Float #20: Meramec River

26 Aug

Bruns’ Bridge to Chouteau Claim

meramec river map

Meramec River
Franklin County, Missouri
Saturday, August 20
9 miles

Our two best friends from NYC, Nadia and Aaron, were in town to visit family and stopped by to spend the day with us. We treated them to a day of floating on the Meramec near our house. We borrowed a fourth kayak from a friend and headed out to the river around 11am. DW and I dropped them at Bruns’ Bridge and ran the shuttle. On the way back to the put-in, DW got a phone call that our doberman, Hedwig, was running around at the church 2 miles from our house. So we had to delay the trip by a half hour to go wrangle her and lock her inside. She was just trying to tell us the fence was broken, but I guess she couldn’t chase the car fast enough!

Bruns' bridge meramec river

Nadia at Bruns' bridge access

Bruns' bridge meramec river

The old Bruns' bridge

When we finally returned from our diversion the sun was shining, the water was warm and we could tell a good day was ahead of us. The first 3 miles of this trip are very slow water. The river makes a lazy journey around a large horseshoe that gives its name to the River Round access. The Little Meramec River comes in on the right. It’s really more of a creek, but it can turn into a small river when the spring rains come or when the Meramec is flooded and backed up. On the back side of the horseshoe the river picks up a little bit as it passes River Round access and the next 6 miles are faster water. We spent a lot of time on the first 3 miles with multiple swim breaks and a bunch of litter to pick up.

The first bend of the river round

By the time we passed River Round we were all a few beers deep and having a great time. I think Aaron started flipping his boat around then. He’s very talented at rolling the kayak under, he just doesn’t roll it back upright. The river was full of locals; lots of tubes and small rafts. Everyone was having a fun and lazy day on the late summer water.

As the afternoon wore on the sky clouded over, but it was still warm. We passed the jumping cliff just above Old Cove campground and everyone took a few turns diving in. Old Cove Canoe is a small outfitter and campground between River Round and Chouteau Claim. This stretch of river isn’t as popular with the city crowd as the upper Meramec, so if you’re looking for a little less crowded Meramec float, they are a good choice. A couple of miles from Chouteau Claim we realized we drank all the beer and Nadia flipped her boat for the first time that day, then Aaron flipped his for the third or fourth. We spent some time gathering everything together; lost a paddle for a few minutes then found it and lost one of Nadia’s shoes for good. On the gravel bar where we stopped to regroup there were a pair of pastel pink river shoes. Although they were a little small for her, Nadia didn’t have to go shoeless for the remainder of the trip. We took out at Chouteau Claim in the early evening, piled everything in the truck and headed back to the house for bbq and more beer!

The jumping cliff

Railroad bridge at Chouteau Claim

Critter Count: Blue Herons, Green Herons, Kingfishers, Turtles

Bonus Prizes: A black plastic crate, a pair of pink river shoes

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