Used to in my “youth” be quite brave about going floating. Middle of the week, I’d cancel my appointments, grab my dog Stan, and head out Route 66 down to Blue Springs or Bob Bass canoe outfitters. I can handle a canoe by myself if the rivers aren’t running too fast and furious and there aren’t a lot of rapids. One summer Stan and I took my 12-year old nephews along for cruise down the river, we had a blast – I remember we stopped at the “Diamonds” and the boys bought indian beaded jewelry to wear and we all had Indian names. I was PokaDi (as in Pokahanus).
The guys had a blast but about 20 minutes from our departing site we ran into some very scary, pesty, snaggle-toothed roughians and I thought “what on earth was I thinking taking these two little kids and a dog down the river alone!” Anyway, haven’t been on the river without a large group since!
One of my favorite “large group” floats was shortly before I moved back to St Louis from Chicago. Did a “canoe pub crawl”. Since there are no beaches we had to throw the canoes off a dock and then lower ourselves in. Floated from near Ashland and Elston to Navy Pier. Must be a dozen bars and/or restaurants with docks along the river – who knew! Now that was some treacherous water and you sure didn’t want to get any on you – plus there are all the big ships and cruise boats and sight seeing boats to dodge! Not to mention those crazy bridges going up and down!
This weekend I’ve been helping my friend Mary McClellan plan her 25 year Washington University dental school reunion float trip. With all this heat and lack of rain the rivers are low – Bob Bass Canoes out of Steelville isn’t even putting in the Huzzah or the Courtois (pronounced code away – that’ll be another blog!). Blue Springs outfitters down in Bourbon tell me the Meramec is low but it’s running good, a 6 mile float can be done in 3 to 5 hours. It’s not so low that folks are portaging, so it’s down to Blue Springs in Bourbon, Mo for the dental reunion float. It’s a lot to figure out – 12 to 14 canoes, most of the folks are from out of town, we’re borrowing coolers, hiring a bus and driver, and gonna have to do a lot of shopping. How many beers and sodas and waters per person? I remember this group back in the late 70s could put away some beer. I am sure that marriage and children have curbed their beer appetites! Let’s hope we get some more rain before that beautiful sunny day September 6 is gonna be! And that we don’t run into any snaggle toothed ruffians! I figure I’ll be safe floating with a couple dozen dentists after all!
Bass River Resort is in Steelville, MO (about 1-3/4 hour drive from downtown St Louis) and provides canoes and rafts for the Meramec, Courtois and Huzzah Rivers. Blue Springs Resort is in Bourbon, (about 1-1/4 hour drive from downtown) and they provide canoes and rafts for the Meramec River. Both outfitters have web sites, give ’em a google for more information.