Posted by: tlnemethy | July 20, 2013

The Mississippi Thief

As you might remember from one of my earliest Bemidji posts, the headwaters of the Mississippi river happen to live right next to my camp. Well, on one of my days off I got invited for a girl’s day of floating  on the gentle caress of the Mississippi  river which instead turned into a day of hellish misery scraping along rocks and bleeding into the current. First off, we had a hand drawn map detailing our journey from point A on the highway to point B on the other highway. Whatever. We’d gone to Wally World earlier to get some tubes and pool noodles, but I, as a cheap person only forked out a few bucks for a single noodle.

Imagine my surprise when we park on the side of a highway and spend a few moments group-blowing our tubes so we didn’t pass out before we cross a “no trespassing” sign and wade into the shallowest water I’ve seen outside of puddles. This river was super lame. I was wearing my water shoes, yay family vacations from a decade past, and was the luckiest of my party. Everyone else was either rocking bare feet of flip-flops and the rocky bottom was both debilitating and bothersome to navigate. 1005108_10152046860448989_332585454_n_2

After the initial insertion point in the river, I think we all had the same thought, uh it better get deeper later on. False. The depth only got shallower. Within five minutes, the first tube had popped and my solo pool noodle was looking like the safe bet. Within ten, and after the first overpass crossing, my butt was dragging mercilessly on the not-so-nicely-smooth river rocks. The entire jaunt was interspersed with my laughing cackles of mocking pain and the real cries of surprise scraping on boulders. About half an hour after entering the water I decided to walk the rest of the roaring river ride and somehow I got suckered into dragging the one remaining tube laden with the rest of the girl posse behind me. Yay me.

We came to a fork in the river and literally stumbled across a flat bottom boat trying to eek its way up stream for better fishing. The guys inside leaned out and asked us how far back the last crossing had been and if it got any deeper. We just laughed and explained our road-rashed bodies. The honeymoon phase for us was slipping away quickly and we asked how much further we had to go before the end of the tubing portion. They said we weren’t far, but that we had to make our way past a bunch of river rapids. Thinking they were just bullshitting us, we just laughed and carried on our way. We scraped along the slow-moving current for another fifteen minutes before I hit a boulder that was casually placed just under the surface of the water at a drop-off. I named it the Titanic-killer as it conveniently demolished me without so much as a warning glance. I ended up face down, swirling around the boulder and howling in pain under the water’s edge before I emerged and swore up a storm and trucked my butt out towards dry land. Somehow in the melee I must have misplaced my waterproof digital camera. No more pictures or awesome video for me.

The sad part is I didn’t even notice until just before we stumbled into the rapids. I spent a few minutes wandering against the current (lol, the salmon swimming upstream) before I gave up and resigned myself to a depressingly pictureless event in my life.

Then came the rapids.

So, those fisherman were not, in fact, shitting us. There was another fork in the river and we chose incorrectly. The one remaining tube was bashing against rocks right and left and the deflated one was sadly dragging behind. I’d given up on my noodle and it was being carted around by one of the posse as I gingerly stepped between rocks and on rocks and under rocks. Within three steps of the rapids I had a misstep, rolled my ankle and went down HARD on some of the most inconveniently placed rocks of all time. I tumbled end over end until I ground my hands into the bottom, and some shards of glass, and propelled myself up and out. My knee was ground beef, my hands were bleeding, and it felt like I’d broken a few toes. I ended up taking my sweet time covering the tiny distance of rapids and limped out of the river.

The Mississippi had stolen both my camera and my pride.


  1. Sounds like an awesome day on the big muddy!

    • An awesome day for some river-rash. But definitely worth going.

  2. Ouchies! Ps. We missed you on our dinkusheads camp trip dudeeee.

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