The "Barefoot" Expedition
The Last "Fur Bearing" Expedition by Canoe And Shank's Mare
from Post Falls, Idaho to New Orleans, Louisiana
June 1, 1984 - December 5, 1984

Excerpts from the Log of The "Barefoot" Expedition

(Transcribed into the computer December 22, 1995)

Note: The original of this transcript was composed in January of 1985 while working on-board the Stern Wheel Steamboat "Delta Queen" as ship's carpenter and cabinet maker, up and down the Mississippi as we worked at restoring her, and sent to all the persons listed on the last page. Many have contacted me over the years and many are still very close friends.

At Donaldsonville, LA, Dec 1, 1984,
Casey and I with the Landry kids.

Transcript:

GREETINGS to all our friends along the Western Rivers!

The "Barefoot Expedition" from Post Falls, ID to New Orleans is now history. This excerpt from the log of the journey is dedicated to you all, especially to Mister Gus, Miss Genie, Monte, Craig, Garland, Miss Karen, "Sakapotatoes" & "Bob".

You have all touched our hearts and souls and restored our faith in humanity, in the fullness of life and in the magnificence of our country and of God, as we each understand Him who paddled with us all this way.

The journey retraced, in part, the travels of Lewis and Clark, the early traders, trappers and mountain men, and of course, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Mike Fink. We traveled a distance of approximately 5800 miles by canoe, by "shanks mare", on horseback and other transportation means provided by the natives, taking all told 6 months and 5 days from June 1 (my mothers 71st birthday) to December 5, 1984.

We traveled through 22 states from the time of conception to completion. We explored Byrce, Zion, Part of Grand Canyon & Yellowstone Parks and the Yellowstone, Firehole, Madison, Jefferson, Big Hole, Beaverhead, Wise, Bitterroot, Little Blackfoot, Clark's Fork, Flathead, Pend d'Oreille rivers by truck and camper before undertaking the canoe voyage, to check out routes and rough spots. We traveled along/on these lakes and rivers , in order, by canoe; Cable Creek, Spokane River, Lake Coeur d'Alene, St. Joe River, Lake Pend d'Oreille, Clark's Fork River, Dry Cottonwood Creek, Flume Gulch Creek, Brown's Gulch Creek, Silver Bow Creek, Divide Creek, and the Big Hole, Jefferson, Missouri, Poplar, Hart, Big Sioux and Mississippi Rivers, including the many (17) reservoirs on the Clark's Fork and Missouri Rivers, the longest being Fort Peck in Montana and Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota, each about 200 miles long, day after day of "flat" water paddling, with waves 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet trough to crest.

We had many memorable experiences and miracles occur; the chance meeting with Fred Mass, a man important in my childhood, after a 38 year lapse, while exploring our route, the chance meeting with Ray Casagranda while portaging, a man I had grown up with and with whom I attended Meadow Gulch School, a one room log school in the mountains of Montana; the chance accident to the dog "Quincy" that enabled us to get our first long long ride around the worst part of the Clark's Fork (precedent was set by Lewis and Clark. They too accepted help from the natives.).

The miracles go on and on. A book the length of a major novel would be required to recount them all. Therefore I will shorten it and recount the high lights only.

The journey came about because of three factors,
1.) a crying need for me to spend time with my son, who was experiencing inner anger, emotional anguish, and weekly trips to his "shrink",
2.) I suddenly found myself free and independent, that my happiness did not depend on anything that anyone else thought, did or said, and that I could do anything I damn well wanted to do, and
3.) GOD.

Casey had a Jr. High School project to study the Lewis and Clark portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri. After studying their journals we decided to experience these things ourselves.

We left California April 16, 1984 with a sense of freedom and independence, with no regrets, except for the friends and loved ones we had left behind.

We were the first visitors to Yellowstone Park this year, following the snow plow in, seeing this magnificent park, its wildlife and thermal attractions in winter clothing. We backtracked the Yellowstone River from below Livingston back to Yellowstone Lake, down the Firehole to the Madison and the Three Forks of the Missouri, up the Jefferson, Beaverhead & Big Hole to Butte, Montana in time for my grandmother Perry's 91st birthday, then on down the Clark's Fork to Idaho, exploring our intended route, determining that we could make it and locating the difficult spots. We arrived at the ranch at Post Falls April 24. From then until June 1 was spent waiting for the canoe to arrive (it arrived May 14, the 180th anniversary of the start of the Lewis and Clark Journey of the Corps of Discovery), gathering and making needed equipment, spending time with Mother and nieces, nephews and friends, and catching up on ranch work.

I had decided that it wasn't ethical to do a journey of this nature with other than buckskins, flintlock rifles and an Great Canadian Huron cedar canoe, living off the land as much as practical.

I made a set of buckskins for both of us from 14 deer hides, one stitch at a time, while at the ranch, finishing my pants during our trial journey. This journey, of a distance of 180 miles from June 1st ( mother's 71st birthday) to June 15th took us up the Spokane River to beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene, to the St. Joe River and Wildlife Reserve to St. Maries, ID and the return to the ranch. During this trip we tied to a log boom being towed down the St. Joe and Casey got to ride and steer the tug. What a thrill for him!

On the Spokane River, June 1984
One of Mom's Paintings

We laid over at the ranch until June 24, eliminating excess equipment (100 lbs) and modifying gear. We then portaged to Lake Pend d'Oreille, a gorgeous lake in the northern mountains of Idaho, and the terminus of the Clark's Fork river which was to take us into Montana and to the Continental Divide.

We paddled upstream and portaged around, through and over rapids and up and over dams on the Clark's Fork until July 2. One portage at Noxon dam was 100 ft straight up a sheer wall via a very narrow deer trail. We camped at the rim of the gorge, totally pooped, completing the portage of about two miles the next morning.

On July 2, while on a portage around the rapids at Plains, Montana, the dog Quincy fell out of his owners truck. After bandaging him with surplus army first aid supplies we had, ( a Doberman is cute with a camouflage "bonnet " on his head), we accepted a ride with his owner, Dave Rauser, to Garrison, Montana. From there we paddled and portaged to Deer Lodge, Mont., then up and over 7500 ft Dry Cottonwood Pass into Flume Gulch and the home ranch where I grew up. Halfway over we were assisted by Ken Pinkham, a man we were to meet twice again in our journey.

We stayed 10 days at the old ranch. Casey turned 13 on July 5 where I had turned 13. We explored the trails and sites of my youth, finding my old "hideout" (in the second tier limbs of a massive old fir) after 38 years. We shot rabbits, grouse and on the 7th day shot a 3 point muley buck that had the audacity to walk within 49 of Casey's paces of the tent. We spent three days making jerky in the Indian fashion, sun drying the meat over smoke on willow racks. We wasted nothing and had meat for over a month and a half.

We stayed at Casagranda's one night and at my cousins, the Johnsons, in Butte for three days, visiting with friends and relatives from long ago.

Tubie Johnson portaged us July 18 to the Big Hole River at Divide, Montana, putting us in the western most tributary of the Missouri River about 3:30pm. We made 10 or 12 miles down river when a thunder shower stopped us for the night.

The next four days were packed with excitement, shooting 15 to 30 rapids each day. We got swamped the 19th by a willow sweeper all the way across the channel, losing a brand new boot in the process. On the 20th we dried out, explored our island naked and barefoot until 1:30pm, put into the river, made 15 miles, took the wrong channel and wound up in Wally Best's backyard via his irrigation ditch. We had to portage over a low creek bridge and floated on until 8pm when we swamped the canoe on the end of a log jam. I had waited about 3 seconds too late to make the decision of which channel to take. After getting over the initial panic, while waist deep in rushing water, we pried the canoe around the end of the jam and free. Floating down a rapids under water to an eddy, we got out on a low sand bar. The 21st and 22nd we spent drying out. Mosquitos are literally a pain in the tush, when all you have is your birthday suit. We got off the sand bar and away from the mosquitos about 1pm the 22nd. We shot a bunch of rapids, a diversion dam, and were into the Jefferson by nightfall.

We made the Missouri headwaters the next day, July 23. After a late start that morning, we arrived at Longitude 111 29.6' W, Latitude 45 56'N, elevation 4080' S.L., at 9:30pm, completed our second best travel day of the journey, having covered a distance of 68 miles.

The next morning we explored Headwaters State Park, then went on to the near end of Townsend Reservoir, the first of many lakes and reservoirs on the Missouri, stopping in Townsend for supplies. While traversing this lake we met Dave Rauser's cousins at a campground when we stopped for water. Coincidence?

Camping that night on an island in the lake, a mile from Canyon Ferry Dam, I found this inscription on the tombstone of one Jeremiah Mahoney, died 1881.

"Remember, friends, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am not, so must you be,
Prepare for death, and follow me."

What better way to prepare, than to Live?

For the hell of it, we portaged 14 miles into Helena, Montana and back just to be in their "Stampede Days" parade. We demolished our portage cart in the process, but built a new one from scraps with the camp saw, axe and my Buck knife. We made the parade, registering at the last minute, too late to be judged, and walked out the other side of town. While headed back to the river Dennis Bousman gave us a short lift to the "Grubstake Inn" where we made more permanent repairs to the cart and stayed the night.

Getting back to the river late Sunday, July 29th we got a tow of about 3 miles from Joe Harker to his family's reunion, 69 people - 5 generations from G'G'Grandmother Nan Harker to the babies, truly a wonderful family! Joe and Vincente towed us down to Black Sandy campground, a mile above Hauser Dam, after a wonderful dinner and a delightful evening of conversation.

We portaged Hauser Dam next morning, panned for gold and sapphires at Beaver Creek, and met our main adversary for the remainder of the journey -- Headwinds -- so strong they blew us back up river one and a half miles without a sail.

From Helena to Great Falls, through the "Gates of the Mountains" was spectacular, but plagued with headwinds, getting blown out of the river at least twice a day. A big help was getting a tow from the Shamleys on Holter Lake.

The night of August 2nd I ran the river at night for the first time, by full moon light. It was quiet and absolutely spectacular. We finally sacked out on Al Dugas' Kayot boat about 3:30 am when fog socked us in, in the vicinity of Ulm, Montana. He fixed us breakfast that morning, eggs, bacon and hash browns, a very welcome change. The distance from Ulm by road to Great Falls is 7 miles, by river 43 miles of continuous loops and headwind which took us two days.

We walked into Great Falls to inquire of "Great Adventures West, Inc, Outfitters" about the conditions of the river below and between the dams and falls. The owner, Craig Madsen, and his staff gave us more help than we could have expected. He lent us his van to get our gear out of the river, arranged TV and newspaper coverage and tied us in with the Lewis and Clark Heritage Foundation. With them we had a buffalo steak dinner on top of the Ulm "Pushkin" (buffalo jump), addressed the foundation about our venture and met Cynthia (Sakapotatos) Hamlett, Sakakawea's G'G'G'G'Grandaughter. We got to take a float trip with them between Black Eagle Dam and the Giant Springs mentioned in the L&C journals.

Finally, on Aug. 7th, GAW, INC portaged us around the 5 dams at Great Falls to below Moroney Dam, from whence we went down river with 118 members of the L&C Heritage Foundation, they traveling in rafts about 30 miles to Carter Ferry landing. We took on half a canoe full of water following one of the rafts over a 6 foot ledge. Great fun but wet.

Leaving them we continued to Fort Benton that afternoon. At Fort Benton, the head of navigation of the Missouri River, we visited the Steamboat and Historical Museum, and registered with the Bureau of Land Management for the trip through the "Wild and Scenic Missouri" wilderness preserve. This area has been beautifully cared for by the BLM, leaving it just as it was 180 years ago when Lewis and Clark traveled through. This section, about 180 miles, is the last of the free running wild Missouri, unoccupied on either side, and it is spectacular a true wonder. A land of wind and rain carved sandstone formations, bluffs, hills and vistas, especially magnificent by moonlight, changing from moment to moment, a veritable fairyland.

We acquired 20 lbs of wheat, straight from the field with grasshoppers, heads, legs and all, which when boiled became a favorite staple in our diets.

We left Fort Benton on August 8th, my 51st birthday and it was a good day with deer coming through camp about 7:30 that night, and with ducks and geese all around. The trip through the preserve took five days. We met another canoeist, Joe Youzwa, from Canada at Cow Island Campground on the fourth day. We had a pleasant 2 nights and a day with him, drifting and "slow" paddling through the last of the "wild" section.

On through Ft. Peck Reservoir, 187 miles, seeing no one, paddling into headwinds and three foot waves, six days, a gaunt, forbidding, austere country - but somehow beautiful and majestic. I finally figured out what the hum is that we kept hearing -- noise polution -- even 150 miles from anywhere. There are enough jets flying back and forth in the airlanes forty to a hundred miles south of the area to create a constant hum. The Porter family helped portage is over and around Ft. Peck Dam and we were back in flowing water. We laid back and drifted. MMM, Delightful!!

Downriver we found an abandoned canoe, half buried in the willows on a sandbar. We dug it out, towed it alongside to Wolf Point, Montana where we sold it to Judy Kurokawa and her kids. We sure needed the money as we were down to $5 and supplies were running low. Her mother and father invited us to dinner that evening at their ranch. We met Judy in town the next day, by chance, went to her house, mowed her lawn, fixed her garage door and were interviewed by her neighbor for the local paper.

At Poplar, Mont. we paddled out of the Missouri, about 5 miles up the Poplar River to an Indian Powwow. Beautiful dress and dancing, and overall a sense of spirituality and worship of the "Infinite IS" - "The Great Mystery" - as they understand it. The reason for the powwow is the annual celebration of the discovery of oil on the Ft. Peck Reservation and a gift of thankfulness and gratitude to The Great Mystery.

I must relate a very powerful and touching spiritual experience while there. I had joined a group of young men who were preparing to embark on their Spirit Quest, a quest of great importance to the native American youth. They were questioning the shaman about how they should proceed, what to expect, how they would know they had succeeded, and a myriad of other questions. I had joined in, more as an observer than a participant, as I had completed my own quest many years before. Nonetheless I was quite interested in the shaman's words and insight, and the gentleness of his answers or if you will his non-answers. The time came when he had other things to attend to.

On parting from the young men he left with this comment, "My sons, there are many paths to the top of the mountain, but they all reach the same place. You must find your own path."

That is truly a timeless capsule of wisdom that I would wish that the whole world could understand and accept. There would not be the "ir-religious rivalry and bickering" that has caused so much trouble in the world.

On down river to Williston, North Dakota. Deer, elk, raccoons, mink, fox, ducks, geese, all close to or in our camps at one time or another, seeing 20 to 50 deer a day. We were interviewed by Ch 11 TV when we went into town for supplies and mail. We got to see ourselves on TV when we stopped on a beach on Lake Sakakawea to get out of the headwinds and Charley and Nancy Wegley invited us to share dinner with them.

Lake Sakakawea took 6 days, with 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 foot waves. We did manage one good day of sailing with the wind astern and 4 or 5 reefs in the sail. On the last eight mile stretch across to Garrison Dam in the evening we slugged it out with headwinds and monster waves, taking on only about a gallon of water and spray. It was a real spooky but exciting two hours of hair raising "flat water" canoeing. Casey showed great grit, it was a long tough haul.

The next morning at Lake Sakakawea State Park we got our first shower in twelve days and were portaged to below the dam by the North Dakota State Park rangers. Wonderful fellows.

From there to Bismarck, ND we slugged it out with headwinds most of the way. Stopping at Washburn, ND, near the historic site of Fort Mandan, where Lewis and Clark wintered, we were interviewed by Jill Shramm from the local paper. She gave Casey and I a ride out to the historic old fort, now re- constructed and restored by local citizen volunteers.

As we came into Bismarck we stopped at the sternwheeler excursion boat "Far West". We were there only five minutes when the heavens opened up and it rained cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, cows and elephants for about an hour. We met Caren Ripley there in the Far West office, staying there the night, eating her pizza. A lot better than my cooking in a wet camp.

Just incidentally, we located and explored the remains of five or six abandoned sternwheelers from Fort Benton to Bismarck. Not much left, one was about 100 ft long from what we could tell.

After being interviewed by TV the next morning, we went into town for supplies and into Tandy Leather to get new needles for my awl. We met Monte Syvrud, a real dyed in the wool cowpoke and man of the earth. He invited us out to a buckskin rendezvous at his ranch. We spent a delightful three days with the buckskinners and stayed over another seven days being ranch hands. For the entire ten days Casey was a wrangler, helping to organize and guide trail rides through the beautiful Hart River valley on Monte's ranch. I spent the entire time being "Cooky". It was a delight to see the hands chowing down, but a lot of work, especially preparing food as it comes from the land or the carcass. The last night I prepared barbecued deer ribs. Lord, how good they were!

Monte then arranged an extra long portage for us to Sioux Falls, ND so that we could make up for time lost and to avoid paddling the long flatwater lakes through South Dakota. From Sioux Falls, we paddled down the Big Sioux river to Sioux City, Iowa, and rejoined the Missouri River. The Big Sioux is a beautiful, very slow moving river but badly polluted by agricultural chemicals.

Three days out of Sioux City Casey was sick from eating too many wild grapes and too much green sweet corn. This was our only "illness" of the entire journey.

The Lower Missouri River is beautiful in the fall, and as we were going south with the frost, we watched the colors change day by day. By and large though one mile of river bank looked like the last, even though occasional bluffs and groves were very beautiful. The time of cold and rain was upon us and we were wet and miserable about half the time from Sioux City to below the state of Missouri on the Mississippi River.

On September 28th we stopped to visit the sternwheel steamer "Capt. Meriwether Lewis" at Brownsville, Nebraska. Built in 1932 to dredge the Missouri channel, its preservation is excellent, being maintained by the local historic society.

We encountered tow boats for the first time about 200 miles below Sioux City, found that their wake posed us no problem as long as we stayed 25 to 30 feet away from the barge bows and waited until the towboat had passed us by 100 yards until we returned to the center of the channel.

At Atchison, Kansas we were given more wheat and whole wheat flour at the grain inspectors office. We met another buckskinner and his wife and sat around the fire until 4:30am drinking coffee and eating cherry and apple pie. It was a beautiful night.

We holed the canoe on a sunken wing dike a few miles above Leavenworth, KS. A sharp pinnacle of rock drilled about a 1 1/2 inch diameter hole dead center of the bottom as we struggled to get the canoe off. We made it to a sand bank down stream (with frantic bailing). We bailed out, unloaded, made camp, duct taped the hole and went into town. Next morning we were interviewed by the Leavenworth Times.

We stayed with my brother Mike and his wife Judy in Kansas City for a week. I hadn't seen him in at least eight years and we spent a lot of time catching up. We lost our canoe sail in the excitement of meeting again, loading gear into the truck, etc.. I made a new set of booms out of a board and a sail from six mil plastic sheeting and duct tape that served us well for the remainder of our journey, even better than the original in one aspect. I could see through it.

Leaving K.C. we stopped at Fort Osage, a reconstruction of the first American fort on the Missouri, established by Lewis and Clark after their return.

We experienced our first tornado Oct 16 near Boonville, Missouri. One and a half to two inches of rain and gale force winds blew the tent down, and though we held it up by hand for an hour we were totally soaked. We spent all the next day drying out, got in the river and drifted all night in perfectly clear moonlight to Jefferson City by morning. We toured the Capitol Museum. Lewis and Clark were both governors of Missouri and we saw their statues in the alcove. We are told that no one knows for sure which statue is which. We also toured the historic Jefferson City Landing and were interviewed by Ch 17 TV.

At Washington, Mo. we slept out of the rain in an open box car near the Missouri Meerschaum factory, on a siding by the river. Happiness is WARM and DRY. As we put into the river the next morning we met a group of teachers from St. Louis. They were learning to take inner city kids on canoe and wilderness outdoor trips.

They were led by Hank Shafermeyer, originator of this outward bound type project, who offered to put us up for the night in St. Louis and portage us around Point of Rocks. We of course accepted. You can't believe the luxury of a hot tub bath, of being clean and of being WARM ALL OVER for the first time since Kansas City. With Hank and the teachers was Bob Lindholm, Asst.Atty.General of Missouri, an avid outdoorsman, conservationist and photographer, who took pictures of us, sending them and a book "Blue Highways" down river to us Gen. Del. Natchez. The book is excellent, describing a man's journey on the backroads of America to find himself. I identified with him and with Arthur Bakke, a free man he met on the road.

We toured the Gateway Arch and Museum before leaving St. Louis as the guests of Winnie George, whom we had met in Great Falls at the Louis and Clark buffalo feed.

Entering the Mississippi was a thrill. The Lewis and Clark portion of our Journey was complete, and the Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Mike Fink portion began.

The weather turned more miserable and our funds and supplies were practically non-existent, but we knew we could forage and hunt if need be for everything we needed to survive and to survive well. The morning of October 25, after a thorough soaking, we stopped at a hunting camp. The owner was there and let us use it to dry out and get warm. We slept warm and well that night and needed it. The next morning was foggy and after paddling in head high fog for about nine miles, a sailboat coming down river under power gave us a tow for about 45 miles, another great help.

The next day we made the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi, the beginning of the lower Mississippi. Shooting the rapids through the dikes in a back channel behind the island at the tip of the junction at Cairo, IL, Casey was absolutely magnificent, getting bow strokes in just right to take us out of the haystacks. We made camp, walked into Cairo, bought some supplies and were broke again. I found a quarter walking back to camp. (On the portage near Garrison, Montana, to take Casey's mind off of his troubles and miseries in the heat I told him to start looking for a $50 bill in our path. We found more than $50, a penny, nickel, dime or quarter at a time.)

Walking from our camp to Ft. Defiance Park at the junction we saw the Delta Queen and heard her steam whistle for the first time, coming upstream to the Ohio. Later, laying in the tent, cold wet and miserable we listened to her steam calliope and knew the joy and satisfaction of being alive.

Click to hear the Queen's Calliope
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A Part of American Steamboating History

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Hear historic steamboat whistles and calliopes,
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Beginning just five years after the completion of the Lewis and Clark Journey of the Corps of Discovery, September 21, 1806, the period from 1811 until after the turn of the 20th century was the era of the paddlewheel steamboat in America, and more than 10,000 of these fascinating vessels plied the nation's rivers. In fact, Steamboats were directly responsible for a period of unprecedented progress, accelerating the development of the American frontier. The great inland waterways became the main highways, and everything from livestock to fine furniture could be found waiting on the banks for shipment.

Within a few years of the steamboat's introduction, river villages grew into small towns, towns became cities, and the course of American history was changed forever. Then, as now, the magic of steamboating holds a special place in the hearts of the American people, with a number of steamboats still plying the rivers of America.

The Delta Queen is a National Historic Landmark, #70000495, with her own postoffice and zipcode. She was fabricated in 1926 on the River Clyde at the Isherwood Yard in Glasgow, Scotland, and assembled that same year in a small yard in Stockton, California. She was brought from the Sacramento River to the Mississippi River in 1947, the first riverboat to pass through the Panama Canal.

The Delta Queen is 285 feet long, 60 feet wide, a height of 66'-6" to the top of the smokestack and has a crew of 81. There are 87 staterooms for a total of 174 passengers. For more on her history and her elegance, click here.

[Copies of this Log of the "Barefoot Expedition" were secreted in many places on board the Queen as I did repairs, and I am not telling where, but the dates and basic data are inscribed inside the back of the calliope steam gage.]

Only 853 more miles to go. We stopped at Columbus Park in Kentucky, got a needed shower, threw sticks at a pear tree to get fruit, talked to people there and had a nice afternoon. On down river to a small city park on the river bank outside the levee at New Madrid, Mo. Casey went into town and Trick or Treated Halloween night.

We experienced our second tornado the next day, just after we had gotten completely dry and were ready to go back in the river. It is quite an experience to sit in a tent blown up like a balloon and know that the only thing holding it down is you, sitting there laughing with life.

November 5th was a memorable day. It was the first truly beautiful day in weeks, with the wind down river. We sailed all day making Memphis that afternoon, 48 miles without stroking a lick. We toured the visitor center at Mud Island, where they have a magnificent scale model of the western river systems. We walked the length of it, spotting places we had been and what was ahead.

Hunting season was starting in Missouri and Arkansas and we were guests at deer camps several times. We were sure glad to get past Missouri, even though it is beautiful, as it was the wettest October of record for that state.

Our first day in Arkansas we fought headwinds all morning, although it was clear and warm, making Helena, Arkansas about noon. We walked into town to get potatoes and some tobacco. An hour and a half later we returned to the canoe and found that our rifles had been stolen. God had taken a strange and marvelous way to bring a number of wonderful people into our lives and to give us new insights into what is truly important. We spent three days with them, the police recovered our rifles within 72 hours, and we went down river restored physically and spiritually.

The next few days were fairly nice, clear days and cold nights, with some cold upriver winds. We had some of the best chili I have ever had with a group of turkey hunters, when we spotted their light while we were running the river after dark.

On Nov. 18th as we put into the river a light drizzle started which soon turned into torrential rains. We stopped at mile 470, where a Coast Guard Cutter was repairing a navigation marker, to ask where the next town was, as we had no maps of this stretch of the river. They took us on board, got us dried out and gave us a ride to the USCG station at Vicksburg. We stayed on board that night as guests of the master of the "Kickapoo", Sam Chavis. Sam let Casey steer the Kickapoo part way to Vicksburg. I doubt that this qualified him to be a Mississippi pilot, but he can say that he piloted a towboat on the Mississippi.

We stopped at Natchez to pick up mail from Bob Lindholm. We had thought that Thanksgiving was to be the next week, but in the process found that it was to be the next day. Garland Brown invited us to spend the holiday with his family and relatives. We truly enjoyed the day what with Garland showing us all the historic sites and homes , and the good conversation, friendship and sharing of love, and of course the good food.

Saturday night we had made a beautiful comfortable camp on an island and had talked to a couple of hunters. One returned the next morning with the outdoor editor of a local paper. As we were late getting started I had trouble making a decision to go or to stay. It was Sunday and God took the decision away from me.

Casey was in the tent working on the shotgun and let a hammer down on a cap "a little hard" and it went off. No damage done except two big holes in his sleeping bag, but it scared hell out of both of us. Lucky. I left him to fix the damage and cogitate about the accident, while I hunted and explored the island. No luck hunting but we did get a day of rest.

We had intended to go down the Atchafalaya spillway to Cajun country and the bayous but missed the locks in the fog and drizzle. It was God at work again, that we should meet the people we did, which have profoundly changed our lives. You people whom we met upriver did too, it is only now that we are beginning to realize how much.

Some of the happenings in the closing days of our journey I have still not come to grips with, and will not relate them in this excerpt, but the miracles of Isaiah, Mr. Gus and Miss Genie and finally of Miss Karen, you know whereof I speak.

We stayed two days with Mr. Gus and Miss Genie in Donaldsonville and three days later, Dec. 5, 1984 we finished our journey in cold, wet, miserable weather. We stopped at the Delta Queen to thank the Captain and crew for blowing the whistle and waving each time they passed from Cairo to New Orleans. We spent the night aboard the Queen, the last of the "Real" riverboats as the guest of the Chief Engineer Ed Jones, a fitting conclusion to the Mark Twain portion of our voyage.

To you all who have touched our hearts and lives, we salute you. This was your trip also, for without you it would not have the meaning that it does, and may not even have been possible.

You have given us an eternal gift of love and friendship.

"The bond that links you with members of your true family in not one of blood, But one of respect and joy in each others lives. Rarely do members of the same family grow up under the same roof." --R. Bach

Thanks for being our family.

Love and Peace,
Barefoot Bob and Casey Hardison
January 1985

W. Holland Road
Post Falls, ID 83854

The list of friends in chronological order. I would wish that you all could meet and be friends as you have been to Casey and I.

N. R. "Bob" Crain, 432 Dayton Circle, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

Ken, Ken's Phillips 66, St. George Blvd., St. George , UT

Tubie Johnson, Locust Street, Butte, MT 59701

Fred Mass, W. 214 6th St., Spokane, WA

Claudia Walters, Box 140 Rt 1, Plummer, ID 83851

Ray Casagranda, Browns Gulch, Butte, MT 59701

Diane Spencer, Box 1310, Thompson Falls, MT 59873

Dave Rauser, Box 402, Townsend, MT 59644

Ken Pinkham, 2932 Pleasure Rd, Helena, MT 59601

John & Rusty Freeman, 124 High Point Dr, Gulfbreeze, Fl 32561

Wally Best, Wally's Bar, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Dave Kulczyk, 810 Gem Back Rd, Deer Lodge, MT 59722

Kevin Flynn, Box 403, Townsend, MT 59644

Dennis Guerde, 3655 Riviera Dr, Helena, MT 59601

Josh & Will Turner, 7845 Applegate Dr, Helena, MT 59601

Pat & Jean Riley ,1639 Aspen St, Helena, MT 59601

Kathy Leaf, 1639 Aspen St, Helena, MT 59601

Tracy Knievel, 630 W. Iron, Butte, MT 59701

Rick Gordon, 10 1/2 W. Copper, Butte, MT 59701

Dennis & Vi Bausman, 234 Bonner Rd #9, Helena, MT 59601

Don Ferriter, 1450 Lincoln Rd, East Helena, MT 59601

Mariann Wenstrom, 3545 Lincoln Rd, East Helena, MT 59601

Joe Harker, 1218 Laurel Lane, Dallas, TX 75080

Chuck & Jean Jorgenson, 1809 Silver St, Helena, MT 59601

Jack Smith, 3947 Lincoln Rd, East Helena, MT 59601

Jack & Mary Shamley, Box 204, Wolf Creek, MT 59648

Al Dugas, Ulm, MT 59845

Craig Madsen, GAW, Inc. 820 Central Ave, Great Falls, MT 59401

Cynthia and Brad Hamlett, Rt 1 Box 614, Sun River, MT 59843

Lewis & Clark Heritage Foundation
H. John Montague, 2864 Sudbury Ct, Marietta, Ga 30062

Shiela & Dave Robinson, Cole Harbor, ND

Rosa Fischer, Rt 4 Box 1749, Reeds Spring, Mo 65737

Steve Taylor, 2330 7th Ave, So Great Falls, MT 59401

Kenny Boggs, Jr, Box 219, Fort Benton, MT 59442

Chan Biggs, BLM, Fort Benton, MT 59442

Ray Scheele, Box 172, Loma, MT 59460

Bud Berner Virgille, RT Loma, MT 59460

Gerald (Joe) Youzwa, Box 167, Codette, Sask. Canada S0E0P0

Bob & Joyce Potter, 923 Valley View, Glasgow, MT 59230

Judy Kurokawa, 513 Dayton, Wolf Point, MT 59201

John B. Stensland, Box 5045, Wolf Point, MT 59201

Gordon Miller, Box 48, Culbertson, MT 59218

Steve Hoffelt, 718 3rd Ave E, Williston, ND 58801

Charley & Nancy Wegley, Rt 1 Box 23B, Epping, ND 58843

Steve Crandall, Lewis & Clark St. Pk, Epping, ND 58843

Paul Dunn, 501 N 5th St, Cherokee, IA 51012

Darrell Klever, Box 615, Riverdale, ND 58565

Jill Schramm, Box 340, Washburn, ND 58577

SSgt Steve Krebsbach, Box 297, Minot, ND 58701

Bill Belcher, KXMB CH 12, Bismarck, ND 58501

Caren Ripley, 1141 W. Owens #208, Bismarck, ND 58501

Monte Syvrud, Rt 4 Broken Arrow Ranch, Mandan, ND 58554

Wade & Luanna Graeber,, 49 NE 4th St Garrison, ND 58540

Bob & Jan Barr, 102 9th Ave NW, Mandan, ND 58554

Gary Larson, Box 105, Garrison, ND 58540

Ken & Phyllis Heier, 430 W Edmonton Dr, Bismarck, ND 58501

John Paete Sr & Jr, 526 W 1st St, Sioux City, IA 51103

Jack & Janice Shroeder, Rt 1 Tekama, NE 68061

Inge Roettcher, 1444 S 15th #1, Omaha, NE 68108

Gene Kane, RR 1, Atchison, KA 66002

Richard Birt, 812 Main St, Atchison, KA 66002

Bob & Cindy Primm, 802 N 2nd St, Atchison, KA 66002

Betsy Rice, 603 N Broadway, Leavenworth, KA 66048

Connie Parrish, 422 Seneca St, Leavenworth, KA 66048

Mike & Judy Hardison, Charlotte St, Kansas City , MO 64106

George Funk, 1016 Forest St, Kansas City , MO 64106

Vern Pugh, 114 W Kelling Ave, Waverley, MO 64096

Sam Hathaway, Stahl Specialty Co. Kingsville, MO 64061

Bill Brady, 503 W 5th St Terr, Carolton, MO 64653

Ted & Leone Hamilton, Rt 1, Miami, MO 65433

Sea Stipe, 507 Missouri Blvd, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Kim Savage, 727 Hobbs Terrace, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Dale Brown, 202 Selma St, New Haven, MO 63068

James Dothage, 625 W 6th St, Washington, MO.63090

Hank Schaefermeyer, 520 Lake St, St. Louis, MO 63119

Bob Lindholm, 619 Sue Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65101

Winnie George, St. Louis Visitors Ctr, St. Louis, MO 63119

Harold Vinson, Main St, Frohma, MO 63748

Bryce Johnson, Star Rt 7, Pequot Lakes, Mn 56472

Mary Dixon, Rt 2, Clinton, KY 42031

Lara Stone, 302 Pearl St, Fulton, KY 42041

Pastor H. Henderson, 623 Mill St, New Madrid, MO 63869

Bobby Blum, 180 St. Matthew Ln, New Madrid, MO 63869

Steve Gonzales, 121 N Broadway, Osceola, MO 64776

Jr. Harding, 104 Spears St, West Memphis, AR 72301

Ray Williams, 409 DeSoto St, West Helena, AR 72390

Det Bill Jones/Bill Hayne, City Police, Helena, AR 72342

Rev. Billy Hammonds, 600 Franklin St, Helena, AR 72342

David Tinsley, 600 Franklin St, Helena, AR 72342

Carolynn Hughes, Wynne Progress, No. Falls Blvd, Wynne, AR 72396

Donald McMillan, Rt 2 Box 1118, Greenbriar, AR 72068

MSgt Sam Chavis, MV Kickapoo, USCG, PO Box 31, Vicksburg, MS 39180

Pat Norris, RT 1 258-c-24 Lot 27, Vicksburg, MS 39180

M/1 W.O.(Red) Crane, MV Kickapoo, USCG, PO Box 31, Vicksburg, MS 39180

Shelly Plett, 118 King Arthurs Ridge, Vicksburg, MS 39180

John Whitt, 112 Natchez St, Natchez, MS 39120

Leslie Whitt, 1818 Donegal St, Alexandria, LA 71301

Garland Brown, 113 Pecan Way, Natchez, MS 39120

Lee Grant, 306 Briarwood Apt 2G, Natchez, MS 39120

Homer King, Box 206, Washington, MS 39190

Ernest Herndon, Box 910, McComb, MS 39648

Mike Farnham, 302 5th St, McComb, MS 39648

Mrs. Geder, History Dept, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA 70807

Isaiah Meyers,III, 2265 Elm Grove Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70807

John Gottschalk, 2509 Boxwood, Baker, LA 70714

John Underwood, 355 East Blvd #1, Baton Rouge, LA 70807

Tom Hall, 1054 Rittner Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70807

Henry Muirhead, Jr, Corps Eng'rs, V'Burg Dist, Vicksburg, MS 39180

King Hebert, 1014 Mille Ave, Plaquemine, LA 70604

Gus & Genevieve Landry, 410 Nichols St., Donaldsonville, LA 70346

Leonard Gray, 1784 Carol Sue #12, Gretna, LA 70053

Sid Glassen, Box 754, Luling, LA 70070

Calvin Reid, 1533 E Judith St, Marrero, LA 70072

Edgar M. Jones, Delta Queen, 2020 ITM Bldg, New Orleans, LA 70130

H. DeMarrero, Delta Queen, 2020 ITM Bldg, New Orleans, LA 70130

Gary Frommelt, Natchez, 2340 ITM Bldg, New Orleans, LA 70130

Karen Nielsen, 5025 Randolph, Marrero, LA 70072

Addenda:

Shirley Johnson, 1514 Campbell, Kansas City, MO 64106

Thomas Burnett, Box 39, Post Falls, ID 33854

Doug Card, Press & Dakotan, Yankton, SD

Bob & Lola Curtis, 57110 Pastuer Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70130

The story does not end here because there is still LIFE to live.

Casey and I live HERE
Looking Down From The Upper Place
Spring Bloom In The Meadow

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Placed on the Web Jan 29, 1996

Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and FRIENDS