Friday, March 7th:
With snow on the ground Nolan and I took off for a 3 day, 31 mile float around 1p.m. This was my first trip in my new Mad River Synergy 12. Five minutes in, a tree snagged a lawn chair on my canoe, pulled my back end under and ripped the chair into the water. The water could not be more than 40 degrees, so I was already wet and cold. With one lawn chair down, we paddled on with the water level nice and high.
The upper section was very technical and had some pretty narrow chutes. The strainers left over from the floods caused the biggest challenge for us. When the water was this level it opens up several chutes to choose from along the way - sometimes you cannot see around the corner of which one will be best, but we only had 1 problem the entire trip. Shortly after the hwy 17 bridge there is a house on river left - there are 3 chutes to choose from - well, what we could not see was a tree had fallen and knocked down the powerlines (insulated) but black and we could not see the line about a foot above the water level. Lets' just say we got hung up and had to bail out and portage the kayaks - Nolan got pinned to a tree and in the chaos, dropped his paddle and it was swept downstream. During the fun, I managed to lose both of my fishing poles as well! We split the paddle in half and we each used it as a canoe paddle for a bout 1 mile. Luckily his paddle was stuck in an eddy and we managed to grab it for the rest of the trip. Maybe they have cleared it by now, but it was a little scary.
We camped along the river and settled in for a chilly night by enjoying some "traditional foil packs," vodka and redbull and a good nights sleep. Camped about a mile or two from Buck hollow and traveled about 8 miles today in 4 hours.
Saturday, March 8th:
Woke up to a very chilly morning and goofed around the campsite. We decided to play homerun derby with a stick, rock and the wall was the bluffs across the river. We didnt break camp until around 11am when the weather warmed up just a little bit.
Today went pretty much without a hitch and we didnt encounter any problems or real obstacles (perfect day of floating) this section of the river is beautiful with tall bluffs, swift water and a lot of wildlife. We had a bald eagle in front of us today but it never got too close and just sat up on the bluffs and watched almost as if it owned this stretch of river and wanted to show us it was king of the valley.
Stopped for lunch by huge bluffs and had some turkey and bread (which had been smashed and dried out in my dry bag). We finished the day by camping just upstream from Bay creek at a nice campsite. I remember by this time Nolan was almost frozen to death and swore from now on he would dress according to the weather and not wear shorts.
We built a lean-to shelter with a tarp knowing it was going to be a cold, cold night and settled down. We had Cheddar-Wursts for dinner along with some more Vodka and Redbull and Busch Beer. The thing that sticks out most is having all the firewood, most which was pine and how much wood we were burning, but it never seemed to get real hot?? Nolan also snored all night long Im talking like a freaking freight train!!
Floated about 15 miles today in about 6 hours.
Sunday, March 9th
It was cold last night, got down to 14 degrees (which breaks my record of camping in cold tempspreviously it was 18) I slept very little because of Nolans snoring and was a little slow to get out of the sleeping bag. Today was going to be a nice warm day and unfortunately we wouldnt enjoy it since we were getting off the river today.
Once again, today was a simple day of floating with no real excitement or problems. The water level did drop a lot from when we started since we did drag a few times on the way to Alley. Today we floated 8 miles in 3 hours.
Mad River Synergy 12
Necky Manitou 13
Next to Eminence, MO
Missouri Waterway guides by Oz Hawksley