When the summer days get warmer and warmer, who can resist the urge to go out on the Mississippi River? On a sunny day in June, the north Marina in Guttenberg was calling my name, and Captain Joe’s Mississippi River Charter boat was gently rocking with the waves of the Mississippi River. In the 17ft center console Boston Whaler boat was a group of three people getting ready to tour the river for four hours. I felt a strong urge to join them, and Captain Joe’s big wave for me to hop in was the push I needed. The boat rocked as I got in, and I quickly grabbed the sides of the boat before I took a seat. So, my day on the Mighty Mississippi River began in Guttenberg, as we explored the beautiful river valley along the border of Clayton County.
Captain Joe climbed into the boat, and we were off to explore the river! The propeller beneath us roared to life as we set sail, causing the water to bubble and splash beneath us. As the boat picked up speed, the breeze blew my hair back and whistled in my ears. It was loud enough that I failed to notice one of the patrons was calling for my attention until she put her hand on my shoulder. She introduced her group, which consisted of herself and her siblings, and told me they were there to see the waterfowl. I apologized for crashing their party, they just laughed and said, “The more, the merrier!”
Soon, the boat slowed down, and eventually stopped, as we floated toward a crescent-shaped bank in the middle of the river. Captain Joe pointed out a group of ducks that were swimming toward the bank, and our group watched as they waddled out of the water, shook out their tail feathers and quacked for each other as they searched for food. The boat slowly crept closer to the bank, and we could see fluffy yellow ducklings follow their mothers as they explored the area. As we watched the ducks and ducklings waddle about, Captain Joe pointed out a Blue Heron standing in the shallow bank. Its long legs poking out of the water, and long beak darting into the water to catch a fish flopping in the shallow water. Noticing our stare, the heron ruffled the grey-blue feathers on its wings and flew off the bank with the wind, soaring out into the open sky and down the river.
Soon Captain Joe let us off at the Marina in Guttenberg and gave us a farewell so we could find a bite to eat. I’d known the area for a long time, and I suggested the Picket Fence Café to eat. They took my advice and we had a nice meal together at the café. The food was good, however I knew that the pie was even better. I got them all to try a slice of pie from the display case, and for about five minutes the entire group was silent. Each bite of that pie gave us a delightful scent of sweet berries, covered by a flakey, buttery crust. Perfectly browned on the top, the crust was thick enough to support the decadent berry filling within. I always save the crimped edge of the crust for last, savoring that golden, final reminder of a truly marvelous pie. It was a sweet treat to end our day of sightseeing and bird watching, and a perfect way to end such a day.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Guttenberg Chamber of Commerce