Monday, July 29, 2013

Looking For Mr. Sandbar

Posted By on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM

A couple years ago, my wife and I bought a smallish runabout boat. We keep it docked at Mud Island, and when time and weather and river conditions permit, we head upriver. (Upriver, because if your boat conks out upstream, you can always float back to Memphis, which is better than floating off to Helena, or wherever).

I keep a close eye on this website, which lets me know the Mississippi's water level, now and for the near future. Over the past couple of weeks, the Mississippi has dropped from 26 feet above normal to around 10 feet. That's a quick fall, which means there are now hundreds of acres of freshly exposed islands and sandbars, which we love to explore. Sunday, we pulled in on an island called Hickman Bar, a couple miles north of the city. In fact, it's close enough that you can still see the skyline if you get to high ground. But this is a place where we've seen bald eagles, deer, foxes, coyotes, herons and egrets, and where I've caught a few nice big catfish, emulating my hero, Jeremy Wade.

But Sunday, it was all about exploring. I'm fascinated by the footprints you find in the drying mud near the waterline. Like this one, a coyote, no doubt.

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And these nice great blue heron prints.

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And there was this, which looks like an alligator, but I ain't sayin' it is.

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And finally, this oddity of tide and current. (Or some sly "artist" who beat us to the spot and thought this piece of driftwood deserved a display.)

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