Hazelgreen to Hwy. 133
Pulaski County, Missouri
Saturday, June 13
This was another Gasconade float trip, scouting in preparation for the NSS Convention. I am finally back to kayaking after my long recovery from a shoulder injury in April. I was a little nervous that I would get too tired or wouldn’t have the strength in my shoulder to maneuver well, but I ended up doing just fine. This was a very pleasant day for a float trip, that started and ended with sunny skies and a few small rain showers in between. We met with our friend Richard at the Hwy. 133 access. The access is at the site of the old Hwy. 133 bridge, which is no longer there. Heading North on Hwy. 133, cross over the Gasconade River and Bear Creek. Immediately after Bear Creek is a small road on the right. Head down that road and it will eventually dead-end at the river. This is not an official access, but is a popular spot for locals and fishermen. There is limited parking on the edges of the road.
Richard loaded his boat onto our car and we left his truck there and drove up to our put-in at Hazelgreen Access. This is an official conservation access at the old Route 66 bridge. I paddled upstream a little bit to get my bearings. Two months off from kayaking seems like a long time when you’re used to paddling most weekends!
This section of the Gasconade ended up being much faster than most of the other sections we’ve done. The water flowed quite nicely and there were a few ripples. The river was still up a little bit from all the rain we keep getting, but the water was not muddy at all. We saw a lot of wildlife on this trip. There were the usual turtles and assortment of birds, as well as a Bald Eagle and a couple of deer.
Toward the middle of our trip we got a little wet from some rain showers. It was very spotty, and you could see the rain coming and then paddle out from under that particular cloud and be dry again. Thankfully, it was a warm rain on a warm day, so I just got wet and didn’t even bother with my kayak skirt or rain jacket. We eventually stopped for lunch and a swim and checked our progress. We realized we were knocking out the miles pretty quickly so we slowed down a little bit for the last hour or so of our paddle.
Sooner than we expected, the Hwy. 133 bridge could be viewed just around the bend. Since it was only about 2pm, we stopped at a gravel bar and swam for a bit. The water felt nice and refreshing, but not too cold. I saw several fish jumping, but I didn’t bring my fishing pole. It would have been a good day for it and we certainly had the time to kill! After about half an hour we returned to our boats and paddled the last half mile to our take out. Now that the sun was out again, there were several families at the access swimming and having a good time. We loaded up our boats into Richard’s truck and drove back to Hazelgreen to pick up our car. The next float trip we did was after yet another round of flooding with high water on rivers everywhere. We did a quick, muddy float on the Roubidoux, which I will post here soon!
Critter Count: Turtles, Kingfishers, Herons, Hawks, 1 Bald Eagle, 2 deer