We are headed out on our deep south tour. One thing I have always want to do is ride bikes on the Mississippi River Levees. Doing this with our new Ebikes is going to make it a lot more exciting. Most of the Mississippi has a levee system that keeps the low land next to the river from flooding every year. We stop at Lake Chitoc State Park, in Arkansas which sits on the largest Oxbow lake in North America.
Riding these levees is fun and flat. I definitely have to get my bike behind back; it seems it's been a while since I been in a bicycle saddle for this long. We are on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi. Before flood control; the construction of the levees and drainage canals, the delta farmland would flood every year. Mostly becoming part of the river.
It was a short ride outside the State Park to get to the Levee. The levee road goes for miles with beautiful views of the river and the low land farms. We ride 20 miles south one day and then 20 miles north the next. The levee cuts through farmlands, forests, and river swamps. It has its own biodiversity of plants and animals, it is a very unique experience.The river is alive, changing the landscape daily. Lake Village, the current county seat, was eventually moved there in 1857. The county seat was moved several times because the river claimed the other towns. If you look at the state line between Mississippi and Arkansas, you can see how much the river has changed even since the states were created. Oxbow lakes are formed when a large river, in this case, the Mississippi, changes course. They do this by cutting through a river bend and rejoining the river farther downstream. The man-made levee system now keeps this from happening.
The state park we are in has an old steamboat boiler. Navigation on the river took a lot of skill, as Mark Twain noted in “Life on the Mississippi.” Riverboat Captains trained for years, learning every part of the river before they were allowed to captain their own boats. When the river was wild and untamed.We ended up staying here three nights, enjoying the evening sunset on Lake Chitoc. We'll have to make it back here. There is lots more levee to ride, but now it's off to Vicksburg and Natchez with a step back into time.