Saturday was mostly rainy but I made myself comfortable with the umbrella and high end Kokatat paddling gear. Most showers were quick fleeting affairs with more wind than rain. By sunset the river was rising but the rain had mostly ended. Patches of blue sky emerged vividly from the gray trailing clouds.
Many large sandbars and disposal areas lie on the inside of bends in the river. This one has a dramatic 25 ft rise from the water’s edge and a grassy meadow above. The skeletal remains of E-Z Up awnings from the past season emerge from the sand like a pirate’s grave, no doubt their pontoon boat had a pirate flag. Blackened logs from campfires set too close to the river’s edge and the detritus of beer cans on the shore reflect the merriment soon to be washed downstream by the next flood.
I made it to Moundville in the afternoon and charged electronics and rewatered as the afternoon turned to night. It was a cool night of camping in the low 30’s and I was quite ready for dawn to break on the misty Black Warrior.
Moundville by morning light is that much more impressive as the sun burns the frost from the grass. This was the first morning of frost for me on this trip and my open toes sure felt it.
The Moundville Archaelogical Site is home to the second largest Mississippian Culture settlement in the US. The site was occupied from 1000AD – 1450AD and features many mounds that were habitated by family clans and small dwellings atop. The expansive plaza really brings home just how many people once lived and thrived here. Their cultural artifacts and artistic capabilities are quite remarkable and the museum exhibits many of their past findings.
Walking to the Family Dollar store for snacks, I enjoyed the artistic grid nature of this ant nest on the brick sidewalk.
It was a quiet morning in town after school finally started and I snagged a cup of coffee at a gas station and warmed my numb toes (not with the coffee). The kind librarian helped me print some more charts for the Demopolis Pool and I’m looking forward to the upcoming stretch to where the Black Warrior meets the Tombigbee. There is only one place to resupply on the next 60 miles of river or more, Roebucks Landing, where I’m sure I’ll buy up the beans, eggs and cheese on their shelves. The many twists of this meandering river means there are few towns along the banks as much of the area is low-lying floodplain. With days in the 70s and nights in the upper 40’s I’m hoping it is more comfortable paddling conditions ahead. The south in autumn is a real treat.