Tag Archives: chouteau claim

Float #43: Meramec River

1 Aug

Bruns’ Bridge to Chouteau Claim

Meramec River
Franklin County, Missouri
Saturday, June 30
9 miles

The Saturday before the 4th of July we met up with Saint Louis Adventure Group for a quick float on the Meramec. Saint Louis Adventure Group (SLAG) is a Meetup.com group of outdoor enthusiasts in the St. Louis area. They do many floating, hiking and bicycling events throughout the year. It’s a great group to join if you’re looking to get into an outdoor sport or find other people to enjoy it with. SLAG was floating from River Round access to Chouteau Claim, a 5 or 6 mile float. Since DW and I prefer something a little longer, we put in at Bruns’ Bridge and met up with the group at River Round.

Meramec River

Meramec River

Alex & Charlie

Meramec River

DW and Hedwig

Last time we did this float we noticed many old tires along the river bank. Since this was a short, lazy float close to home DW took the canoe so he could pick up all the tires. I took my kayak and our Doberman, Hedwig, took the front of the canoe. She is not a natural water dog, but she warmed up to it after we put her doggie life jacket on. I think she enjoyed all the extra attention! It was a really hot day so the group made a lot of stops to swim, even though the water wasn’t very cold. The Meramec really warms up in the summer heat, especially with the 100˚+ temps we’ve been having most of this season.

Meramec River

Meramec River

DW and his trash barge

Meramec River

DW at the jumping bluff

We stopped a while at the jumping bluff and then again toward the end for some more swimming. We all got off the river around 4:30 or 5:00 and all the St. Louis people started their drive back to the city and we headed home. It was a nice way to spend the day and we will definitely be doing more floats with SLAG in the future.

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Float #20: Meramec River

26 Aug

Bruns’ Bridge to Chouteau Claim

meramec river map

Meramec River
Franklin County, Missouri
Saturday, August 20
9 miles

Our two best friends from NYC, Nadia and Aaron, were in town to visit family and stopped by to spend the day with us. We treated them to a day of floating on the Meramec near our house. We borrowed a fourth kayak from a friend and headed out to the river around 11am. DW and I dropped them at Bruns’ Bridge and ran the shuttle. On the way back to the put-in, DW got a phone call that our doberman, Hedwig, was running around at the church 2 miles from our house. So we had to delay the trip by a half hour to go wrangle her and lock her inside. She was just trying to tell us the fence was broken, but I guess she couldn’t chase the car fast enough!

Bruns' bridge meramec river

Nadia at Bruns' bridge access

Bruns' bridge meramec river

The old Bruns' bridge

When we finally returned from our diversion the sun was shining, the water was warm and we could tell a good day was ahead of us. The first 3 miles of this trip are very slow water. The river makes a lazy journey around a large horseshoe that gives its name to the River Round access. The Little Meramec River comes in on the right. It’s really more of a creek, but it can turn into a small river when the spring rains come or when the Meramec is flooded and backed up. On the back side of the horseshoe the river picks up a little bit as it passes River Round access and the next 6 miles are faster water. We spent a lot of time on the first 3 miles with multiple swim breaks and a bunch of litter to pick up.

The first bend of the river round

By the time we passed River Round we were all a few beers deep and having a great time. I think Aaron started flipping his boat around then. He’s very talented at rolling the kayak under, he just doesn’t roll it back upright. The river was full of locals; lots of tubes and small rafts. Everyone was having a fun and lazy day on the late summer water.

As the afternoon wore on the sky clouded over, but it was still warm. We passed the jumping cliff just above Old Cove campground and everyone took a few turns diving in. Old Cove Canoe is a small outfitter and campground between River Round and Chouteau Claim. This stretch of river isn’t as popular with the city crowd as the upper Meramec, so if you’re looking for a little less crowded Meramec float, they are a good choice. A couple of miles from Chouteau Claim we realized we drank all the beer and Nadia flipped her boat for the first time that day, then Aaron flipped his for the third or fourth. We spent some time gathering everything together; lost a paddle for a few minutes then found it and lost one of Nadia’s shoes for good. On the gravel bar where we stopped to regroup there were a pair of pastel pink river shoes. Although they were a little small for her, Nadia didn’t have to go shoeless for the remainder of the trip. We took out at Chouteau Claim in the early evening, piled everything in the truck and headed back to the house for bbq and more beer!

The jumping cliff

Railroad bridge at Chouteau Claim

Critter Count: Blue Herons, Green Herons, Kingfishers, Turtles

Bonus Prizes: A black plastic crate, a pair of pink river shoes

Float #1: Meramec River

24 Feb

Bruns’ Bridge to Chouteau Claim

Meramec River
Franklin County, Missouri
Sunday, February 13
9 miles

After a long, cold winter the first float of the year is finally here! We usually float at least once in January, but this winter has been full of snow, dangerously low temperatures and frozen rivers! The weather finally broke with temps in the mid 50s and lots of sun. We hauled out the boats, scrounged around for our gear, and hit the river.

 

Downriver from Bruns' Bridge

Snow on the bank

We planned to float from River Round to Robertsville State Park, but the park was still closed from the most recent round of ice and snow. Instead we put in at Bruns’ Bridge and floated to Chouteau Claim. Bruns’ Bridge is an old wrought iron bridge, built in 1888. No longer in use for traffic, this bridge serves as a “locals-only” (aka not official) put in and a popular hangout. Since this is not an official put in there is no boat ramp and the only access is down a muddy, steep and, in our case icy, path.

DW does some ice breaking

Half underwater shot

Ice chunks floating downstream

A swift slide down the path left a coat of mud on the boat and nearly swept me into the water. We finally hit the river around noon and floated down to River Round access where we met up with some other friends who got a late start. It was a beautiful day with snow and ice still covering most of the ground and chunks of ice in the water, but the air was warm and the sun was shining. I cracked open a cold beer and let the water wash away the stress of the workweek. The only other people out on the river were some fishermen in a john boat.

Chemtrails

Tree damage from the New Year's Eve tornado

DW surfs a berg

Late afternoon sunlight

After a pleasant lunch on a gravel bar we continued our journey down to Chouteau Claim. Chouteau Claim access is located where the Bourbeuse River meets the Meramec. The boat ramp is located about 50 feet up the Bourbeuse, a fetid, slow-moving, snake infested tributary. The river was mostly frozen, but there was a small path of open water leading up to the ramp. We got off the river just before twilight, loaded up our boats and headed home to prepare for another grueling week until the next float.

Critter Count: 1 Bald Eagle, 2 Deer, Ducks