MO River Camp And Float Trip

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Published on: Jul. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

and heavy as stone.

10:30 a.m.

We are all back on the water again, making for our takeout point with gusto. Everyone wants to get off the water before the sunny day turns hot and humid. Also, Hermann's many fine restaurants and vineyards beckon.

12:30 p.m.

Lunch break on a big sandbar opposite the mouth of the Gasconade River. The biggest difference between yesterday and today is the increased number of people we are seeing. We've hardly been out of sight of boats since shoving off. Thirty or 40 are beached here, and folks are playing with Frisbees and beach balls, sunbathing and building sand castles, picnicking and lounging in lawn furniture. Jet skis buzz around like huge water striders, churning up waves on the normally flat river. The surface chop cancels out the benefit of the river's current and splashes over the bows of some of our canoes.

2 p.m.

Here comes the second barge of the trip, this one headed upstream. We are in a bend in the river, and since the navigation channel always follows the outsides of bends, our flotilla hugs the inside. The swells kicked up by tow boats are big, but by the time they reach us they don't present any hazard. Our canoes bob like corks.

2:30 p.m.

We spy the Highway 19 bridge. We will be in Hermann in less than an hour. A persistent breeze provides some relief from the sweltering heat.

4:15 p.m.

Canoes loaded and gear stowed. Time for a cold drink and a hot meal at a local eatery.

Except for being a tad long, it was an extremely enjoyable trip. Up close, the river seems both grander and friendlier than most of us imagined. Jim and Josh enjoyed it so much they already are planning a return trip with their Explorer Scout post. Carolyn is looking forward to having an archaeologist identify her fossil bone, and most of us have pieces of driftwood or some other souvenir of our two days on "The Big Muddy." triangle

How far would you go to float the Big Muddy?

If you doubt that the Missouri River is a world-class float stream, ask Richard Ryan. Last year he floated from Montana to the mouth of the Missouri River in a touring kayak he built from a kit. Ryan, 47, is a real-estate entrepreneur from Middlesex, Great Britain.

"I can't believe how

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