Float #1: Meramec River

24 Feb

Bruns’ Bridge to Chouteau Claim

Meramec River
Franklin County, Missouri
Sunday, February 13
9 miles

After a long, cold winter the first float of the year is finally here! We usually float at least once in January, but this winter has been full of snow, dangerously low temperatures and frozen rivers! The weather finally broke with temps in the mid 50s and lots of sun. We hauled out the boats, scrounged around for our gear, and hit the river.


Downriver from Bruns' Bridge

Snow on the bank

We planned to float from River Round to Robertsville State Park, but the park was still closed from the most recent round of ice and snow. Instead we put in at Bruns’ Bridge and floated to Chouteau Claim. Bruns’ Bridge is an old wrought iron bridge, built in 1888. No longer in use for traffic, this bridge serves as a “locals-only” (aka not official) put in and a popular hangout. Since this is not an official put in there is no boat ramp and the only access is down a muddy, steep and, in our case icy, path.

DW does some ice breaking

Half underwater shot

Ice chunks floating downstream

A swift slide down the path left a coat of mud on the boat and nearly swept me into the water. We finally hit the river around noon and floated down to River Round access where we met up with some other friends who got a late start. It was a beautiful day with snow and ice still covering most of the ground and chunks of ice in the water, but the air was warm and the sun was shining. I cracked open a cold beer and let the water wash away the stress of the workweek. The only other people out on the river were some fishermen in a john boat.


Tree damage from the New Year's Eve tornado

DW surfs a berg

Late afternoon sunlight

After a pleasant lunch on a gravel bar we continued our journey down to Chouteau Claim. Chouteau Claim access is located where the Bourbeuse River meets the Meramec. The boat ramp is located about 50 feet up the Bourbeuse, a fetid, slow-moving, snake infested tributary. The river was mostly frozen, but there was a small path of open water leading up to the ramp. We got off the river just before twilight, loaded up our boats and headed home to prepare for another grueling week until the next float.

Critter Count: 1 Bald Eagle, 2 Deer, Ducks

One Response to “Float #1: Meramec River”


  1. Float #8: Meramec River « Fllog - September 8, 2011

    […] section and relatively quiet. Bruns bridge has an unofficial access that I’ve documented in a previous post. After the bridge the river makes a 4 mile long horseshoe bend that is very pretty and quiet. […]

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