Float Trip


On Friday, I took a vacation day.  We drove southwest, out to Meramac State Park and rented a canoe for the day.  The state’s canoe livery hauled us and about a dozen other people up river, about five miles.  Our yellow school bus was serenaded to such favorites as, The wheels on the bus go round and round … 

We use to float quite a bit when we first moved to Missouri, and were younger.  In recent years though the appeal of Missouri’s streams had begun to wane.  The rivers were crowded.  The other floaters were loud, rude, sometimes nude and generally drunk.  I took to calling the Meramac River, Sodom on the Meramac.  Today was different.  The dozen or so other floaters quickly dispersed and were then seldom seen after.  Frequently Anne and I found ourselves alone with the river.  I’ve come to an epiphany, if you want to float Missouri’s streams, don’t do it on the weekend.

The river was high after all the rain that we have been having.  The Meramac is only a class one river, but the current was moving pretty well today.  We only had to paddle to move around snags, not to move forward.  We saw a few Green Herons, a couple of Great Blue Herons and lots of swallows.  We glided quite close to one of the Great Blue Herons, maybe forty feet or less.  I got quite a few good pictures of it.  There were also a couple of unidentified birds.  Every turtle on the river must have been out sunning itself.  Somehow knowing that with the weekend, their lives will be like submariners, dive, dive, dive!  We also saw lots of froggies jumping about.  According to the state park’s nature center, Green Herons are like the alpha predator of froggies.

We stopped on a gravel bank for a picnic lunch.  The family that had brought a dog along, floated by us.  This dog did not want to stay in the canoe.  I think that he wanted to be in the raft, along with all the kids and not in the canoe with mom and dad.  Unfortunately for him the outfitter did not want dogs in the rafts.  So he jumped ship and learned how to swim all in one fell swoop.

Floating along we heard the sound of running water.  Doing our best impression of the mighty voyageurs, that have long preceded us on this river, we turned our canoe around and paddled towards the sound of water.  We first found a little waterfall.  We beached the canoe on the rocks of the rapids and went exploring.  We found a huge cave, one of its two main entrances are pictured below.  There were many swallows that inhabited the mouth of these caves.  This cave is just one highway exit from the most advertised cave in the country, Meramac Caverns.

The takeout point pulled into sight.  The five miles had run out way too quickly.  I guess we’ll just have to do it again, someday.

Anne at Cave Entrance

1 thought on “Float Trip

  1. If you ever do want to go canoeing/kayaking on the weekend, go *early*! One Labor Day weekend, we finished our kayaking trip on the S. Branch AuSable (12 miles) and just as we were driving back by the put-in on our way home, about eight huge pickup trucks parked all at one time (fwhompf) and we could hear “Lola” blasting out their open windows. I bet they had a great time that day but I’m glad we were already off the river!

    And I *love* dogs but people should not take them where they are not welcome.

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