Tag Archives: kayak

Lee Kern’s Top Ten Missouri Float Trips

Last week we sang praises of Lee Kern for her killer river guide skills. Now we’re thrilled to give you an exclusive: Lee’s Top 10 Missouri Float Trips. If you’re only going to float ten river stretches in your life, make it these.

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Lee Kern, everybody! Being a total rockstar.
Lee Kern, everybody! Being a total rockstar.

My Top Ten Missouri Float Trips
By Lee Kern

#10 – Meramec River: Onondaga State Park to Sappington Bridge

This section of the Meramec is one of my favorites. With tall bluffs and quiet countryside it makes for a peaceful float that is not far from St. Louis.

#9 – Big Piney River: Slabtown to Ross Bridge

The Big Piney is one of my favorite rivers for fishing. Tall bluffs and swift turns on this section make for an enjoyable float that can be done in one day, but also makes for a great overnight trip. The Big Piney is never crowded and always beautiful.

#8 – Huzzah Creek: Dillard Mill to Hwy. Z

The Huzzah is a popular party float in the summer, but this section is a hidden gem that is only floatable in high water. Lots of obstacles make for a challenging adventure and there is usually a fair amount of wildlife to see.

#7 – Mississippi River: Red Star to Commerce

The Mississippi River is often overlooked by paddlers, but if you are up to the challenge it can be a great time. This section, flowing south from Cape Girardeau, is full of interesting beaches and rocky outcroppings. If the water is low enough you might get to see Commerce Rock, an ancient river map carved by indigenous people a thousand years ago.

Courtois Creek flows into the Huzzah.
Courtois Creek flows into the Huzzah.

#6 – Little Piney Creek: Lane Spring to Newburg

Little Piney Creek is best floated in the spring when the water is up. This narrow stream provides plenty of challenges with tight turns and some fallen trees. It is a very pretty float and a great trout stream if you have the time to fish.

#5 – Courtois Creek: Berryman to Onondaga State Park

The Courtois is another stream that can be crowded in the summer, but a really nice float in the spring. This creek has beautiful scenery and numerous tight turns that can make for a challenging paddle when the water is high.

#4 – North Fork of the White River: Hammond Camp to James Bridge

The North Fork is a jewel of the Ozarks. With numerous springs and clear, cold water, this trip makes for an excellent day on the river, especially in the heat of the summer.

#3 – Meramec River: Short Bend to Woodson K. Woods

When the rest of the Meramec is running out of its banks, head upstream to the very first access on the river. This 25-mile stretch of stream makes for a fast and fun paddle in floodwaters, and there is plenty of scenery along the way.

Lookit this cute little turtle.
Lookit this cute little turtle.

#2 – Jacks Fork River: The Prongs to Alley Mill

The Jacks Fork is one of the most popular rivers in Missouri, and with good reason. Towering bluffs and crystal clear water make for beautiful scenery that you won’t find outside of the Ozarks. The Prongs are only viable when the water is up, but it is one float that should be on every paddler’s list. This section makes for a great two or three day float with excellent fishing.

#1 – Eleven Point River: Cane Bluff to Myrtle

My absolute favorite river in Missouri is the Eleven Point. Swift, clear, shockingly cold water makes it my favorite destination in the hot summer months. Plentiful wildlife, many historic springs and great fishing are the hallmarks of this stream. The Eleven Point can often be trickier paddling than it looks, so it is great fun and a beautiful float in every season.

Race for the Rivers (and other stuff, too!) is August 23

Logo_R4R_no_dateActivities: Paddle races, bike rides and races and a big environmental and outdoors festival.
Date: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Time: Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., Festival starts at 11:00 a.m.
Place: Frontier Park, (850 Riverside Drive) in historic St. Charles

What to expect: Whether you’re an avid paddler looking to get in on a competitive river race, or simply in search of laid-back family fun, Race for the Rivers 2014 is the event you’ve been searching for! With water education, restoration and recreation as the focus, The Greenway Network is set to stage their eighth annual Missouri River paddling event on the weekend of August 23, 2014. A drawing will also be held for a new Chevy Sonic donated by Poage Chevrolet.

greenwaynetworkIt’s for a good cause: The Race for the Rivers is the primary fundraising event for Greenway Network, an all-volunteer organization promoting clean water through research, restoration, education and recreation programs. Each year, Greenway Network helps remove tons of trash, plants thousands of native plants and puts hundreds of people on the water to experience our great rivers first hand. 

Directions:

 

For more information: Visit www.racefortherivers.org

25th-ST_Logo-Color-Final(white-center)Race your favorite vessel or attend the festival to get your very own stamp on your very own Stream Team 25th Anniversary Passport. We’ll give you a cooler once you attend five events, and for every event you go to, we’ll enter your name to win a kayak or other prizes. Too bad you can’t race it this year, but there’s always next year…

We found an exquisite poster of the St. Francis River

Stream Team #95, the Missouri Whitewater Association, has totally smoked all other hand-drawn maps. But who’s really surprised? The rivers they run boast the most dynamic drops in the state–definitely worth an action-packed illustration.

After finding this poster in VWQM archives (those red spots are water quality monitoring sites), we tracked down the artist to tell us his story.

St Francis River crop
A few copies of the poster are still available to order from the Missouri Whitewater Association website. Click on the image for an enlargement.

 
In 1983, when the poster was drawn, running the rapids on the St. Francis River was a mystery to many boaters. The Missouri Whitewater Association wanted to make safe and accurate information available to all who paddled it, and a poster was the perfect medium.

Jonathan melded his art skills with his love of whitewater canoeing to create the St. Francis River poster.
Jonathan melded his art skills with his love of whitewater canoeing to create the St. Francis River poster.

Jonathan Lehmann, now of Cambium Creative, was in his twenties when the poster’s art was commissioned.  “It was partly a labor of love,” he says. Thirty years later, a framed copy still hangs in his office. With lots of whitewater boating  experience and an art degree from Washington University, he was uniquely qualified for the assignment. “It helped to paddle the river a few zillion times to know it,” he says.

Jonathan wanted to photograph the river from a plane, but that year, the water was too low to yield useful images. A fluke thunderstorm in August made it possible. “I thought, ‘This is my chance. When is this river ever running in the middle of summer?'” he says. He enlisted his canoe partner and best friend who bankrolled the project, Stan Stoy, to help.  “I called Stan’s roommate to convince him to get out of bed early, pass on doing something with his girlfriend that day, and take me in the air,” Jonathan says. He hung over the wing of a two-seater airplane, snapping more than 200 pictures with a 35mm camera.

Zoom in to compare the satellite image with Jonathan’s drawing. You might be surprised at how accurate he gets.

“That was the way to do it–back then, Google Earth didn’t exist,” he says. “Maps from satellite images didn’t get anywhere close to detail we needed.”

Some of his photos are included with the poster to show, in detail, how to tackle certain rapids.

As helpful  as the photos and text are, it’s the drawing that really makes this special. Inspired by the whitewater art of cartoonist William Nealy, the illustration is both precise and full of life. After returning from the plane trip, Jonathan put 35mm slides in a projector, and from those images, drew the river in perspective. By then, the instructive text was already written. The project took about nine or ten months from inception to completion, he says. Thirty years later, the work still endures.

This detail from the "Rickety Rack" run shows how to work your boat to the center.
This detail from the “Rickety Rack” run shows how to work your boat to the center.

Jonathan and MWA have talked about updating and reissuing the map. While the run descriptions are still accurate, some other information could use a refresher. Until then, you can order one of the last few maps from MWA’s website or track them down at REI and other St. Louis-area outfitters.

Jacks Fork Cleanup Results

Members of the  Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association crew sure know how to draw a crowd!

JFcleanup
Many dozens of participants at the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup.

By all measures, the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup was a major success. It was a great turnout, and look at all this trash they saved from the streams and banks:

  • 7 tires
  • 1 tractor tire
  • 11 large green mesh bags
  • 80 red mesh bags
  • 4 large trash bags
  • 2 grills
  • 1 Sleeping bag
  • Chimney Tiles
  • 8×8 post with eye bolt
  • Spray cans
  • Hitching post

And that’s only naming the highlights! 

Photos courtesy of Angel Kruzen and Ted Haviland.

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Bay Creek’s looking a whole lot cleaner thanks to these good Stream Team citizens!
This lucky Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!
This smiling Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!

Plan out next year’s cleanup excursion early! Why not? You can read our event preview from June here.

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Did you know that the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition helps Stream Teams dispose of tires for free? Click here for more information. It could save your team lots of dollars!
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“Stash your trash.” But you already knew that.

Did you attend the Jacks Fork Cleanup, or one of its sister events, like the one on the Current? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

The 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup is this Saturday

SRSTAActivities: Hop aboard your vessel of choice! We’ll snag trash from the Jacks Fork and commune with Ozark floaters in one of Stream Team’s staple stewardship events, sponsored by the Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association.
Date: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Time: Registration 8-9 a.m.
Place: One of seven locations (see below)

What to expect: This is a float-centric cleanup. But we’ll let landlubbers pick up along the banks.

Pick your own location, and get there between 8-9 a.m. After the signup and shuttle, the group will start to float their section.  Some float fast while others spend a lot of time on the bars and diving, so groups tend to get scattered.

Expect more snooping for trash than muscling. “After 15 years, our cleanups have become more maintenance than hard-core cleanup,” cleanup contact Ted Haviland says. “Last year, we managed to take a dozen tires and maybe 50+ bags of trash…from 44 miles of river.” Great job keeping it up, gee whiz!

“You will be walking gravel bars and low water river banks,” Ted says. Or, for the Cousteaus among us, he adds, “Some people may want to bring a snorkel mask and tube to dive the deeper sections of the river. (My favorite part!)”

Locations for cleanup start and registration:

  • Highway Y to Buck Hollow at Highway 17
  • Buck Hollow to Bockers Landing
  • Bockers Landing to Rymers Landing
  • Rymers Landing to Bay Creek
  • Bay Creek to Alley Spring Campground
  • Alley Campground to Highway 19 Eminence Bridge
  • Eminence Bridge to Two Rivers

Or you may clean up one of the Put-in/Take-out areas listed above.

Much ado about canoes: Canoes/kayaks are the responsibility of the participants.  You can bring your own or contact a livery to make shuttle arrangements through them–call for information on Stream Team discounts, which require your Stream Team ID Card. Private shuttles will be arranged for most locations, but no guarantees.

What to bring: As you will be on the river for 5-6 hours, we suggest that you bring a light lunch.  You need to bring plenty of liquids, sun screen insect repellant, and sturdy river footwear. Some may want to bring a snorkel mask and tube to dive the deeper sections of the river. A large floppy hat to keep the sun at bay is advisable too.  A small first-aid kit for nicks & scratches would be good too. 

And some life advice: Sun, heat and alcohol DO NOT mix! Please keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum. This is a cleanup…not a party.

And a celebration at the end: A BBQ supper will be served to all registered participants at the Alley Mill picnic area at 5:00 p.m. There will also be veggie burgers and brats. Drawing for canoes and other prizes to follow. You MUST be present to win!

There will be a group campsite reserved at Alley Spring Campground. Call (417) 932-4363 to reserve a place.

To get stamps on your passport: See Kat Lackman at the aformentioned picnic event!

For more information, call Ted Haviland at (417) 932-4363 or e-mail tphaviland@gmai​l.com.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalThe 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup is part of “25 Days of Stream Team” and counts as a stamp on your Stream Team passport. If ya don’t get out on the streams, you can’t win cool prizes. See all past and upcoming events here.