The Mighty Mississippi from Burlington, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri…in an Innova Safari inflatable kayak

In September 2009 Harold Murphy kayaked down the Mississippi River from Burlington, Iowa to St. Louis Missouri. He spent 10 days aboard his Innova Safari, pulling alongside the river each night to set up a tent or a hammock and sleep. He packed everything he needed onto his inflatable kayak and set out to explore the waters of the mighty Mississippi.

In Harolds own words: “Most people look at the Mississippi River as too large, too many boats, too many cities, and little beauty or remoteness. I think people would be surprised as to how beautiful and remote the Mississippi River can be.”

Following are a series of photos following Harold Murphy’s kayak adventure. We’ve published his entire trip (in higher resolution and with captions) on Picasaweb:















Harold Murphy’s Safari Trips

From Harold Murphy

I will try to explain my Safari trips in a few words. This one picture explains it well. Here I have my Safari loaded with 10 days of food and a few days of water. The scenery is blue and green, the wind is at my back, the river current is 1-2 mph. Camping is no problem.

I do not have a worry in my mind. All I need to understand is which way the river flows, and follow it around the next bend, then the next bend, and then the next bend. Need I say more? Life is simple and perfect here.

And for 2011?

I just booked my flight to Indianapolis, Indiana (early June) to  travel the White River, south-west to the Wabash River south, to the Ohio River west, to the Mississippi River south as far south as New Madrid, Missouri. Should be 400+ miles. Should be another “adventure” with my Safari & camera. P.S. New Madrid, Missouri lies exactly on top of a major earth-quake fault that has been “sleeping” for a couple hundred years. Hope it continues to “sleep” through June, 2011

Harold Murphy on the Mississippi Summer 2010

Harold Murphy Canoeing the Colorado River below Hoover Dam in his Innova Safari Inflatatable Kayak

Harold Murphy has paddled his Innova Safari inflatable kayak 4,000+ miles on North American Rivers.

Colorado River, rest stop at Boy Scout Canyon below Hoover Dam with hot springs, and VERY difficult to reach by foot.

Colorado River, Black Canyon of the Colorado below Arizona Hot Springs.

Colorado River, Black Canyon of the Colorado below Willow Beach (the normal end for most canoers).

Colorado River near Needles, California; a SUPER float with river current of 3-5 mph, no rapids, and complete solitude on the river.

Entering Topock Canyon, a protected area. Prior to entering Topock Canyon, there is a small marina, left side with supplies, ice cream, cold beer, and GREAT cheeseburgers (say hello to Tara, a super waitress). Back to Topock Gorge, it is about 15 miles through with river current of 2-3 mph, BUT camping is not allowed. In an emergency, there are beaches in Topock Gorge. Immediately upon leaving Topock Gorge, the river enters Lake Havasu; all paddling. Also immediately upon leaving Topock Gorge, on the right side are several adequate campsites, not beautiful, but O.K. for a night. And, then Havasu City, well worth a visit by canoe with everything river canoer could want, like ice cream, human food, cold beer, and Speed Boaters having a great time.

In his own words:

Maybe more people will canoe the Colorado River. Actually, it is a SUPER float from Hoover Dam to Havasu City, and beyond. Between Havasu City & Parker Dam (I believe that is the correct name) there are numerous BLM Campsites on the Arizona side, all with tables & outhouses; cost $10.00 day use, or $10.00 each night. At the marina near the Parker Dam, Arizona side, one can arrange for transportation back to Havasu City, etc. At the marina, I met a Native American who gave me a portage around the dam for $20.00, very reasonable. And, the float below Parker Dam is all river, with river speed of 2-3 mph. Camping is a little more difficult, and most of my campsites were “acceptable” but not excellent. The entire Colorado River from Hoover Dam to Blythe has very little canoe traffic, with the exception of the Dark Canyon. The rest, complete solitude, and camping in Lake Mohave actually is quite beautiful; complete desert & silence at night.

Harold Murphy has Traveled More Than 4,000 Miles of North American Rivers in his Innova Safari Inflatable Kayak

From Harold Murphy on June 18, 2010 (more to come once his photos are scanned):

I “completed” my Pennsylvania-New York-New Jersey trip today. It did not turn out as I had planned. The Upper Delaware River was great, and fairly “easy” with mainly class I rapids. But, as I got to Skinner’s Falls, the river turned more difficult, and Dangerous for me.

My Innova Safari inflatable kayak is a Super boat, with about 4,000 river miles to date, But, with my body weight of 170 pounds, and 60-70 pounds of food for 10 days, tent, sleeping bag, clothes, water, etc., a Class I+ becomes too dangerous while I am alone.

According to my mental records, I went through about 40+ rapids in 40+ miles, with some serious rapids below Narrowsburg, New York. I completed my Susquehanna River from Harrisburg to Chesapeake Bay, with very little danger; the biggest danger was under a railroad bridge with serious rapids across the entire river.

I decided to cancel the Potomac River until I can study it in more detail. It can wait until next year, and I can tie the Allegeny River in with the Potomac River, with a few days at the end of the trip at Niagra Falls.

My next Safari trip will be July 22 on either the Illinois River to St. Louis, or a northern Illinopis River to the Mississippi.

I sure do meet a lot of people who might think I am a little “crazy” an a lot of people who “dream” of doing what I am doing, but probably never will.