Float #124: Gasconade River

19 Jun

Schlicht Springs to Hwy. 17 Bridge

F124_Gasconade

Gasconade River
Pulaski County, Missouri
Tuesday, May 5
10 Miles

Guest post by DW. This is another float DW did without me, as my shoulder was still injured.

I met up with our friend Richard at his home in between the put in and take out about lunch time. As we were loading up we found one of the shuttle vehicles had a very leaky tire. So we quickly detoured to a service shop to get that issue addressed and then were off to drop a vehicle at the Highway 17 bridge, which also marks the confluence of the Roubidoux with the Gasconade. Then we headed to the put in which was about a 10 minute drive north on 17 and then a left on Riverside Road.

We prepared the boats and opted to paddle upstream to see if we could find the Schlicht Spring. I found the non-assuming spring branch after passing it up and going another .1 to .2 miles upstream. I hiked it for a short way and quickly determined this is probably better accessed from the road than hiking up, as it was fairly choked with debris. So we turned our boats downstream and continued our journey. This time of year the pollen has been released from various flora and deposited on the surface of the water, giving an illusion of scummy water. The Gasconade River is known for being a slow paddle with very little dominant current which allows for large areas of the water to be pollen covered. The wind was a good 8-12 miles per hour for a lot of the trip, so some stretches of the river were easier to paddle while others pushed us backwards if we were not paddling. The first few couple miles were easy paddling with some bluffs on river left and pastures on the right. This easy paddling continued until we turned the bend to head south. The first 4-5 miles were mainly long slow pools. I spotted a coyote who seemed startled by our presence. He scurried down the gravel bar and out of sight before the gravel bar terminated into the river.

Putting in at Schlicht Springs access

Putting in at Schlicht Springs access

Gasconade RiverGasconade River

Not far after the coyote disappeared from sight we noticed some heavy machinery on the left clearing a lot of ground. Maybe they are putting in a campground or perhaps just cleaning up the property’s river front. After we passed this construction activity an owl flew down from a tree. With only my cell phone for a camera I was unable to get a good shot or zoom in enough to determine which type of owl it may have been.

Shortly thereafter we approached the first somewhat swift water. There was a bit of a ledge to shoot through and a lot of big rocks on the right that had at some point tumbled down from the bluff above. There was a small spring on river right just after swift water, but appeared to be on private property. We actively started to search for a bubbling spring called Creasy spring that is supposed to be just past this area, but only found Battless Mill Spring also on river right just downstream. At the time we thought Battless Mill Spring may have been Creasy spring until we didn’t find another spring down river. There is a wooden X in the tree at the confluence of Battless Mill Spring where it confluences with the river. It is important to note that most of the Gasconade flows through private property and one should generally stay within the main river channel to avoid any trespassing issues. There are specifically stricter laws on the water ways in Pulaski county than there are for the rest of the state.

Gasconade River

Richard smokes next to a gas can

Richard smokes next to a gas can

Gasconade RiverGasconade River

Falling Springs shoals

Falling Springs shoals

Battless Spring branch

Battless Spring branch

Gasconade River

So about a mile after Battless Mill Spring, we saw a 6”-8” fish jump from the water. Almost immediately after that we noticed what we initially thought to be a catfish or maybe a gar surfacing. Within a few more seconds we got a better view as what most likely was a muskrat trying to board Richard’s kayak with a clump of freshly cut grass in his mouth. I guess once he saw Richard was a human and not a log drifting downstream he spit the grass out, dove down deep and disappeared to resurface somewhere out of our view. The wind switched to our back and we completed our 10 mile journey in 5 hours without stopping for any lunch break or swim breaks.

Critter Count: 1 Coyote, 1 Hawk, 3 Herons, 1 Muskrat, 1 Owl

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