My nephew Asa, and I put in at the public launch just south of the small town of Enterprise, MS on a 3 day weekend trip. The river had a vigorous current of honey colored water and as we began our way down the river, we could see that quite a number of deadfalls had been cut to clear the stream. In fact, we later found out that the entire 189 mile length of this river had been the target of a first class clearing. This created an obstacle-free journey and made for tranquil, easy paddling for all 3 days.
The personality of the river quickly changed from swampy areas with steep muddy banks to deep green forests punctuated with beautiful singing sandbars. From towering cliffs of sandstone and limestone to breathtaking carved and colorful claybanks that run on both sides of the river uninterrupted for a quarter of a mile with hanging bracken ferns dripping cool groundwater in sparkling streams into the river.
The Chickasawhay River is also known for cutting through some fascinating cliffs that reveal an abundance of marine fossils of the Tertiary period. A wide variety of mollusks and snails thrived in this area when it was the ocean floor of the Mississippi Embayment approximately 35 million years ago. By careful hunting along the face of these cliffs and exposed banks, you can find the remains of these original inhabitants and begin to get an idea of how much this area of east-central Mississippi has changed through the millennia.
Asa and I took out at a public launch near the small town of DeSoto and headed back to civilization with a feeling as if we had gone back in time for a few days.
Minimal supplies are available in the small towns. Quitman Canoe Rental Co. can provide canoe rentals as well as shuttle service.
Freedom 17 Cedar strip canoe
No fees or permits are required.
On I-20 from Jackson, MS travel east towards Meridian, MS. Take I-45 south to the North Enterprise exit into town and turn south on River road. Go 1 mile south of Enterprise H.S. to a public boat ramp on the left.
Quitman Canoe Rental Co.
"Canoeing Mississippi" by Earnest Herndon
"Canoe Trails of the Deep South" by Chuck Estes, Elizabeth F. Carter, and Byron Almquist
"Paddling the Pascagoula" by Scott Williams and Earnest Herndon