Float #19: Meramec River

18 Aug

Woodson K. Woods to Scotts Ford

Meramec River
Crawford County, Missouri
Sunday, August 14
9 Miles

This past Sunday was my 30th birthday. I always do a float on or around my birthday and occasionally friends or family join in. This year we had a bbq on Saturday and many of my friends joined in on the float Sunday. The weather was beautiful, highs in the mid 80s and partly cloudy. I have never had such nice weather on my birthday in all my life. I was actually chilly in the morning and evening! We paddled from Woodson K. Woods (Hwy. 8 bridge) to Scotts Ford, taking advantage of our free shuttle from our friend at Adventure Outdoors. DW and I did this float back in April. Read the previous post for more background on this stretch of river.

Woodson K. Woods boat launch

meramec river

Zoe enjoying her float

My youngest sister, Abby and her friend Nicole joined us in a canoe and agreed to take our lab, Zoe along in their boat. Zoe used to go on all our floats back when we only had a canoe and she was a young pup. She is a 75 lb. lab and doesn’t come anywhere near fitting in a kayak, but we try to take her out in a canoe at least once a year. Now that she is getting old she tires easily, thus the snazzy life vest. When she was young she would swim a good 10 miles of every float trip. She thinks she can still do that now, but her body doesn’t agree. She enjoyed her day out and I enjoyed having her along. As soon as we took out she jumped in the car and immediately fell asleep.

meramec springs

Surfing the springs

DW surfing the spring

Maramec Springs

A third of the way into the trip we passed Maramec Springs where the cold water enters the river. We stopped across from the spring for lunch and some swimming. It a nice spot to swim because the warm river water and the cold spring water mix up here and you swim through alternating patches of warm and freezing water.

Just past the spring we saw a blue heron standing on the bank. He used the typical heron reasoning, “if I stand perfectly still you won’t see me.” It didn’t work. We also saw a bald eagle sitting in a sycamore. It was very close to where we had seen the pair of eagles and a nest back in April. We looked for the nest, but didn’t see it. Either it had been dismantled or the foliage was hiding it.

Toward the end of the trip we caught up with the large groups from the outfitter trips, which always seems to happen later in the day. We came across a tricky spot where a downed tree blocked most of the waterway. There were lots of canoes causing much confusion as to which direction to go around the tree. Most of the kayaks had no problem as we were able to float over the trunk of the tree and both our canoes made it as well. One of our kayaks collided with a confused canoeist and tipped her boat, causing her to lose her paddle. The one time we didn’t bring an extra paddle of course! We searched the water and the banks downstream, but never found it. It probably got stuck under a log on the river bottom in the swift water. Luckily someone had found a canoe paddle on the bank earlier and gave it to us to use, otherwise we would have had to tow the boat the remaining few miles. It really sucks to lose a kayak paddle. They are expensive.

The jumping cliff

We took at the Adventure Outdoors parking lot around 6pm. Everyone had a good time and it was an excellent addition to my birthday weekend. Coming up later this month is another possible Meramec float and hopefully we will make it to the Eleven Point before the weather cools down too much!

Critter Count: Turtles, Blue Herons, Green Herons, Kingfishers, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Northern Water Snake

Bonus Prizes: 1 much-needed canoe paddle, 1 camouflage blanket suitable for the dog

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