Float # 18: Meramec River

10 Aug

Scotts Ford to Riverview

Meramec River
Crawford County, Missouri
Sunday, July 31
7 Miles

We returned from Colorado hoping the extreme heat would be gone, but that was not the case. Not wanting to spend another day trapped in the air-conditioned indoors we decided to do a Sunday trip on the Meramec. Our friends Charlie and Alex met up with us at Scotts Ford for a 7-mile day float. The water was still very cool despite the preceding month of temperatures in the upper 90s and above.

Looking upriver at Scotts Ford

The first half of this trip was on quick, but calm water. The water level was a little low. If we had been in a canoe we would have scraped a bit in spots, but we found plenty of deep holes for swimming. Just after lunch we spotted a northern water snake crossing the river and we saw another one later in the day. Charlie thought he saw a duck crossing the river, then he said it was a beaver, then it turned out to be someone’s tiny dog!

Richart spring

Richart Spring

Looking down on the river from Richart Spring

Halfway through the trip we came upon Richart Spring on the left side of the river. This spring is very small. There is a little pool just big enough for a couple people to sit in. We spent some time sitting in the cold spring water. Afterward the river water felt comparatively hot! We had not seen many people on the first half, but once we reached the spring we caught up with a huge group of canoeists and we kept passing each other the rest of the way to their take-out.

Rednecks and cows on the river

A couple of miles from the finish we passed a herd of cows standing on the right bank (yuck) and a couple of rednecks washing their camouflage truck on the left bank. I thought it was a perfect Missouri trifecta; cows, rednecks and rivers. Around the bend from there was a tight spot in the river where a couple of downed trees blocked most of the waterway. The large group had stopped there blocking up the bank making it even more tight. It was no problem for us kayakers, but we did get to see some carnage. There was a canoe with a girl sunbathing in a lounge chair while her boyfriend did all the paddling. He couldn’t turn the boat fast enough by himself and ran it sideways into the logs, flipping it over and swamping the boat. We all had a good laugh, I had been waiting for that boat to flip over and luckily I was there to see it. We turned around and rescued some of their gear that was floating downstream. The rest of their group righted the boat and everyone was fine. The large group took out at Indian Springs, a private campground and outfitter. We spent the last mile paddling through very flat water (great fishing, but boring paddling) until our take-out at Riverview. We loaded up the boats and headed home, arriving before dark.

Critter Count: Blue Herons, Green Herons, 2 Northern Water Snakes, Turtles, Snapping Turtles

Bonus Prizes: One regulation size Frisbee in perfect condition (until we got home and our dog put a hole in it)

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