Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving paddle on Joachim Creek- Jefferson County, MO.: Creek should be named river!

Don't let the cold stop you from your outdoor lifestyle!

Joachim Creek in Jefferson County, MO (near Herculaneum) is one of the little rivers in Missouri I have always wanted to paddle.  I first discovered this creek driving down I-55 towards Cape Girardeau.  Every time I would look over, I wondered how I could get on these waters.  Good news is with technology and satellites, it is so much easier to find boat launches.
I-55 Bridge crossing Joachim Creek
I found a ramp right by the the Herculaneum lead smelter of Joachim Rd. in one of the city parks.  I really think the site was closed (the road had some barricades) but I had driven too far to go back.  I originally tried to put in at the Mermac near the Mississippi, but the ramp was so low, I would have had my kayak over 1000' just to get to the muddly launch point. So I decided to try Joachim Creek out (which, in my humble opinion, is way more like a river than a creek.  The plan was to launch off and take it to the Mississippi River.  However, there is a huge dam blocking the entire creek (I am thinking it was built to keep the ultra polluted water separate from the rest of the the creek) that looked impassable in regards to portage.   That being said, I went ahead and started to paddle west.  The creek gets cleaner and better looking the further you paddle west.  By the time you go under I-55 bridge, it really starts to shape up and become a neat looking small river, with some nice limestone rock formations and huge cottonwood and sycamore trees.  A really beautiful paddle!  I would love to see if I could make it to DeSoto MO from Herculaneum!
Looking forward to hitting this trip again in the spring or summer when we have more daylight to explore a little longer
Paddle ON!


kayaking Joachim Creek, Jefferson County, MO

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Meremac River- Pacific Palisades CA, November 21st, 2012: Short but awesome trip- not exactly serene

Kayaking the Meremac River, Pacific Palisades CA, MO

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This is a conservation area I tried to kayak last year and never could seem to find the boat launch.  Technology and smart phones have so helped out the efforts to find boat launches.  I looked this one up and found it and decided I had a couple of hours to kayak before it got dark, so I went for it.  One of my favorite routes is just downstream at the Route 66 SP (see prior post).
The boat launch is nice, but you almost cannot find it (it is not signed very well from the main road).  I saw on a chat board in doing research that the launch has occasional problems with people breaking into cars and such.  I can see where that could take place here...very remote.
Earlier this year I heard a newstory about a teenager who drowned in these waters.  I can see, after kayaking this part of the river, how that would happen. The current in this part is medium, but the depths seem to go from 2' to 12' suddenly in many places.  The section that has the boat launch is right in the current and appears to be deep.  There is also an old gauging station about 300' upstream from the ramp that has a lot of old wood pilings and concrete blocks, but above and below water.  This is not a good place to swim!
I paddled up stream toward the Silica plant.  The railroad tracks are on the starboard side as you paddle upstream, so my title "not the most serene" comes from the noise of the plant and the railroad tracks.  I personally do not have much of a problem with this, but I have friends who would not want to paddle this section because of this (I consider myself to be a bit of an "urban kayaker" so I am good).  When you get up to the plant area, the river shallows out to about 2' and turns into a quick run.  I paddled it across, and could have gotten out of the kayak and portaged to go further, but I was running out of daylight, and wanted to explore the lake-inlet area of the CA.
What is cool about the Pacific Palisades area is that there is a lake in the middle of it that connects to the river.  I think it used to be a gravel quarry or strip mine of some sorts way back.This provides for a really nice wetland area right in the middle of the conservation area.  I padded a bit into it, and there were a couple of guys throwing decoys to duck hunt, so I turned around and headed back to the ramp.  Saw a nice herd of deer in the distance as I was heading back (I think the duck hunters scared them).
This will be a great place to come back in the summer time and explore some more.  I fished it a little, but did not have any results

Paddle ON!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Kayaking Meremac River between Route 66 Sp and Big River: Beautiful day chock full of wildlife!

Big River Confluence point
November and December can provide some of the best opportunites for incredible kayak trips.  I have kayaked this route many times (it is close to where I live), however, each time it seems to provide another type of kayaking opportunity.  This is an interesting time of the year....the sun goes down so quickly (I believe as of late Nov. it is setting around 4:45 pm. or so).  So in regards to kayak trips, it seems like to experience an entire day, a person needs to set off early.
Deer by river
beautiful view on the way back
I got off to a late start on this trip, but still wanted to get a paddle in.   There were a couple of people in boats messing around (I think they were just going out for an hour or two).  I was really surprised to see anyone out on the river in a boat.  The paddle was excellent!  It could not have been a nicer day.  I stopped at the confluence point to head back, being mindful of the quick sunset.  It is interesting how the river has been changing over the last year at this point.  This is an area that used to have a large sandbar and a quick run next to (Meremac side).  Most of the sandbar is gone, and the run is not quite as "skinny"....however, it seems the river at the confluence point is quite a bit more dangerous now then it was a year ago.  You call tell when you paddle over there are more undertows and side currents then there was a year ago.
The wildlife were out, as you can see in the video.  Came up on a nice pack of deer, one was at water level getting some water, as well as a small flock of wild turkeys (caught some nice shots on camera in the above video).  This part of the Meremac River, although in a semi-urban area, has retained quite a bit of it's natural beauty.  That is probably why it is one of my favorite paddles.
The river awaits you!
Paddle ON!


kayaking the Meremac River from Route 66 SP to the Big River Confluence

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