The Great River Rumble sweeps the Mississippi - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The Great River Rumble sweeps the Mississippi

Boaters make their way through Dubuque's Lock and Dam 11 (photo credit Kathy Stierman) Boaters make their way through Dubuque's Lock and Dam 11 (photo credit Kathy Stierman)
Boaters downstream of Lock and Dam 11 (photo credit Kathy Stierman) Boaters downstream of Lock and Dam 11 (photo credit Kathy Stierman)
Boaters relaxing for lunch on Dubuque's Schmitt island (photo credit Kathy Stierman) Boaters relaxing for lunch on Dubuque's Schmitt island (photo credit Kathy Stierman)
Boaters waiting to pass through Lock and Dam 11 (photo credit Kathy Stierman) Boaters waiting to pass through Lock and Dam 11 (photo credit Kathy Stierman)
A group of boaters for the Great River Rumble (photo credit Kathy Stierman) A group of boaters for the Great River Rumble (photo credit Kathy Stierman)

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A group of boaters kicked off a weeklong journey down the Mighty Mississippi.

More than 150 boaters - in both kayaks and canoes - took to the Mississippi Sunday morning.

They got into the river at Mud Lake and paddled down to Dubuque's Lock and Dam 11. It wasn't the last lock and dam they'll see throughout the week.

"For us to go through all the locks and dams is kind of unique, and we go through as a group," land crew member and paddler Greg Balzer said.

Many are happy the trip is happening despite last week's flooding.

"We were quite concerned that the trip could be canceled because of the heavy flooding and rains from the week before," Balzer said, "but the homeland security people, the DNR, the Army Corps of Engineers had given us permits and felt that, because of the safety of the boats and the number of safety boats we have, that they would grant us permission to come down."

On the trip is 16-year-old Malo Genot. This is his first trip to the United States, and his hosts decided to help immerse him in english and show him the Mississippi River by taking him on the Great River Rumble.

"Malo needed to learn English, so he's coming here to learn English, and everybody around here is talking to him," Genot's host Cécile Lagandré said.

"A lot of people speak a lot, so I heard a lot of english," Genot said.

The thick fog hung close to the river at 8:30 Sunday morning, as the paddlers set out. The group hit Dubuque's Lock and Dam 11 by the time the sun burned through most of the fog. Boaters waited for the water to level out, and then proceeded down the river to their lunch spot on Schmitt Island.

The trip spans seven days of paddling. The Great River Rumble is in its 16th year and changes its route every year.

At 91 years, Don Krambeck is the oldest member of the trip. He said he plans on boating the river as "long as God will let me."

"When He calls me home, I know I'll have to leave," Krambeck said. "But for now, I thoroughly enjoy it.

"It's like a very nice communication with nature," Lagandré said.

This year's boaters come from all over, including Russia, France, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

Powered by Frankly