As we all know, life can "get in the way" of true happiness. I invite you to follow my posts as I try to reconnect with nature as often as life allows. Then,
if so inspired, pick up a paddle or pack and join me on an adventure that makes everything else fade away. -

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jack's Fork & Current River Trip

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I had originally planned to head back down to Arkansas for a weekend climbing trip in May, but after injuring my finger I needed to take some time off.  I had also not yet made it out onto a river this year.  So, a couple of weeks before Memorial Day I began asking around to see who would be interested in an overnight trip.  Several people expressed interest, but ultimately couldn't commit.  I decided to go big !  I was interested in doing the 54 miles from Round Spring to Big Spring, but Colin said he wanted to go and I thought this might be a little long.  I decided on 44 miles from Eminence to Big Spring over 4 days.  I had been wondering how he would do for our 4 day trip to the Boundary Waters in July.  This was to be a trial run.  A week before the trip my friend Chris decided to come along for his first ever non car-camping trip.  I was glad to have Chris along as I am always looking to share my passion for canoeing with others...and a little adult conversation would be nice as well : )

We left town just after 7:00am on Friday, May 24th and headed down to Eminence via Columbia, Jeff City, St. James, Salem, and Round Spring.  We stopped to see the Round Spring that we didn't get to see the year before before continuing on Eminence.  We used Windy's Canoes for our outfitter.  They were incredibly friendly and helpful and I would highly recommend them!  We got on the water about 2:30pm and shortly after Chris almost got run over by a horse and rider crossing the river.  Really?!?  We paddled 8.9 miles on the Jack's Fork to our first campground on the Current River just past the confluence.

Saturday we paddled 13.6 miles and camped between Robert's Field and Log Yard.  The weather was in the low 70's and slightly overcast.  Near perfect for paddling!  We got to stop and see the Blue Spring, but the highlight of the day was Colin catching a fish all on his own!  He had caught 5-6 fish before, but this time he did it without any help...we were both very proud!

Sunday we saw the temperatures rise into the 80's and got a little sunburned.  The day started off with Colin catching another fish before we left camp!  Shortly after we got started he snagged a lure while we were in a fast current (8mph +/-).  Neither one of us wanted to lose his Buzz Lightyear fishing pole that he had used to catch his first fish.  In the blink of an eye I determined the river was free of debris and rolled out of the canoe into the 50-55 degree waters.  The water was only 30" deep so I walked the 15ft back up stream as my 5 year old floated down in the canoe solo.  He was a bit startled when I jumped out, but quickly instructed Chris to get my paddle and seat cushion that had fallen out.  At least that is how he tells the story : )  After retrieving the pole I tried to hitch a ride on a Jon boat to no avail.  I started walking down stream with the water rising to below my shoulders.  Once I was within 30-50 ft of them I had Chris push the canoe back out into the river and paddle over to get me.  I held onto the back of his Kayak as he paddled me over to my waiting shipmate.  I re-entered the canoe in deep water without capsizing and we were on our way.  We traveled 12 miles before finding the best campsite of the trip near Waymeyer.  Chris got pulled into a side channel and we followed.  As we came around the corner we found the perfect gravel bar on the island separating the side channel from the main one.  Secluded and lots of fire doesn't get any better!

Monday we traveled another 12 miles to our take out at Big Spring.  The day started out scenic, but there is a large section around Van Buren that is outside of the park system and there are tons of houses.  We mainly just kept paddling through this section and were rewarded with a somewhat more scenic section before our takeout.

We had great weather all weekend with the exception of a 15 minute light rain as we were packing up camp Monday morning.  We enjoyed great food and had some excellent campsites!  And a bit to my surprise, Colin handled the trip better than he handled some of our overnighters.  At least I know he is ready for Minnesota!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Canoe Trip Food Prep

Colin and I are getting ready for a 4 day, 44 mile canoe trip on the Jack's Fork and Current Rivers with our friend Chris.  I put together this video to show the food we will be taking in order to give everyone an idea of what is involved.  I recently purchased a dehydrator and have been experimenting with using it to reduce bulk and improve meal quality.  For this trip I am taking 2 lbs. of hamburger which will allow us to have spaghetti and sloppy joes.  We could easily do this trip without a cooler, but I decided to take a small one so Colin could have fresh milk in stead of powdered milk.  This trip is sort of a trial run for our Boundary Waters trip in July and my Yosemite trip in August.