Roubidoux Spring to Hwy. 17 Bridge
Pulaski County, Missouri
Saturday, June 20
Another flood float! Seems like this year has been nothing but flood floats. This is a very short float on the Roubidoux, a creek that runs through Waynesville, MO and usually looks pretty inviting. This day it was very high, but nothing dangerous, as the creek is wide enough below the spring to prevent any strainers or blockages. There are many more miles of the Roubidoux above the spring that are floatable, but there are no accesses. Unless you know someone who owns land on the creek, there is little chance you can float it without getting your vehicle towed or ticketed for trespassing. However, these three miles from the spring to the confluence with the Gasconade are mostly through town and there is public parking on either end. It would make a nice short float with children or a good tubing float. This day DW and I were joined by our friend Richard. We met up at the city park to scout the water level and then went up to the spring to put our boats in the water. Roubidoux Spring is also in a city park, but due to flooding the park was closed that day. We parked our vehicles across the street, hopped the yellow caution tape and carried our boats down to the parking lot (which was underwater). I guess we weren’t quick enough because a city police officer pulled into the park to tell us it was closed. Fortunately, he was very accommodating and let us put our boats on the water provided we didn’t linger too long in the area. After he left we paddled up the flooded banks to the spring, where DW played in the massive boil for a few minutes. Then we turned and headed downstream on the muddy waters.
The first two miles of the trip the water was moving quickly and not yet backed up from the Gasconade. We didn’t really do any paddling, just steering. There are a couple of nice bluffs along the way and you can’t really see much of the town or road, even though it is very near the creek. By now, I am getting very tired of the smell of flood mud and I long for the clear, cool streams I am used to! However, it doesn’t look like any respite from this rain is in our foreseeable future for this summer.
We saw a few herons and hawks along the creek, but there wasn’t much else in the way of wildlife out and about on the water. As we approached the Gasconade the water slowed down a bit. There were many small eddys, boils and whirpools on the edge of the stream where the water washed over submerged debris. This is pretty common on flooded streams and is yet another reason why only paddlers with lots of experience should attempt these trips!
After less than an hour of floating we arrived at our take-out. The access is usually under the Hwy. 17 bridge at the Gasconade river, but that day the entire parking area was underwater and the Roubidoux flowed right up to the access road. I kept tight to the edge of the Roubidoux as I maneuvered to the access. The Gasconade was very high and rising, so I didn’t want to get pulled into that! There were many large logs, trees and debris flying down the stream as it ripped by at quite a speed for what is usually a slow river. We pulled our boats up to the car and drove the couple of miles back to Richard’s vehicle at the springs. Afterward we ate lunch in town and did some more scouting along the flooded Big Piney. Later that evening Richard told us that the Gasconade had risen nearly to the edge of the bridge, many feet above where it was that afternoon!
Critter Count: Herons, Ducks, Hawks