Tag Archives: Mississippi River

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.


Vampire teeth, a vintage boat, and messages in a bottle: America’s cultural indicators?

Photos by Stream Teamer Bernie Arnold.

Did you know that New York City’s municipal landfill has an anthropologist-in-residence? She looks at what the people of the city throw away, the history of sanitation workers, and lots of other fascinating things. That got me thinking . . .  maybe a similar task could be taken for the spot where North America’s largest waterways meet. What could cleanup hauls at the Missouri-Mississippi Confluence tell us about litter habits in the eastern and western parts of our country?

Confluence photos by AJ Feicht

Missouri River Relief (Stream Team #1875) has a head start on this research. They’ve tallied trash from their confluence cleanups for about the past five years. April 26th’s Earth Day event at the confluence continued to surprise volunteers and crew alike with a wealth of trash and treasure.

Here are some details on MRR’s work out of Columbia Bottom Conservation Area on April 26. Mull over these cultural indicators, and if you know of any anthropologists looking for a project, tell them to give MSTWC a call!

Earth Day at the Confluence – Missouri River Relief Cleanup

Volunteers: 178
[click here for a cool time lapse video of volunteers loading up]

MRR Crew: 31

Boats: 5 (2 USACE, 3 MDC, 1 Hanson P.S., 4 MRR)

Rivermiles: 9 ( 8 miles of the Missouri, 1 mile of the Mississippi)

River Level: 10 ft (St. Charles gage) 14.8 ft. (on the Mississippi at St. Louis)

Tires: 30 (an estimated .5 tons)

Landfill: 2.8 tons

Scrap Metal: an estimated .7 tons

Total Tonnage: an estimated 4 tons

A 1957 Saber takes its final ride.

Trash Tally!

  • 201 bags of trash
  • 30 tires
  • 11 chunks o’ Styrofoam
  • 4 coolers
  • 11 5-gal. plastic buckets
  • 1 20-gal. plastic tub
  • 12 55-gal. plastic barrels
  • 2 55-gal. metal drums
  • 4 partial metal drums
  • 1 water heater
  • 1922354_772411032771240_36440279461574215_n
    Transformer and a boat. In a boat. Crazy!

    1 propane tank

  • 1 AC unit piece
  • 1 600 lb Automotive Transformer
  • 1 boxspring
  • 1 chair
  • 2 barge lines
  • 1 buoy
  • 1 car seat cushion
  • 4 gas tanks
  • 1 rim
  • 2 inner tubes
  • 1 – 1957 fiberglass Saber boat
  • 1 oil pan
  • 1 metal trash can
  • 1 pulley
  • 5 metal poles
  • 10 ft. of 2” angle iron
  • 5 ft. of corrugated metal
  • 1 – 6ft. metal pole
  • 8 pieces of metal cable
  • 10250061_772410629437947_7648908014810599039_n
    201 bags of trash saved from going downstream! You’re welcome, Mississippi River/Gulf Coast/Oceans of the World.

    2 metal locker doors

  • 1 tiny saw blade
  • 1 tv
  • 1 lateral drain tile
  • 2 orange booms
  • 1 chicken wire
  • 1 Rubbermaid tote
  • 1 Rubbermaid lid
  • 1 wall to a Porta-Potti
  • 2 PVC pipes
  • 1 white picket fence
  • 1 bookshelf
  • A gazillion million balls
  • 1 softball owned by Gary Babetz
  • 1 kiddie push cart
  • 1 rubber canteen
  • 2 milk crates
  • 1 fishing pole
  • 1 dog kennel top
  • 2 pieces of wood with nails
  • 1 big plastic bowl for Clifford

Trash Contest!!! (winners in bold)

  • 1 yellow piggy bank
  • 10264532_772405306105146_856748195839053260_n
    Snake, dead most likely because of this fishing line tangled around its body.

    1 dead snake dead from plastic netting wrapped around it

  • 1 dead gar
  • 1 studded football massage ball
  • 2 armless baby dolls
  • 1 pair of purple vampire teeth
  • 2 doll heads
  • 16 balls
  • 1 coconut
  • 1 water ski
  • 1 plastic checker
  • 1 plastic rabbit
  • 1 plastic duck on wheels
  • 1 easter egg
  • 3 duck decoys
  • 1 plastic penquin
  • 1 wooden flower & bird
  • 1 pink panther print on foam
  • 1 black flip flop
  • 1 men’s cologne box
  • Trash contest spectators.
    Trash contest spectators. Kind of an absurd event if you think about it too much, but fun nevertheless. Look how riveted they are to the high drama of cool trash!

    1 igloo cooler

  • 1 newspaper mailbox
  • 1 plastic shovel
  • 1 swim pad
  • 1 light bulb
  • 1 kids plastic table
  • 1 plastic cone
  • 1 window squeegee
  • 1 large nail
  • 1 hat
  • 1 bucket
  • 1 fishing lure
  • 1 toy fire truck
  • 1 cassette tape
  • 1 turtle shell
  • 1 construction helmet
  • Several old glass bottles
  • 1 9mm handgun
  • 1 message in a bottle with several letters inside
MRR director Jeff Barrow briefs volunteers before they set out. One of the many perks of volunteering for a River Relief event is a free boat ride on the river!

Agencies & Groups: Missouri River Relief Crew, Missouri Department of Conservation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hanson Professional Services, Cub Scout Pack 97, Cadette Girl Scout Troop #435, Baden Powell Service Association 66th Confluence Scout Group, Anderson Pest Control, BioMerieux, Alpha Phi Omega– Washington University, Ethical Navigators 33, Flying Carps, Bank of America, St. Louis University, Boeing, Arnold Stream Team 211, Stream Team 3454 Anglers of Missouri, Saving the World Before Noon, Miramiguoa Master Naturalist, Weber Group, Kabul Waterdogs – Stream Team 3419, Stream Team 4855, Pack 3097, Stream Team River Rovers #4473,

Team Names: Flying Carp, X-Stream Team, Pack 97, Navigators, A-Team, Super Flying Ninja Kittens, Asian Carp Avengers, Anderson, River Dogs, Otters, Mo Mud Hens, Timberwolves, The Bass Fisherman, 66th Confluence Team, Hardcore Team Tough Guy, The Collaborators, River Rebels, Team Smokinbarrel

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