...

Wow-so cool!

I really love rivers.

When I heard you were starting up kayaking I was hoping you'd get to a river-I find them easier to do.

*****

former law student-

Heh, saw your comment about Bikram yoga-if I had any skills I might have the guts to go do that-to say "I do yoga" is more than a stretch-basically I'm just trying not to fall over. Wouldn't want to take down half the class...

HT said...

Nice.

Three free ideas for Althouse:

1) Have Meade and Michael Kinsey do a bloggingheads on the tea party thing. I don't know if technically that would be possible since Meade is not to my knowledge a blogger. Michael Kinsey wrote about the tp in the Atlantic;
2) AA and Yglesias should do a bH about global warming;
3) Oh, and this is the most difficult to explain. After spending a lot of time in a given day on this blog, and then if I turn on the television, I half expect to see the AA commentators up there, Hollywood squares style. Or those little shouting head boxes you see on the polarized news shows. Might be fun.

Or not.

E.M. Davis said...

You know some of us work all year-round.

WV: rechapo — Esperanto for putting a hat back on.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

"Isn't the noticeable thing that I haven't bought a new iPhone and that we're spending vacation time in state parks and local lakes and bike trails?"

It's how you mentioned that you could just go and buy a new iPhone that rankled. Even when I had money, my purchasing power was never a part of my identity, like it is yours and Glenn's. (You can read tons of shit about me, back-in-the-day, and the words "bling-bling" never came up.) I was more of the Dave Ramsey type:

Safety Net/Needs/Give the rest away - and no bragging about any of it. Just the result of growing up poor, I guess.

I was going to do the State Park/National Monument thing with a friend, years ago, then he went and got hit with Bush Derangement Syndrome and ruined everything. (Sigh.) Yes, it is a wonderful thing - and the right thing - to do. The photos are great, too.

It's weird, having an "old" life, now. Sorry.

jgm said...

Here's a pic of the houseboat my friend and I drove up the Mississippi (and back down, of course). He paid $5000 for it in, maybe, 1994. We took it from somewhere in west-central Illinois up to a little south of where Althouse took her pics. A lot of fun, but a little scary with all the barges.

We subsequently drove the thing up the Illinois River until the engine blew up--luckily, right opposite the downtown Peoria docks.

Beautiful pics, btw.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Our house is on a bluff overlooking a river. Photo from a previous autumn when the river was really low.

The cool thing is that the birds fly well above the water and it puts them just at eye level for us. Bald eagles, geese, red tail hawks, pelicans and even cormorants. Lots and lots of birds.

Nice pictures!

I envy you guys being able to go do outdoor activities. I'm stuck in an office all day. The only outside activities are evenings sitting on the deck staring at the river or working on the garden and property on the weekends.

Gabriel Hanna said...

There must be a lot more bald eagles in the Pacific Northwest than everywhere else--I'm not accustomed to thinking of them as rare, or it being a red-letter day when you see one.

In Southeast Alaska they are almost a plague upon the land. Bald eagles soaring majestically over the canyons are one thing, and bald eagles waiting around for someone to drop fish guts is something else.

They have little wiener voices too--they sound something like "pip pip pip".

My wife and I visited the eagle hospital in Sitka (eagles are always flying into power lines and crippling themselves for life) and we made a hilarious video of a bald eagle being sent to bed--every two or three feet the eagle would turn around and give his caretaker a bunch of sassback, in that little pipping voice they have. It was exactly like sending a two-year-old to bed.

Paco Wové said...

Sydney: just wanted to say I really miss Medpundit.