Float #80 & 81: Meramec River

9 Aug

Blue Springs Creek to Meramec State Park

F80_Meramec

Meramec River
Crawford and Franklin Counties, Missouri
Saturday, August 3 & Sunday, August 4
12 Miles

After the strain and excitement of the MR340 it was time to kick back on a relaxing, lazy float trip. Our fellow SLAG member and friend, Ben, organized a short overnight trip on the Meramec near our house. We’ve actually never done an overnight trip on the Meramec because it’s so close to home; we usually just head to our house to sleep. Ben planned to camp at Green’s Cave in the Hamilton Hollow area of the park, which is one of our favorite places, so we decided to join him. We put in at Blue Springs Creek conservation access in Bourbon around 1pm on Saturday. The day started out overcast, but the weather was pleasant and mild. I had forgotten to bring my sunglasses, so the sun was sure to come out, and it did!

Mermec River

Blue Springs Creek access

Meramec River

Meramec River

Fog rises off Blue Springs Creek

Meramec River

I spent most of the day fishing and not much time paddling. I didn’t catch any keepers, but I caught several small bass and the world’s smallest sun perch. He was about the same size as my crawfish lure. We stopped several times to swim and enjoy a lazy day on the river. There were a lot of people on the river that day and a lot of rafts, but since we put in so late we were able to miss most of them.

Meramec River

Meramec River

Meramec River

Before long we passed Sappington Bridge access and it was only a couple of miles from there to Green’s Cave. Green’s Cave is on the right side of the river. Hamilton Hollow creek comes in on the right and then there is a large island and a gravel bar. Just on the other side of the gravel bar you will see a very small creek flowing out of the trees. Follow that creek up into the mouth of Green’s Cave. Please don’t enter the interior of the cave, as all MO caves are closed in an attempt to stop the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a devastating disease infecting bats all across the country.

When we arrived at our camping spot there were several large groups of people swimming. It was after 5pm, so we only had to wait about 20 minutes for everyone to get back in their boats and head to their take out. After that the river was quiet and we didn’t see anyone else. I set about getting our tent put up and other domestic chores while DW and the other guys paddled the canoes across the river to collect firewood. We had two canoes full of wood and we managed to burn it all. One of the guys in our group had a brand new tent he had never set up before. When he took it out of the bag he remarked on the lack of poles included with the tent. The first line of the instructions were to, “thread the poles through the sleeves” so it was definitely supposed to have them! He ended up sleeping on top of the tent and using the rain fly to keep the dew off. Several other people were sleeping on camp rolls near the fire, so he wasn’t alone.

Meramec River

Hauling wood across the river

Meramec River

Sunset on Green’s Bluff

Meramec River

We spent the evening cooking our meals, sharing stories and gazing up at the stars. I went to bed around midnight and slept pretty solidly. The next morning we woke up around 8am and broke camp. I threw some breakfast burritos on the fire and by the time we were packed up breakfast was nice and hot. It was only a few miles from camp to our take out. We took off the river at the lower access in Meramec Park, by the campground. We were home by noon with plenty of time to do chores and gear up for our next excursion: vacation in Asheville, NC. The next few installments of the blog will feature some out-of-state floating and a rafting trip on the Ocoee River!

Critter Count: Turtles, Green Herons, Blue Herons

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