Day 25 – into Bay Springs Lake

Poco and I continue to rack up the miles. We ended our day at Bay Spring Marina, where Poco looked down and saw the manager of the place had a magazine folded over to read this article-  It mentions that I’m paddling to New Orleans via the Mississippi, which is partially true because I had to do that to get to the Tenn-Tom Waterway, which is a more populated and I thought interesting route because it has me going through a bunch more states and spilling out into the wild Alabama rivers and the incredibly diverse Mobile Bay before repeating a stretch I did back in ’09 into New Orleans.
I’ve often wondered about the folks I met and who helped me out in ’09. That was a year before the gigantic BP oil spill. At the time I paddled through many places were finally getting back on their feet after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Uh oh, this blog might be cut a bit short and folks are rolling in now with their boats to get started fishing for the day. We’re kinda parked where we shouldn’t be and we certainly don’t want to be in anyone’s way. Oops.
I guess it is a good thing we get moving, today is a short day but I’ve got three locks to get through. Hopefully there isn’t a huge wait, all yesterday I only saw two tows pushing barges and only a handful of pleasure vessels out on the water.
The nights have been getting cooler so at least I’m not dehydrating by sweating in the night, but the days are pretty hot, and that sun is still strong. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with good wind at my back, so it was another surf session in the open parts of the Tennessee River and the lake below the first ditch of the Tenn-Tom. I wouldn’t have figured I’d be surfing on the rivers like this; fun downwinders! I really can’t believe that I’ve only seen a couple of paddlers-that was the day before yesterday when I saw folks paddle in the state marina, and then those folks  in Kentucky Lake. Where is everybody? There’s great paddling here!
Oh just a bit to clarify my statements regarding the kind of monumental change we need-I’m not talking about waging war and all that crazy stuff, not at all, we just need to realize, as a nation, how our actions impact our country, our health, and the direction and health of future generations. We need to sit back and re-examine our priorities. Are we helping? Or are we hurting?
It’s a challenge. No one wants to self reflect and say, yea, me and my attitude might be to blame, or me and my whatever plug-it-in-bad-habit, like the guys I was talking to who were concerned about what might be in their water. For sure, what we drink and what we eat surely will impact our health, but if all we’re doing is smoking and eating junk food and not getting exercise, well, hell, those are risk factor for bad health themselves!
But if you are doing all you can to be healthy, you shouldn’t get slammed with dirty water and dirty air. That’s just not right because it is out of your control. That’s where we need someone with a heavy hammer to come in and protect our resources, to keep us healthy and our economy flourishing. When you look especially at the recreation economy, all these guys now with their boats here going out fishing, when you look at outdoor recreation, that’s the stuff that will keep your local economy going, as long as you protect it and keep it clean.
Just a reminder- in Mississippi, 55% of the population participates in outdoor recreation and it generates, all this according to the Outdoor Industry Alliance stats, $4.9 billion in consumer spending and 58,000 jobs here in this state!

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