Day 28 – Columbus, MS & a HOME for the puppies!

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Thank goodness for the magic of FB. I had posted on, The Big Apple 2 The Big Easy page, a photo of the three puppies that Poco had rescued, then shared them to my page. It was going to be a very hard life for these babies, if they had to be nursed back to health on the road, but it seems that the only options were either kill shelters or us, so we had accepted that challenge.

That was just how it was going to be, until a high school friend now living in California saw my post and shared it with a friend of her’s who does Boston Terrier Rescue. Her friend then reached out to a rescue in Georgia who then reached out to their sister organization in Alabama. So in the end Chelsea and I drove out close to two hours to meet a wonderful woman, Melinda, who is known as “the puppy” woman, who relieved is with her obvious competency. Please consider making a donation to this organization-we are so grateful they were able to take the pups! Their FB page and photos are here- https://m.facebook.com/AlabamaBostonTerrierRescue/

As it turned out, Melinda pointed out that the pups were slightly different-two of the three have tails, and Boston Terriers aren’t born with tails. They all had the markings, but the two had coats and faces that were slightly different as well. The one Poco fell in love with that she’s going to nurse back to health and keep, is more typical of a full BT. Bitches can become impregnated during a cycle by more than one dog, so it seems that the pup’s poor mother, who was chained outside, likely suffered a multiple impregnation.

Anyway, it is a major relief not to have to paddle multiple miles while sleeping with multiple puppies in a box in my tent and having to worry about how Poco would be able to handle all the tasks associated with this paddle and the added responsibilities of puppy care, never mind now finding hosts who might take us but think twice about puppies!-we would have surely risen to the occasion but it would have made the journey extremely more challenging. And then the poor husband at home who would have to deal with a puppy (or two) and an already difficult adopted dog at home. Much easier to just have the one that Poco has fallen in love with be the sole beneficiary of her attention.

She and the puppy spent the night in her hammock. When I went to the bathroom at 4 am there she was, sitting on the stairs to the bathroom at the very clean, very nice Columbus Marina where we are currently being hosted, feeding her little furry baby.

When I arrived into this gorgeous spot yesterday, on a very well defined channel bordered by ginormous lily pads that smell like nasturtiums, Jimmy Ledsworth, who works at the marina, came out to greet me- “you’re not 49!” Was the first thing he said to me. He’s an extremely affable guy and was completely amused I think, by our mission, Poco, and especially the puppies. We got a chance to talk to him about the waterway and the marina a bit, they don’t have a ton of recreational traffic coming through. There are a bunch of campgrounds in the area plus the economy has taken a bite out of the pleasure craft industry, the type of craft actually, that most folks would consider doing “America’s Greatest Loop” in. I think this spot is THE perfect paddle destination. In fact, the whole stretch of Kentucky Lake to here is a paddler’s paradise. If I were on a SUP board, particularly a decent inflatable, I’d be poking around all over the place. The Tenn-Tom is a series of canals connecting the Tennessee and Yellow River, I think it is, to the Tombigbee River. The first cut you come to is rather boring, that’s the stretch from the gorgeous Pickwick Lake to the lake where the oasis that is Bay Springs Marina is.

Then it’s a short hop to the wonderful folks at Midway, and a longer paddle to Aberdeen, which has a great little entrance from the channel. Well, great if you are a paddler but it would certainly be difficult in a larger, “Looper” favored vessel. But for paddlers that spot is okay. The ants kind of stink but it manages to fit the bill. Another 20 some odd miles brings you to this place, the Columbus Marina right on the upstream side of the lock. Extremely clean and with updated facilities. It’s a shame there isn’t enough traffic to keep the restaurant open, because that would make this a place you’d never want to leave. Actually leaving, I can tell, is going to be a challenge today!

The stretch between the Aberdeen lock and here is where I’m really feeling like I’m getting into the heart of the South. Palmetto plants, cypress, and these giant lily pads, which, as a coastal paddler, I’ve never seen before. The bird life is amazing and I’m keeping my eyes peeled for alligators. There are so many little rivers and islands one could spend days paddling around down here.

Mississippi boasts an impressive number of well kept up public boat ramps, and I read somewhere that tourism is the state’s main industry. This waterway is a glaringly obvious example of a resource being completely ignored by the paddling community, as well as the state for its paddling opportunities. I’d LOVE to get the family back and go out on some inflatable SUPS-inflatable because there are obstructions sometimes that are in the waterways, particularly if you go off the channel. Sometimes it gets shallow real quick. I did pass one dredging operation on the way here.

So far during this holiday weekend I have not seen more than four paddlers. It kind of floors me, as there is so much down here to explore and if you love to be a voyeur of nature this place is rife with wild little scenes, old railway bridges long defunct, and plenty of rocky river banks to poke around for fossils and arrowheads. And then of course there is the fishing!

I’m just loving the plant life and the solitude of the waterways. The locks, too, are source of fun. The operators have been fantastically patient with me and share their thoughts on many subjects, mostly involving water related issues, safety, and movies they have seen. The last operator I spoke with is actually going to be leaving his job. He’s going to build an off the grid home for his family on some property in the country and travel more. Sounds completely like living the life to me!

Time to get up and make the coffee and head out. Jimmy will be here in ten minutes and I’m still in my pj’s in my tent.

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