Tag Archives: Hwy. 17

Float #127: Roubidoux Creek

10 Jul

Roubidoux Spring to Hwy. 17 Bridge

F127_Roubidoux

Roubidoux Creek
Pulaski County, Missouri
Saturday, June 20
3 Miles

Another flood float! Seems like this year has been nothing but flood floats. This is a very short float on the Roubidoux, a creek that runs through Waynesville, MO and usually looks pretty inviting. This day it was very high, but nothing dangerous, as the creek is wide enough below the spring to prevent any strainers or blockages. There are many more miles of the Roubidoux above the spring that are floatable, but there are no accesses. Unless you know someone who owns land on the creek, there is little chance you can float it without getting your vehicle towed or ticketed for trespassing. However, these three miles from the spring to the confluence with the Gasconade are mostly through town and there is public parking on either end. It would make a nice short float with children or a good tubing float. This day DW and I were joined by our friend Richard. We met up at the city park to scout the water level and then went up to the spring to put our boats in the water. Roubidoux Spring is also in a city park, but due to flooding the park was closed that day. We parked our vehicles across the street, hopped the yellow caution tape and carried our boats down to the parking lot (which was underwater). I guess we weren’t quick enough because a city police officer pulled into the park to tell us it was closed. Fortunately, he was very accommodating and let us put our boats on the water provided we didn’t linger too long in the area. After he left we paddled up the flooded banks to the spring, where DW played in the massive boil for a few minutes. Then we turned and headed downstream on the muddy waters.

Nice day for a picnic at Roubidoux Spring

Nice day for a picnic at Roubidoux Spring

Roubidoux CreekRoubidoux CreekThe first two miles of the trip the water was moving quickly and not yet backed up from the Gasconade. We didn’t really do any paddling, just steering. There are a couple of nice bluffs along the way and you can’t really see much of the town or road, even though it is very near the creek. By now, I am getting very tired of the smell of flood mud and I long for the clear, cool streams I am used to! However, it doesn’t look like any respite from this rain is in our foreseeable future for this summer.

Roubidoux Creek

The cornfields are drowning

The cornfields are drowning

Roubidoux CreekWe saw a few herons and hawks along the creek, but there wasn’t much else in the way of wildlife out and about on the water. As we approached the Gasconade the water slowed down a bit. There were many small eddys, boils and whirpools on the edge of the stream where the water washed over submerged debris. This is pretty common on flooded streams and is yet another reason why only paddlers with lots of experience should attempt these trips!

Confluence with the Gasconade

Confluence with the Gasconade

Hwy. 17 Bridge access is mostly underwater

Hwy. 17 Bridge access is mostly underwater

After less than an hour of floating we arrived at our take-out. The access is usually under the Hwy. 17 bridge at the Gasconade river, but that day the entire parking area was underwater and the Roubidoux flowed right up to the access road. I kept tight to the edge of the Roubidoux as I maneuvered to the access. The Gasconade was very high and rising, so I didn’t want to get pulled into that! There were many large logs, trees and debris flying down the stream as it ripped by at quite a speed for what is usually a slow river. We pulled our boats up to the car and drove the couple of miles back to Richard’s vehicle at the springs. Afterward we ate lunch in town and did some more scouting along the flooded Big Piney. Later that evening Richard told us that the Gasconade had risen nearly to the edge of the bridge, many feet above where it was that afternoon!

Critter Count: Herons, Ducks, Hawks

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

Float #45: Gasconade River

3 Aug

Hwy. 17 to Riddle Bridge

Gasconade River
Pulaski County, Missouri
Saturday, July 21
14 miles

This year I wanted to get out and float some rivers that I haven’t floated in a long time, or ever. One of these rivers is the Gasconade. The Gasconade is the longest river entirely contained within the state of Missouri. It twists and turns for 250 miles from the south central area of the state to the Missouri River. It is a relatively slow and lazy river without much gradient, but it has excellent fishing and plenty of cool, clear water. Fun fact; the early French named this river the Gasconade because the Indians who lived along its banks were very boastful of their exploits. Gascon is french for a boaster or braggart.

The section of the Gasconade that we floated is about a half hour west of Rolla. Our friend Richard, who lives in the area, offered to run shuttle for us. Very generous of him to do so, as he had recently had shoulder surgery and was unable to float with us. We met up with him at Riddle bridge, loaded our boats on his truck and drove to the Hwy. 17 bridge. Hwy. 17 crosses the Gasconade at the confluence with Roubidoux Creek. Roubidoux Creek has a lot of springs feeding into it and the water was very, very cold. It looks like a good float for spring when there is more water.

Gasconade River

Roubidoux Creek at Hwy. 17 access

Gasconade River

Hwy. 17 bridge

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

One thing we noticed right away was the amount of algae in this river. There is more algae growing in the Gasconade than I am used to on floating rivers. Perhaps it has to do with all the cattle on the river banks? There were a lot of cattle near or in the river and a lot of old tires partially buried in the banks and river bottom. There is no way to haul out tires with a kayak, or I’m sure DW would have tried. Even with the algae the water is still very clear and cool.

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

This section of the Gasconade reminds me of a slower version of the Meramec. It was an easy float, although we did have to paddle a lot to get downstream. These 14 miles could take forever if you don’t paddle! It seems like a good river to paddle up, since you would go about the same speed either way and there weren’t too many fast spots that would be hard to paddle up. We didn’t see any other boats, just one party barge of rafts and tubes and some locals fishing and hanging out on the banks. We didn’t see much wildlife outside of the normal birds, but I did see a lot of fish. I chased one huge fish with my boat for a little bit. I don’t know what kind it was, but it was almost 4 feet long and spotted. It wasn’t a gar, though I saw plenty of those too.

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

A spring bubbles from the hillside

Gasconade River

Gasconade River

Riddle Bridge

We finished up the float in early evening, loaded our gear and headed for home. There weren’t many landmarks or points of interest on this float, but it was enjoyable and not at all crowded on a hot Saturday. I look forward to doing more floats on this river and its many tributaries in the area.

Critter Count: Blue Herons, Osprey, Ducks, Cows, Big Scary Fish