CANOE ADVENTURE INFO:
WHERE: The meeting point depends on which trip you choose -- the launch location for the 4.5 mile trip featured in our report is just over an hour's drive away in Mississippi. Exact address: Across from 13679 Cable Bridge Road, Pass Christian, MS 39571
COST: Rental is $52 per canoe. Canoes fit one or two adults, plus two small children. Hiring a guide is extra.
COMPANY: Wolf River Canoe & Kayak
PASS CHRISTIAN, Mississippi (WGNO) - It's time for another wilderness workout with our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, and this time she's canoeing down the Wolf River with expert guide, Joanna Dorris of Wolf River Canoe & Kayak.
This cool escape can be for families, friends or solo travelers -- and most people rent the canoes (or kayaks) and then take off on their own. These are very flexible adventures with opportunities for camping, pausing for a picnic or just relaxing in the water or on the sandy river bank. Here are Stephanie's top five reasons to canoe down the Wolf River:
1. It's a power trip.
The canoes have two seats, but solo travelers are welcome -- and families can put two adults and two small children in one canoe.
Our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, manned her own canoe, while Wolf River Canoe & Kayak guide Joanna Dorris paddled for WGNO photographer Derek Felton, so that he could concentrate on getting the best video.
Balance is important, so if you're going solo, you must work a little harder to keep your canoe steady.
Summer storm alert: If the river reaches 8 feet high, the strong current presents a safety issue, so rentals are put on hold until the level goes down. The average water level is 6 feet, and the day of our Cool Escapes taping, it was 7.15!
2. You can get a pedicure along the way.
Joanna let us in on a fun fact from the river: While you sit in the cool water, you can feel the minnows nibbling at your feet! Apparently, they like to eat dead skin, so it's almost like getting an "all natural" pedicure.
We spent about 20 minutes in the river, relaxing and sharing adventure stories.
Eventually, a dark cloud sent us scurrying back to the canoes!
3. The views are awesome.
As you paddle along, think about the history linked to this region. There are several different Native American tribes that traveled via canoe on the Wolf River. Early explorers navigated the river this way too.
Wolf River Canoe & Kayak offers several different trip options, ranging from four miles to 10.6 miles -- and many active travelers choose to camp on the river bank and make it a two-day adventure. There are no assigned campsites -- so you can stop whenever you're ready for a break.
4. Some of the best sand is far from big, crowded beaches.
It's not exactly the sugar-white sand found in lots of places along the Gulf Coast, but it comes close! Whether you're pitching a tent or simply wading into the cool water for some heat relief, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the feeling of soft sand between your toes.
5. Answering the call of the wild can be fun!
What a great time we had tackling the four and half mile journey! Our guide Joanna must have started canoeing when she was a toddler, because she says she's been navigating the Wolf River for three decades.
Guides are not always part of the journey -- but they can be hired at an additional cost. We were very fortunate to have Joanna with us, to help tell the story of this Cool Escape. Most people simply rent canoes or kayaks and make their own way down the river.
P.S. There are multiple theories on how Wolf River got -- and kept -- its name. Several local experts say it was named for the red wolves known to frequent the area. Here's another theory: According to the Wolf River Conservancy , legend says early French explorers named the river for a Chickasaw guide named "Loup," which is the French word for wolf. Both could be true!