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birthday float

john and i had a long night but the birthday moonlit float of the gasconade went splendidly. Its a beautiful drive from Columbia to the Linn area where we put in. trevor had suggested the gasconade with a put in at where it crosses highway 50 at the 219. We decided, wisely in hindsight, to use it as our take out, correctly surmising that we would need an extremely clear land mark for a pull out to have any chance of seeing it. We drove around quite a bit following roads and driveways trying to find a nonexistent river access point.

We ended up just parking the truck on highway 50 near the take out area after scouting around on foot. We realized it would be a haul pulling out the boat so for day floats it would make an easier launch point then take out point.

We then drove to Linn at the 203 and easily found the boat ramp. we packed up the boat and got on the water at dusk. there were a couple of boats but we didn’t pass any as we set off. the nice part of a night float is it thins out the boats with engines. caught a little of the sunset and the moon was up nice and it soon settled in to as dark as it was going to get. you could probably have read a large print book by the light of the moon.

The river was strange not knowing what’s ahead until its upon you. shallow at times and a fair number of trees and other obstructions coming up out of nowhere. the gasconade is braided through there and it would be hard to tell shadows from islands. mostly the current could guide you until it took you under a low hanging tree. some of the rocky bluffs would look like channels and even though it was mostly a calm and gentle float there was a hint of excitement on occasion when obstacles appeared out of nowhere.

we left the dogs at home but regretted not bringing one or two as it was fairly easy. we used the outriggers which was a good move though we never needed them. there was one area where going around an island we were in a narrow and swift channel with a maze of downed trees to navigate through that the outriggers barely cleared. john broke out the light and i paddled us through. our short boat with a big keel makes it very maneuverable and that was probably the highlight of the trip.

It was peaceful, though we passed two parties and a few people camped on gravel bars. there were fireworks, occasional sounds of the city, some car noise on occasion but a lot of peace and some pretty bluffs. not a lot of wildlife to be seen but we scared up a big heron and the swallows or whatever insect eating birds would buzz us on occasion. Big splashes from the suspected asian carp rounded out our interaction with wildlife. bugs were thin.

the perseids were light but i got a couple of flashes, nothing worth wishing on. john saw a nice one but declined to wish being a rational sort. we were quiet some and talked some and it was peaceful. i definitely want to do it again and want to see the gasconade by daylight.

this is my 5th float of the year, with one more planned and likely at least one more, so not a bad year for floating considering the swollen nature of the big muddy. thanks to john for the lovely sandwiches and working out the logistics. many thanks for all the b-day wishes, i am blessed.

got in after 4:00 but feel pretty good. got some bean soup on the stove with sarah’s easter ham bone, market white potatoes, onions, yellow pepper & a hot pepper with rosemary, oregano, lots of garlic, time & a little sage from the garden. also started my day with my first egg and tomato sandwich of the year. got a nice heirloom tomato and very yummy. put a little fresh dill & fresh ground pepper in my market eggs. hope to lime some more pickles, watch the Tiges catch up to the Orioles (down 3-1 in the 4th) and may mow the backyard. laundry of course.

thanks again faithful reader and continue to make comments. if you’re ambitious register and make them on wordpress so they last. facebook has its charms but it is transitory, your comments do not have to be.

  1. August 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Nice write up Mike. I think you downplayed your slalom through the trees…here’s my take: We came upon an island, loomed up pretty quickly out of the dark. Thinking the main channel went off to the right we went that way. The quickening flow of the river soon notified us that we had made the wrong choice. Suddenly trees appeared dead ahead sticking up out of the river, barely visible and coming up on us fast. I dropped my paddle and picked up the flashlight. As I picked out the trees in our path, Mike did a remarkable slalom course in missing them. With the outriggers on we were 8 or 9 feet wide, many of the slots we threaded were less than 10 feet wide. Within another minute or so we were back in the main channel, returned once again to our peaceful float.

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