Mike Clark | St. Louis Public Radio

Mike Clark

Mike Clark set out in a canoe nearly a month ago to an undisclosed, isolated location on the Mississippi River.
Big Muddy Adventures

For most people, the main ingredients of social distancing and self-quarantine include the walls of one’s dwelling, a solid stash of groceries and a comfy couch. But Mike Clark isn’t most people. And when St. Louis-area officials began urging residents to shelter in place, the founder of Big Muddy Adventures and his dog Dolly headed for an unusual place: a spot he’s dubbed “Quarantine Island.”

The experienced canoeist and adventurer has lived on the remote island in the Mississippi River for nearly a month now, doing his part to flatten the coronavirus curve — and benefit the Gateway Resilience Fund while he’s at it. Big Muddy Adventures is encouraging people to pledge $1, $5 or maybe even $10 to the local COVID-19 relief fund for each day Clark stays put.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, he checked in with host Sarah Fenske from his temporary home. He started by describing the scope and characteristics of his wild surroundings.

Mike "Muddy Mike" Clark, standing in the stern, guides adventuregoers underneath the Eads Bridge near downtown St. Louis on a recent afternoon.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite its ever-present vastness along the Missouri-Illinois border, the Mississippi River is easy for locals to take for granted. And all too often, residents completely avoid the river.

It’s one thing to drive above it on a highway or eat a meal at a restaurant overlooking the water; relatively few actually travel its meandering length. But the people behind Big Muddy Adventures are aiming to change that, one canoe trip at a time.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with the company’s founder and lead guide, Mike Clark, who is better known as “Muddy Mike.” Also participating in the discussion was Roo Yawitz, general manager of Big Muddy Adventures.