Helena, AR - Last weekend March 5th and 6th, Team East instructed a two day Trainer Course with Leave No Trace partner Quapaw Canoe Company on the banks of the "Big Muddy." The weather forecast over the weekend was stormy, but the 13 course participants from Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas stayed positive and enjoyed the Helena outpost's warm and dry space as our classroom for the first day.
The weather cooperated and the decision to get on the river on Sunday sent a palpable thrill through the group! Driving the Quapaw Chevies down the levy to the put-in was a chilly shuttle Sunday morning, but the group loaded the canoes and were on the water for an early morning adventure.
We were also lucky to have two Mighty Quapaw apprentices as participants on the course as well as our captains for the river trip. The Center awarded the apprenticeship program a Connect Grant so these two young men could take the Trainer Course and then share the Leave No Trace information they learned with the people they will guide on the Lower Mississippi River.
For many (including ourselves) on the course this was the first paddling experience on the Mighty Mississippi River. This was definitely an experience to remember as the video hopefully illustrates! A warm thank you to John "Driftwood" Ruskey, founder, director, and river guide of the Quapaw Canoe Company.
May the river be with you,
Agata and Jason