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I heard about this day float through the Sierra Club Meetup Group from my friend Bill. Platte County was celebrating their 175th year, and this float was organized as part of the festivities for Saturday, September 6th, 2014. By the time we put in there were over 70 boats participating!
I had been wanting to paddle on the Missouri, and of course, Colin wanted to join me! What better way to take on such a big river than with a large group? We left the house around 7:00am, taking both vehicles to the take out point in Parkville. We dropped my car and headed to the put-in in Farley. After unloading, my wife headed back to Parkville and switched vehicles, thus leaving Colin and I the roof rack. She then went shopping for the rest of the day :)
It took quite a while to get everyone's boats in the water, but once complete we headed off in the largest group of paddlers I've even been a part of. It did not last as some sped ahead of the pack and ended up finishing long before the rest of the group. The idea was that we would all float into Parkville to the waiting crowd by the boat ramp. We ended up with about half of the group I would say, which was still a huge success!
It was interesting paddling on the Missouri from the moment we entered if at the confluence with the Platte. There was a huge difference in the current, thus creating a swift eddy line that we had to quickly paddle through. The river was wide and swift, but calm. The strangest part was the whirlpools that would show up under your boat from time to time. All of a sudden you were spinning without explanation! A little corrective paddling solved this issue and soon it was the norm.
We had a great day being out on the river with great people and I now feel comfortable paddling this river. It is however important to know what you are doing and to understand the water levels, wing dikes, etc. I had read about it, but doing it is another thing. I will not hesitate to paddle on the Missouri again, and I imagine there will be many more trips in my future. I've already heard talk of a trip to the wild and scenic sections near Yankton, SD (bring it on) and I am planning a trip to the upper Missouri in Montana with Colin. If only it were already next Spring!