View in a larger map
This year's Sierra Club trip was a joint trip between both Kansas City and St. Louis. We had 13 people spend Memorial Day weekend on the Grand River. Everyone headed up Friday night, but I was unable to get away early and being that it was only two hours away I left Saturday morning. It is a good thing I had everything loaded the night before though because it was pouring! As I drove through the driving rain toward Chillicothe I was really hoping it would quit. Luckily by the time I got to the boat ramp it had stopped and we would have great weather the rest of the weekend!
I pulled in around 9:00 and was to meet everyone at 9:30. As I was checking out the boat ramp everyone showed up from the nearby campground just a few minutes later...great timing! I knew Terry, Mike, and Darla from the previous years trip, and I had emailed Bill before, but everyone else was a new face. We quickly unloaded the gear and then those of us with cars shuttled down to Bosworth where we would end our trip over 35 miles later (this estimate was low). Upon our return we launched and put in about 12 miles before stopping to camp.
This river was completely different from any I had been on before! Being a plains river, there is virtually no rock. Just sand and mud! The river had a beauty of it's own, but I still prefer the rocky streams of the Ozarks.
As everyone got their camp set up we snacked on the items people brought for "grumpy hour" as Terry likes to call it. Once set up we all cooked dinner and then spent a wonderful evening sitting around the campfire talking.
Sunday we packed up camp and hit the river for a big day! By the time we stopped we would paddle 22 miles! Of course we took some stops for rest, and one for lunch, but there was a lot of paddling. I was pleased with how relatively easy it was for me. The only time I fell behind was when I needed a moment by myself to pout. I had clipped my GPS to my life jacket quickly in order to paddle around some debris. A short while late my paddle leash had caught and threw my GPS into the river! The water was way too deep and mud to even think about going after it :( The map above is a re-creation based on the notes I took.
By the time we stopped to camp everyone was worn out. We got setup and ate dinner, but went without a fire as no one was going to stay up long enough to make it worth it. We did have enough daylight to sit around and talk for a while though, which was nice.
As I was turning in for the night I remembered that REI was having their big sale that weekend and they had the top of the line Garmin GPS on sale for half off...so I ordered it from my tent ;)
When we woke up on Monday a couple of the guys discovered Mountain Lion tracks near one of the tents. That was pretty cool to see!
We only had to paddle around 5 miles, so before we knew it we were back to our cars and loaded up. Though it was a longer trip it still felt too short! I am looking forward to the trip next year wherever it may be :)