Float #46: Meramec River

10 Aug

Pacific Palisades to Allenton

Meramec River
Franklin County, Missouri
Sunday, August 5
6 miles

This was a short float we did with the St. Louis Adventure Group as part of the Wyman Center Poker Paddle charity benefit. In exchange for a registration fee we received 5 playing cards along different stops on the river. At the end the best poker hands received prizes. We didn’t get anything as all our hands were no good. That’s usually my outcome when I play poker, but at least I got to enjoy a nice float along with it.

I’ve floated this section of the river before, but it’s been a few years. Although it is much closer to St. Louis than most of our Meramec floats, it is still a beautiful section of river. The preceding night this area received a downpour of rain that brought the river up a couple feet and deposited a lot of sediment in the water. Our rivers have been very low all summer with the drought, so the rain was a blessing. Unfortunately the water wasn’t as pretty as usual and there was quite a bit of flood debris.

Our friend Mike joined us for this float. He was quite generous in covering our registration fee for the charity event. DW picks up so much trash on the Meramec that Mike was happy to give something back. Mike owns a nice piece of property along the Meramec just downstream from the River Round access. We met him on the river a few years ago in December when we were doing a cabin fever float. We picked Mike up at his house and drove to the Allenton river access to register and hop a shuttle to the put in at Pacific Palisades.

Meramec River

Pacific Palisades access

Meramec River

Great Egret

Meramec River

We paddled upriver a little bit so as to not get stuck in the large crowd of boaters getting on the river. A flying carp jumped out of the water and almost hit Mike’s kayak! You will see many flying carp on the big muddy rivers such as the Mississippi. I guess because the Meramec was so muddy they were jumping here too. We also saw a flying catfish later on in the float. When the river gets stirred up, catfish get frisky. After paddling up some more I noticed a large white bird flying by. He landed in a dead tree, giving me time to identify him as a Great Egret. I don’t see too many Egrets on the rivers I float; maybe one every few years.

Meramec River

Meramec River

Classic Car Bank

Meramec River

After we adventured upriver for a bit, we turned and went downstream to catch up with the rest of the group. DW, Mike and I picked up a lot of trash. I’m sure some portion of it had been washed down in the rain, but there was a large variety of trash. Usually the majority is beer cans, but here it seemed to be styrofoam containers and a fair amount of glass. We also passed a river bank that had been stabilized with old cars. Thankfully this method of river stabilization is no longer implemented!

Meramec River

Meramec River

Meramec River

Although the day was cooler than previous weeks, it was still pretty muggy. Though the water was murky and smelled of good clean mud, I couldn’t help but swim. It was refreshing none the less. Hey, some people would probably pay a spa good money to bathe in cool waters fortified with natural soils and minerals!

The scenery along this stretch of river is pretty and there aren’t many people or buildings within sight. This section is at the very edge of the Ozark Mountain foothills. So there are some low bluffs and rolling hills. With the drought we’ve had all summer some of the trees have started to turn colors already. A good month and a half ahead of usual. Others have given up entirely. This is a really bad year for tree growth!

Meramec River

Meramec River

Meramec River

Allenton access

We took our time on the float and didn’t paddle much until the end. I think we were some of the last people to finish! At the Allenton access we were treated to some barbecue, loaded up our boats and headed back home. It was a nice float for a Sunday and a fun group of people. Coming up next is an overnight trip on the Eleven Point which should be a lot of fun!

Critter Count: Blue Herons, 1 Great Egret, Flying Fish

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