Tag Archives: Blue Springs Creek

Float #97: Meramec River

17 Apr

Blue Springs Creek to Meramec State Park

F97_Meramec

Meramec River
Crawford & Franklin Counties, Missouri
Saturday, April 12
12 Miles

This trip was part of SLAG’s (St. Louis Adventure Group) annual Spring Blossom campout. Every April the group camps at Meramec State Park and does a float trip nearby. Meramec Park is pretty close to our house and a float trip on the Meramec this time of year is always enjoyable. We camped out Friday and Saturday nights in the group camp at the park. The group camps are very nice and a little bit excluded from the main campground. We didn’t take much gear since we were close to home, but we did bring an extra canoe and a kayak for some other group members to use. After an enjoyable Friday night of fun around the campfire we woke up on Saturday morning, grabbed our float gear and headed to Blue Springs access. After a short 20 minute drive we arrived at the put-in, unloaded our gear and everyone drove their vehicles back to the park. They then carpooled back to the access. I waited with the boats along with a few other members of the group. After about an hour everyone else arrived and we set off.

Launching from Blue Springs

Launching from Blue Springs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A week earlier we had some flash flooding, so the Meramec was still on its way down and a little muddy. The water was much more clear at the put-in than it was down by the park. I thought about bringing my fishing pole, but didn’t and ended up regretting it as it was a beautiful day for fishing. The river was running a little faster than normal and there was a brisk wind at our backs the whole time, so we didn’t have to paddle at all to easily cover the miles. The early signs of spring were evident in the emerald-green grass in the fields and the buds on the trees.

The group stops at Green's Cave

The group stops at Green’s Cave

Green's Cave

Green’s Cave

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe all stopped for a leisurely lunch on a gravel bar in the early afternoon. Our next stop was at Green’s Cave just above the park. Last August we did this same float and camped at the cave overnight. It is always a good place to visit. Green’s Cave is only accessible by river or by hiking the Hamilton Hollow trail. As you approach the cave you will see Hamilton Creek enter the river on your right. The river then splits around a large island and the cave is just behind the island where the river rejoins into one stream. DW and I paddled the channel on the right hand side of the island as there was just enough water to get through. Usually that channel is too shallow to paddle. We parked our boats on the gravel bar and hiked back the trail a little bit. This area is so pretty in the spring when the meadows are green and the brambles have not grown over the trail yet.

Floating past Meramec State Park

Floating past Meramec State Park

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The campground access

The campground access

After we left the cave the sky started to cloud over a bit and water became murkier. The river was much more brown at the park than it had been up at Blue Springs. Most of the group took out at the main boat ramp which is just above the Hwy. 185 bridge. Those of us in the know took out two miles further downriver at the campground boat access, right near our camp. But maybe the joke was on us, because the campground boat ramp was covered in thick, smelly flood mud. There was no way to avoid it and my shoes were covered up to the ankles! Luckily there was a spigot nearby to wash the worst of it off.

We loaded up our boats and drove across the road to our camp. DW and I made beef stew in our dutch oven over the fire, which is always fun when you have a few hours to kill. We crashed out early that night and awoke to the sound of thunder early the next morning. We jumped out of our sleeping bags and hurried to break camp before the rain. We made it with minutes to spare before the rain and lightning came. Fortunately it was a short drive home!

This coming weekend is our annual Easter float trip. We plan to do a couple of days on the Jack’s Fork fishing and taking it slow.

Critter Count: Geese, Ducks, Herons, Turtles

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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