Float #79: Huzzah Creek

24 Jul

Hwy. 49 to Red Bluff

F79_Huzzah

Huzzah Creek
Crawford County, Missouri
Saturday, July 13
8 Miles

We floated this section of the Huzzah back in March when the water was at springtime levels. Since this section of river was so close to our campsite we decided to try it again at summertime water levels. Admittedly, it turned out to be a slog of dragging and portaging but we still had a good time. We put in at the Hwy. 49 bridge access, turning off onto a dirt path on the north side of the highway that leads down to a gravel bar. Joining us on this float were our friend Jake from Nashville, DW’s brother Dustin, and our friends Greg, Charlie, Alex and Scott.

Huzzah Creek

Hwy. 49 bridge access

Huzzah Creek

Huzzah Creek

Me

Huzzah Creek

DW jumps from the bluff

We spent quite a bit of time swimming on the first two miles of the trip. There were a few spots with deep swimming holes and one spot with a rope swing and a small bluff suitable for jumping. After the first couple of miles the portaging really started. There is a section of the creek that is very wide and shallow where we had to walk for a bit. After that the rest of the creek was littered with downed trees and strainers that we were unable to float around. Back in March the water was high enough that we could float over or around most of the debris, but there seemed to be a lot more debris in general this time. The creek did flood a few times between then and now and I think many more trees were washed into the waterway.

Huzzah Creek

Huzzah Creek

Alex dodges a log

Huzzah Creek

Huzzah Creek

Low water bridge

There is one low water bridge on this section and the water was low enough we could float under it instead of having to portage around. We weren’t the only people on the river that day. Some other people from our camp were floating as well, several kayaks and a canoe. I wouldn’t want to be in the canoe at that water level, the kayaks were difficult enough! Charlie, Alex and Scott stayed at the front of the pack, Jake and I were in the middle and DW stayed in the back with Greg and Dustin. Dustin was in the slowest boat to begin with, which he then loaded down with a heavy cooler. Somewhere near the middle of the float he lost a shoe (always wear shoes that attach to your feet) which slowed him down even more since it is more difficult to portage with one shoe! Even so, he was only about 15 minutes behind Jake and me.

Huzzah Creek

Strainers

Huzzah Creek

Huzzah Creek

Approaching Red Bluff campground

Just above the Highway V bridge we came to the spot where the river-wide log jam was in the spring. The log jam had been washed out, so we didn’t have to climb over it. However, the debris just got spread over a longer area so we ended up climbing over it in individual pieces instead of one large obstacle. At one point the creek split around an island. The left channel required ducking under one log and climbing over a couple of others, while the right channel looked easier. Jake took the left and I took the right. Turned out the right was not easier! After the first couple logs, Jake had smooth paddling and actually came out ahead of Charlie, Alex and Scott, who had been in the front of the group. The right channel was nearly a constant portage of downed trees and driftwood choking the channel.

Eventually we arrived at Highway V bridge, two miles above our takeout at Red Bluff. There seemed to be more water down from V and we hardly had to portage at all. We should have put in there, but then we would have missed out on all that exercise and adventure! We all arrived safely back at camp an hour or so before dusk, with a story to tell and some new muscles.

Critter Count: Herons, Hawks, Turtles

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