Embrace America's Rivers

River Pictures..Click title or image for larger view

Submarine on the River?
Well, it looks like a submarine in the river but actually are barges tied off to mooring cells. This was taken early morning on the lower Mississippi River near Donaldsonville, Louisiana.

Squeezing under Low Bridge

Capt. John Dugger is squatting while piloting the American Queen under a very low bridge. Jerry Hay is  kneeling down and showing how close the bottom of the bridge is.
Liar's Bench in Pilothouse
Capt. Dugger and Jerry are taking their place on what it called the liar's bench on the showboat Becky Thatcher. Notice the height of the bench, as their feet dangle. The benches are located in the pilothouse and are mounted high to see better. The name came from visiting pilots sitting on the bench and telling their river lies.
Ice & Logs Flow on the Wabash River
This was not a good day on the river. Looking from the lower helm of the Wabash Queen, we can see huge trees and ice coming down the river. It is difficult to dodge these obstacles in a slow-responding paddlewheeler.

River Scouting in a Hot Air Balloon

An interesting photo of the shadow of the balloon that Jerry Hay was in while following the Colorado River. Scouting a river by balloon is a unique method and lots of fun. The only problem was that the wind did not always follow the river.

Boat Motor Problems
This man on the Yazoo River at Vicksburg, Mississippi had to paddle his boat back to the dock. That is not particularly unusual, but if you look close, he is paddling with a broom.
Taken one morning from beside the pilothouse of the Ron Shankin towboat. Just imagine the skill that pilots must have to handle a 1,200 foot vessel, pushing 22,000 tons of material in these conditions. Radar helps but if it gets thick enough the Coast Guard will order vessels to stop.
Low Bridge..High Water
While canoeing the Big Walnut Creek in Indiana, during high water, this low bridge did not have enough clearance to safely pass under. Jerry Hay was able to get to shore in time to portage around it.
Rock in the White River
This rock with two residence geese doesn't look unusual, however, an amazing story took place here while Jerry Hay was canoeing down the White River in Indiana. That story is in the book, Beyond the Bridges.
Cub Pilot on the Wabash Queen
Jerry lets a young man take the helm for a while, showing him the ropes of river piloting. There is much to learn so one should start young, just as was done in the early days of steamboating.
 
Ice Breaker on the Mississippi River
We don't think much about a steamboat being an ice breaker, but that is exactly what the Mississippi Queen was doing while cruising on the lower Mississippi River near Helena, Arkansas. The ice flow came down from the upper Mississippi River.
Backhoe in the River
Oooops! This backhoe slipped backwards and into the Mississippi River at Natchez, Mississippi. The quick-thinking operator saved it from going all the way into the river by dropping the bucket, which held it in place until a tow truck arrived.
Not exactly but Jerry Hay is taking a break on a large beach on the lower Wabash River. That tree came to rest on the beach after floating down the river during high water. It is amazing to think about how much higher the water was to carry that huge tree.
River Camp on the Wabash
Jerry and his friends make camp during a long river journey. They traveled the entire 500 miles of the Wabash River. This trip inspired Jerry Hay to write the well-known Wabash River Guidebook.
 
Arkansas River Rapids
Good timing for a great photo. Jerry Hay took this after canoeing through a chute on the upper Arkansas River in Colorado, just as the canoe spun around. Of course, a waterproof camera was used.
First Canoe Trip
This is Jerry Hay's nephew Ryan on his first canoe trip. If he looks proud it is because his uncle Jerry just proclaimed him as an official River Rat, following an impromptu initiation. By the way kids, don't stand in a canoe!
Wabash River Bend
This aerial photo of a bend on the Wabash River just south of Terre Haute, Indiana shows how much the river winds on it's route to the Ohio River. Sometimes flooding will cut across the neck of these "horse-shoe bends creating new islands.
Locking Through in a Canoe
If you ever want to know what feeling real small is like, then take a 13ft canoe through a 1,200 foot lock. Jerry did! You can see the bow of the canoe in the right foreground. The canoe was the only vessel in the lock chamber at that time.
Log Jam on Indiana White River
Some days, things just get in the way of progress, like this little log jam. OK, maybe is isn't so little but there was no turning back and there was a small channel of water on the other side.
 
Flooding on the Wabash River
In this photo, Jerry lands his boat at a park in Clinton, Indiana that is usually high and dry.The advantage of this is that a conveniently located Dairy Queen is just up the hill.
 
Mississippi River headwaters
Most rivers begin tiny and the Mississippi is no exception. Jerry canoed from the headwaters to Minneapolis. He has traveled the entire length of the river in various watercraft.

River Hazards
Some river hazards are easy to notice, as in this photo. Many hazards are not so obvious, but the river will provide clues. Reading the River is not difficult but an important skill to acquire.

Boating in Shallow Water
Jerry (right) and friends discover the difficulties in exploring a non-navigable stream in a power boat. It requires dragging, pushing, pulling and getting wet feet but deeper water was not far away.

 
River Rafting
This is on the upper Arkansas River in Colorado. We are just getting reading to go into some rapids named the "Widow Maker". Fortunately no widows were made that day but we did get wet.

Bank Erosion on the White River
This is caused by clear cutting of the the treeline. The trees helped stabilize the banks and when removed, the bank washes out, causing the river to become wider and shallower. Valuable land is also lost, but it will build up  somewhere else downriver.
Gene Hackman 
Gene Hackman and Jerry Hay meet to discuss an upcoming film about the river. Hay is providing technical advise for Hackman who is producing the film. Here they got together on the American Queen Steamboat while in Memphis.

Kayak Overturned in Logjam
A bad day of kayaking on Raccoon Creek in Indiana. The kayak was drawn into a logjam and flipped. Fortunately, Jerry came out the other side and was able to retrieve the kayak and gear, with another lesson learned.

Kayaking Trip Camp
On the same trip as the last photo, a safe place to camp was finally found along the swollen creek. One very important item was lost during the mishap.....The Coffee Pot!
Old Lock Ruins
During extremely low water on the Wabash River, an old lock ruins from 1830 was uncovered and surveyed by Jerry Hay. It was built with timber and rocks and is located just north of Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

Huge Wave Swallows Boat
Not really, but this looks like a giant wave about to swallow a boat. It is actually a photo taken from above Niagara Falls with the Maid of the Mist tour boat 160 feet below the falls.

Oak Alley Plantation
Oak Alley is a beautiful plantation along the lower Mississippi River. This interesting angle creates a framed affect of the oak trees in front of the mansion. It is open to the public and a regular stop for the steamboats.

Plane down in Ohio River?
Not exactly. This airplane is being lifted onto a barge from the Ohio River after being used as a movie set. The movie was "U.S. Marshalls". Jerry thought it was a real crash and wrote about it in Beyond the Bridges.
Popeye the Sailor was actually from the Mississippi River
Popeye and Jerry Hay in an arm wrestling match. Popeye visited the American Queen while landed at Chester, Illinois. (Jerry won the match). Popeye is based on a character from Chester, hometown of his creator.

Towboat Prop Wash
This looks like rapids but it is the prop wash from the back of a towboat. Those two nine-foot diameter screws stir up a lot of water. Gulls like to follow them because of the materials often stirred up from the river bottom.

Steamboat Race
Jerry Hay is wearing the Delta Queen colors during the annual race with the Mississippi Queen. A passenger took this photo of the unsuspecting official watching the event from the bow of the Delta Queen.

Mystery Swan Head on Wabash River
Look closely and see a swan's head at the end of the river snag. It was actually put there by Jerry Hay just to get attention. It remained a mystery to boaters for quite some time. (The head is from a broken yard ornament)

Tree Growing out of Stone
It is amazing where trees will grow. This one apparently got started in a small crack in this abandoned bridge pier on the Wabash River and cracked it further as it grew.
Tree Growing in Courthouse Dome
Also amazing is how this tree started growing in this courthouse in Greensburg, Indiana and grew right out through the roof. It has become a tourist attraction. Not a river photo but certainly interesting.

Bonfire on the Levee
This is actually a bonfire pile that will be burned. A tradition on the lower Mississippi River at Christmas is bonfires on the levee. There are many creative bonfire designs each year.

Wabash River Flooding
Aerial view of the Wabash River during flooding. It is interesting to see the actual river channel still apparent because of the treeline along each bank.
Most of the Wabash River is fairly calm but a short section at Markle, Indiana can be very dangerous. It is due to a shallow channel diverting the river around a levee, then an elevation drop back to the old channel.

Lewis & Clark Expedition
This rock formation along the Yellowstone River in Montana is the site of a stop-over by the Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1806. It was named Pompy's Pillar by Captain Clark.

Captain William Clark
Clark chiseled his name and date on Pompy's Pillar after naming the formation for the child that went on the journey whom he nicknamed Pompy. It has been preserved for over 200 years.
 
River Gauge
Before passing under a very low bridge, the Captain of the Delta Queen had a broom stick taped to the top of the jackstaff. If the broom stick broke, then we would turn back. Better to break a broom stick than a pilot house. We made it by an inch!
  Concrete River in California
Jethro of "Beverly Hillbillies" called their swimming pool and concrete pond. This is one of the concrete rivers in California, carrying water from the mountains to the cities.
Rivers Confluence
This point of land is where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi River. Look closely to see the blue water of the Ohio mixing with the browner water of the Mississippi. This is at Cairo, Illinois

Riverlorian Escapes

Actually, this is Jerry Hay taking a little side trip while the Delta Queen in the background is landed along the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Alabama, heading for Mobile.

Mark Twain at Hannibal

Becky Thatcher, Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain, and the Mayor and his wife greet the steamboat Delta Queen while landing at Hannibal, Missouri. Hannibal is a great little river town and was the home of Samuel Clemens.

Wabash River Flooding
What, me worry? Jerry Hay sits on his back porch during high water on the Wabash River, with the river flowing under him. It got close but this time the river did not make it into the cabin.

Boat Launching
This is no easy task. Jerry Hay had to back his vehicle well into the river to float the Wabash Queen off the trailer. His friend Tom keeps a line tied to the vehicle to keep from being swept downriver.

High Water Marks
This building in Milton, Kentucky along the Ohio River shows the high water levels from past floods. The highest one is the great flood of 1937 that put most cities and towns along the river underwater.

Old Wabash River Channel
What is now a backwater swamp was once a mighty river, but the river changed its course leaving this behind. This is called an oxbow and is located near New Harmony, Indiana

Mississippi River at New Orleans
This tall rig being towed under the U.S. 90 bridge at New Orleans does not appear as though it will clear the bridge, but it does by inches. If the river stage was higher, it would have to wait until lower water.

Road Kill Cafe

This little cafe' in Indiana near the Ohio River has an interesting name. Even more interesting is the small sign just above the entrance that reads "You kill it, we grill it"

Rock Island Lock on Mississippi River
While preparing to enter this lock at Rock Island, Illinois, you can also see the giant double-deck swing bridge that opens up for us. The lock has a towboat and barges in it heading downriver.

Swing Bridge on Cumberland River
This is another swing bridge on the Cumberland River at Clarksville, Tennessee in an open position while we pass through. A circular track is mounted on the top of the support pier and wheels turn the well-balanced bridge.

Grain Elevator in the Tennessee River
Yes, it is an abandoned elevator in the middle of Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River). It was left there when the lake was filled in 1944. It is a strange sight to come upon the first time.

Tugboats on Mississippi River
It took three tugboats to move this huge ship up the Mississippi River at New Orleans. Most ships move under their own power while on the river but this one was being taken to Avondale Shipyard for repairs.

Where is the River?

This is Jerry Hay's vehicle with his canoe, crossing the Utah desert in search of a river. He found it...the Colorado River!
Wabash River Beach
Friends gather on a large beach at Staff Island on the Wabash River in Indiana. Everyone is always welcome. All you need is a boat to get there.


Arctic Circle

Ever made a snowball from the Arctic Ocean? Jerry Hay did while traveling in the Arctic Circle in June of 2007.


Gift to the River Gods
Jerry Hay performs a ceremony and puts a hard-earned (climbed a coconut tree) coconut into a mountain river in a Hawaiian River, hoping it will reach the sea.

Alaska Glacier Climb
Melt water is rushing beneath Jerry as he sits in a glacier craves in Alaska. This is the beginning of a stream that eventually flows into the Kenai River and on to the Pacific Ocean.

River Pollution
Canoeing past junk cars is a sad sight, but efforts are being made to stop this and clean up the riverbanks. This is a crime!

Yukon River
Passing Sisters Island located on the Yukon River near Dawson in the Yukon Territory and visited by Jerry Hay, while exploring the Yukon River.

Many abandoned steamboats can be found along the Yukon River. There are three boats here that are slowly decaying.

Kentucky River
This boat is well equipped for trips on the river. Look closely and you will see a privacy curtain for those showers and porta-potty. Debbie also discovered that the dinner table also serves as a make-up stand. Yes, she applies make-up on a river trip!
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