Float #139: Bourbeuse River

10 Feb

Reiker Ford to Mayers Landing

f139_bourbeuse

Bourbeuse River
Franklin County, Missouri
Sunday, February 5, 2017
11 Miles
Temperature: 58˚/37˚
Wind: WSW at 2.5mph
Water Level: 2.10ft. at Union gage

Hello, and welcome to the first float trip of 2017! Keeping in line with my goals for this year we floated a new-to-us section of river. We finally paddled on the Bourbeuse River after many years of avoiding it. The Bourbeuse is close to my house, but with so many beautiful miles of the Meramec in my area, the Bourbeuse doesn’t get much love. It isn’t the prettiest of rivers and can get very murky in the summer. We figured it would be a good float to hit up in the winter months when the water is clear. We were joined this time by my brother-in-law Henry, and our friend Amy.

DW and I dropped our gear at Reiker Ford Access and then DW drove back up to Mayers Landing Access to meet up with our other paddlers and run shuttle. This is a nice, easy shuttle that only takes about 15 or 20 minutes round trip. When everyone finished organizing their gear we shoved off around 9:30am. Another couple of kayakers put on the river right behind us (which would be very beneficial to us later at the end of the trip), so we weren’t the only ones hitting the water that day.

Bourbeuse River

Gravel bar access at Reiker Ford

Bourbeuse River

Reiker Ford Access

Bourbeuse River

DW, Amy and Ocoee

Bourbeuse River

The Bourbeuse is kind of like a miniature lower Meramec. There is much of the same sort of landscape; small bluffs and wooded banks. There are not many houses on this stretch of river despite it being pretty close to the town of Union. The water was at a good paddling depth for most of the trip, but there were a few spots where the kayaks dragged a bit.

Bourbeuse River

Bourbeuse River

Icicles on the bluff

Bourbeuse River

The day warmed up quite nicely and the sun was out for most of the trip. I expected to see more ice on the river, but there wasn’t any in the main channels. We did see some icicles on the bluffs. Wildlife was pretty sparse, as is normal for winter floats. We saw the usual hawks and river birds as well as a few turkeys. The Bourbeuse is supposed to have some good bass fishing too. Which reminds me that I need to buy my fishing license for this year!

Bourbeuse River

A log parked on a boulder

Bourbeuse River

Lovely scenery

Bourbeuse River

There wasn’t too much trash on the river to clean up, just the usual amount of litter. However there was one bank that was pretty awful. Someone has a lovely mobile home graveyard parked right on the edge of the eroding clay river bank. Insulation and sheet metal were falling off the trailers and into the river. How that doesn’t count as littering or illegal dumping, I don’t know. Maybe I should look into it! It’s only going to take one good flood to dump one of those trailers directly in the water.

Bourbeuse River

The slough on the left leading to the take-out

Bourbeuse River

Icebreaking our way to the take-out

Bourbeuse River

Mayers Landing

Around 4:00 we knew we were approaching the end of our trip and were keeping an eye out for our take-out on the left. However, unbeknownst to us, Mayers Landing is one of those accesses that used to be on the main channel, but then the river changed course. It is now a little ways up a slough and not at all visible from the main channel. Luckily the other kayakers on the river that day waved us in just as we were about to pass it up. So keep an eye out for a slough on the left side of the river that wraps around a large island. Might be a good idea to pin the location on your GPS so you don’t miss it. We definitely would have passed it up!

This weekend looks like unseasonably warm weather again. DW are taking a impromptu trip to the Eleven Point for an overnight float. We’ve never been there in the winter before, so it should be a different experience!

Critter Count: Hawks, Kingfishers, Turkeys

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One Response to “Float #139: Bourbeuse River”

  1. Rick Collins February 22, 2017 at 3:13 PM #

    I am glad to see you are posting float trip reports again. I really enjoy your blog.

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