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Home2017 Reelfoot Trip

2017 Reelfoot Swamp Tour

Submitted by Igor Veklser - April 23, 2017

The trip to the Reelfoot did not start out on the good note. For starters, our fearless trip coordinator Patty McLaughlin was under the weather and had to stay home and miss all the fun. The rain kept all paddlers on the edge all the way from Memphis until we got to the Reelfoot. And Kelly’s shiny “almost new” Subaru had a t-bone encounter im Mason, TN at the intersection with one of the locals who decided he did not want to stick around for police to arrive. I am pretty sure, Kelly had not intimidated him and he had other plans.

As luck would have it, things began to improve. The moment we arrived, the sun came out and it turned out to be a pretty gorgeous day. Kelly’s car was still in drivable condition and her kayak stayed in place during the impact and no one got hurt. We were all thankful.

The small group of paddlers were Kelly Sziraky and her son Alex, Mike and Pauline Vernon, Mike and Barbara Dale, new members Carrie and Tom Emens, and Igor Veksler. Our guide was David Haggard who did a fantastic job taking the group to the area known as a Deep Swamp of Cypress Forest.

Before we began the paddle, we were treated to a unique “Eagle release into the wild” event. The female eagle was hit by a car and end up with only a concussion and no broken wings or bones. After a very successful 6-week rehab, the eagle was ready to get out of her cage. People gathered at the back lawn of the park and witnessed David releasing the eagle into the wild. There is a short video posted on David’s Facebook page at

After the release, David and his assistant took the group around the Cypress Forest for a 2.5-hour paddle. Water level was slightly low and made few spots, especially around the entrance channel, little challenging but once we made it into the “open waters”, it was great.

After the float, group gathered at the famous Boyette's Dining Room for much needed relaxation and lots of good food. Unfortunately, David could not join us as he had out of town guests and had to get home. Despite the way the day started, it ended on a very good note and everyone end up having a very good time.

See the pictures here!

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