Float #68: Little & Big Indian Creeks

2 May

Little Indian Creek Conservation Area to Red Horse

F68_IndianCreeks

Little & Big Indian Creeks
Franklin County, Missouri
Friday, April 19
5 miles

DW and I were both off work on this Friday and we wanted to go for a short float trip. Unfortunately, we had a lot of rain the previous day and all the rivers were high and rising. So we decided to float the creeks near our house instead. There are several creeks that lead into the Meramec river within a few miles of our house. These creeks are not floatable very often. When there is enough water, it is usually in the middle of a rainstorm, after dark, or we’re at work. This particular day the sun was out and we took a quick road trip to scout the water. The temperatures were in the mid forties, but the water looked just about perfect; plenty of flow but nothing too tricky. We headed back to the house and loaded our boats, ran shuttle and put in on Little Indian Creek at the conservation area. There is a low water bridge here, but the water was flowing over it so we walked our boats up a little bit, put in and ran the bridge. Great fun!

Little Indian Creek

Little Indian Creek

An old bridge

Little Indian Creek

Once we floated out of the conservation area we kept our eyes peeled for fences or other obstructions. We have never floated this creek past where we put in and it is private land on both sides, so you never know what you’re going to run into. Luckily, no one had any fences across the water and there were no major obstructions. The creek is small and twisty with plenty of small riffles and tight turns taking us past cattle fields and forests.

Little Indian Creek

Little Indian Creek

Portaging to Big Indian Creek

Little Indian Creek

Confluence of the creeks

Big Indian Creek

Little Indian Creek

Soon we came to our next low water bridge at Old Hope Church road. The water was not flowing over this bridge, so we had to portage. It is very close to Big Indian Creek, so rather than getting back in our boats to float a few more feet, we just dragged them over the gravel to Big Indian Creek. Big Indian Creek is much wider and usually has a bit more water than Little Indian Creek. On this particular day it felt just like we were floating the upper Courtois or Huzzah. The spring trees were blooming on the hillsides and the grass was emerald green. Soon the sun came out in full force and I had to get rid of a few layers of clothing.

Little Indian Creek

Old Hwy. K bridge

Little Indian Creek

The creek slows approaching the Meramec

Meramec River

High water on the Meramec

Big Indian Creek flows underneath Old Hwy. K bridge before running into the Meramec. As soon as we approached the bridge the water slowed down a lot, backing up from the high water on the Meramec. As we paddled into the confluence the water was spread over the banks and through the trees on the banks. We paddled around for a bit through the trees, which is always a fun experience. We tried to go upriver a little bit, but there wasn’t much room on the side of the river to paddle up. The water was pretty swift all the way across.

Meramec River

Floating through the trees

Meramec River

Meramec River

Red Horse access

Once we paddled into the main channel we rode the current down to Red Horse access. A short trip that usually takes 5 or 10 minutes was over in 2 or 3! We floated right up to the boat ramp and congratulated ourselves on a successful first run of the creeks. It may be a long time before conditions are this perfect to float it again.

Critter Count: Herons, Ducks, Hawks

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