Float #23: Huzzah Creek

22 Sep

Hwy. 8 Bridge to Onondaga State Park

Huzzah Creek
Crawford County, Missouri
Saturday, September 17
9 Miles

After 4 weekends of floating in a row we took a week off and then I immediately experienced float withdrawal. I am not looking forward to winter when the dark, cold, kayakless days stretch on forever. To remedy my withdrawal I planned a trip on the Huzzah Creek for what was supposed to be a sunny, warm Saturday. However upon waking up Saturday it was discovered the day was not to be sunny at all or warm, but rather wet and chilly. I used to dislike rainy float trips, but since I’ve owned a kayak (especially one with a decent waterproof skirt) I kinda like them as long as it isn’t pouring. We met our friends Charlie, Alex, Scott and Megan at the Hwy. 8 bridge access. This access is directly across the water from Huzzah Valley Resort. There is limited parking under the bridge if you want free access, or you can pay Huzzah Valley to park at their place. We got started on the river around 11am in a slight drizzle. Right before we pushed off DW and I saw a bald eagle fly up the valley. Outside of some herons and an osprey that was pretty much the only wildlife we saw all day.

huzzah river, hwy 8 access

Access under the Hwy. 8 bridge

huzzah river

huzzah river

huzzah river

If you’ve ever been on the Huzzah in summer you know how crowded it can be. The Huzzah is a popular float destination for the party crowd. During a busy weekend the creek will be bumper to bumper with rafts full of¬† drunk, loud people. The banks will be full of trash and the water will be a murky, dirty mix of beer and piss. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? However, in the spring, fall and winter the Huzzah is quiet and secluded and water is crystal clear. The water can be low during dry spells in the fall and winter since the Huzzah has a small watershed, but you can usually float from Hwy. 8 down to the Meramec. A few bends down from the access we came across two canoes cleaning up the river. They had already collected a couple of tires and lots of cans. It’s always nice to see someone else doing a river cleanup on their own! Especially since we can’t haul out tires on our kayaks. A couple miles into the float the creek narrows and runs under a canopy of trees and arching trunks spanning the water. It is the prettiest section of the entire creek.

huzzah river

huzzah river

huzzah river

huzzah river

After the narrow section the creek widens quite a bit and we came upon a nice bluff bordered by a slough full of lily pads. Soon after that the Courtois Creek comes into the Huzzah. The Courtois (pronounced coat-a-way) is an even smaller creek that is great to float in the spring. It has lots of tight turns and obstacles near the top that makes for a fun float in a kayak. The Courtois was pretty low when we passed. Charlie paddled up a little bit and was scraping in low water right away. After the confluence it started to rain again. I bought a neoprene skirt for my boat back in the spring, but I never had a reason to use it until this float. It’s really tight to fit on the boat. I needed help to get it stretched around the back, but I’m sure it will loosen up if I use it more often. The neoprene really made a difference and repelled water like a champ. We soon came upon Huzzah Conservation Area, which stretches between the Meramec and Huzzah. There is a low-water bridge and an access on the right side. Usually you have to portage around the bridge or float over if the water is up. This time we were able float under easily because the water was so low.

huzzah river

huzzah river, courtois river

Courtois & Huzzah confluence

huzzah river, huzzah conservation area

Low water bridge at Huzzah Conservation Area

huzzah river

huzzah river, shiba inu

Portrait of a man and his dog

Not long after the conservation area the Huzzah flows into the Meramec. Remember those ducks that held us up for food last float trip? Well they were here again. We were surrounded and yelled at by a troupe of greedy ducks on the Meramec. Alex gave right in and fed Charlie’s sandwich to them. Poor Charlie had no post-float snacks. Yadi was very interested in the ducks and thought perhaps he should feed them, to himself.

huzzah river

huzzah river, meramec river

Huzzah & Meramec confluence

meramec river

meramec river, ducks

Alex & Charlie feed the ducks

meramec river

After we got away from the ducks the rain started to drizzle again and the take out came into view. We loaded up our boats and ran shuttle, then everyone headed back to my house (which is only an hour away) for a big spaghetti dinner. Next week DW and I are going on a four day trip and will be doing some overnight camping on the river. This will be the first time we’ve done an overnight in our kayaks. I hope everything fits!

Critter Count: 1 Bald Eagle, Blue Herons, Green Herons, Osprey

Bonus Prize: 1 Bass River Resort coozie

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