Almost There

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{Left to Right} Mark’s Grandson, David, Me and Mark

“Remember the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.”  – H. Jackson Brown Jr

I thought the above quote was quite appropriate however I can’t speak for David and Mark.  In the movie Wild Hogs four middle aged men hit the road for adventure on motorcycles.  So I guess for three guys hitting the open river for 7 days in kayaks and canoe, I guess we would be called the Wild Yaks.  Hopefully we wont hear banjos.

Some months back I had mentioned to them that I was going to do a seven day float on the river and they thought it was such a great idea that they wanted in, so on Saturday the Geritol Crew will begin a seven day journey down the beautiful Big River.  I guess we should call it the Rice Krispies float because every time we get out of the boats you can hear snap, crackle, pop.

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One of the places we will pass by.  I call it Rock of David,  because my friend David brought it to life in water color.

I hate to say it but this float trip was brought together by Facebook.  Mark, David and I graduated together and were reunited by Facebook.  I will let you know how many bottles of Geritol we go through.  Instead of butcher, baker and Indian Chief we have, retired teacher, bails bondsman and semi-retired horseshoer.  What a combination.  Well with three wild sixty-three year old men unsupervised on the river, I think the bails bondsman will be most beneficial.  I just hope I don’t overdose on Geritol.

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Another site we will see on the Big River

I have our trip planned to cover around 6 to 8 miles a day.  I hope we reach Cherokee Landing by Monday evening.  Our final destination is going to be Washington State Park south of De Soto, MO.   I figure it is about a forty-five mile float.  I hope to get lots of pics and fish.  My wish is to some day float the whole Big River and Bourbeuse River.

“Friends…they cherish one another’s hopes.  They are kind to one another’s dreams.” – Henry David Thoreau

As our time draws closer my mind wanders back to the times in school when life was so much simpler.  Then my mind rockets back to the present making me realize how much different things are today.  We all seem to have a little more snow on the roof.  Our step doesn’t have as much spring in it as it used to have.  I know some mornings I get up and notice that the “git” in my “git along” all ready got up and left without me.  Our friendship has endured a long time.  I am looking forward to taking a trip down memory lane this weekend, going back to a time when you all climbed into one car and dumped all your change out to get enough gas in the car to ride around all night.  Life was good.

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Another place on the river we will pass by.

Thank you for reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another and share the love.  Don’t squat with your spurs on and God Bless you one and all.

 

 

Safety First

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Bourbeuse River near Union, MO

My story starts on Friday, June 2, 2017.  David Tripp, Mark Nelson and myself are planning a week long float on the Big River the last week in June.  This float was a preview of our planned float.

 

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My Kayak on the Bourbeuse River

I put in on the Bourbeuse around 5 pm on June 2,  planning to have a great weekend. Friday night went pretty well.  I set out 10 limb lines and baited them for catfish.  I set up camp on a gravel bar and then went on up river and tight line fished.  I caught some nice cat and drum that night.   The river was falling and very muddy so I was a little surprised that I caught anything at all.  I did catch 2 channel cat on the limb lines.  I ran the limb lines at 11 pm and 3 am then daybreak.  I heated up some beans and weenies for breakfast  about 4 am Saturday morning.

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Heating up beans and weenies on the river bank.
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Fish I caught early Saturday morning,

Saturday was like any other day on the river.  I spent it bass fishing and fishing for pan fish.  About dark I began baiting the limb lines that I had out,   When all the lines were baited I headed to my spot that I tight line fished at night.

Dawn came and my fish basket had 6 nice channels in it that I  had caught.  I started working my way back down river, bass fishing as I went.  I managed to get hung up and losing my hook so I tied a new one on.  I had been pulled into the shallow water and instead of paddling back up and securing everything before I started through the swift water i made a bad decision to just go ahead and shoot the shallow fast water.

I had been through this spot 4 times since Friday.  Water was really swift so away I went. Then all of a sudden the yak hits something, comes to a stop then the rushing water hit it in the rear,  forced it side ways and over I went.  I was flung head first into the water then the swift water carried me to the end of the shallow into a deep hole.  The current surrounding the hole began to push me to the bottom.  The water was so muddy I couldn’t see anything.  I don’t know how long I had been in the river but my lungs began to hurt so i knew I had to make a decision so I relaxed and let my life jacket do its job and sure enough it started pulling me to the top so I immediately began helping it.  When I broke the top I was gasping for breath,

I looked around and I saw the yak and it was heading down river pretty fast so I headed for it.  Once I snagged it I had to swim it about 40 yards to the bank.  Now if you have ever lifted a ten foot kayak full of water you realize at this point that Preparation H is really man’s best friend.  I finally got everything rounded up and I just crashed on a gravel bar as what just happened started sinking into my mind.

I want to thank you for reading my blog.  Just a reminder about safety and how important it is.  Please wear your life jacket when you are on the river.  Be kind to one another,   Share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nighttime on the River

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Leadwood Access on Big River

” I  often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Rain was out of the forecast for a few days so I thought I better take advantage of it so I headed for the river.  I got on the river around 5 am looking for a relaxing night.  I planned to set out 10 limb lines and do a little tight line fishing and naturally some bass fishing.

As I paddled up river to my turn around point, looking as I went for a place to set up camp.  I don’t require much, just a place to build a fire and a place to beach the yak.  I had two places in mind.  As I worked my way up river I set my limb lines and would come back at dusk and bait them.

Bad news was that the river was dropping and that was going to hurt the fishing.  I had a whole arsenal to throw at them and was hoping I could figure out the right combination. Didn’t take too long for them to let me know they apparently didn’t like my menu.  All night fishing and all I caught that night was a channel catfish around 4:30 am.

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Camp was a sand/gravel bar.   I was tight line fishing off the bar.  This is where I caught the channel cat.  I only had one other bite.  The temps had dropped into the upper 40s and it was a little brisk so I got a fire going.  Now I am here to tell ya, it is hard to get a fire going with wet wood and a magnesium fire starter.  McGyver would have been proud of me.  I sat there in front of the fire listening to the crickets and the bull frogs.  Then the yotes joined in.  They gave quite the concert.  I even had six of the yotes appear on the ground above where I had built the fire.  I named them the showmen.  They put on quite a show, yipping, barking and growling.  They finally disappeared into the woods and I was alone once again on the river bank.

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Up river from Leadwood Access

It had been some time since the yotes had visited me when I looked down the river toward a bend below where I was and I noticed the moon beams creeping into the darkness.  As the moon rose higher and lit more of the river up the “ghost dance” began.  As the moon light reaches out into the darkness and lights the river, one can see the fog lifting off to the sky.  I call it the “ghost dance” because when I see it happening I think it looks like ghosts dancing as they are lifted into the heavens.

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My fire felt good.

The sun began its ascent in the eastern sky and signaled that a new day had begun.  I cleaned up camp and secured all trash in the yak and I shoved off.  I started running the limb lines down river from camp and would work my way back up river.  Nothing on any of the lines and a lot of them still had bait left.  Oh well better luck next time.

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Largemouth Bass

On the way back down the river I managed to catch an eleven and a half inch smallmouth and Saturday evening I caught a 13 inch largemouth.  My time on the river was coming to a close.  I felt sadness in my heart but I also felt excitement caused by wondering what adventure would the river bring me next time.

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Smallmouth Bass

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my adventure.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all

 

Rain on the River

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Storm clouds building.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” – Roger Miller

Wow, what a night on the river.  I knew that rain was in the forecast.  I knew they said some storms could be severe.  Did I let that stop me?  Noooooooooooo.  Instead I load the kayak and my fishing gear and off to the river I go.  My grandpa’s response to my decision would have been,”Boy, all I have to say is you don’t have the sense God gave a turnip.”  I recall the first time I heard that.  I remember thinking, I never knew a turnip had any sense.

I finally get to the river and the sky doesn’t look to awful bad so I back down to unload. Well one of those people who think they are someone special and their poo poo don’t stink, you know the type, has parked where we put the yaks in.  I can still get my yak in the water but it is 10 times as hard.  All of this just because this snowflake doesn’t think rules apply to him,  He is someone special (said as sarcastic as I can) don’t you know.  Then, then, as I am about to shove off he walks up to his truck and sees me and says,”Your face is awfully red.”  At which time I promptly responded by telling him it was probably due to the fact that some one special had parked where we launch yaks, and is a no parking zone, so I had to work 10 times as hard as I should have.  Yep!  You guessed it.  Went right over his head and I don’t even think he realized it was him.

Heading up river I could see the cloud build up wasn’t looking too good so I checked the radar and no rain was showing up.  I paddled to a spot on the river where I have had great luck with small mouth.  I started floating back down river and started fishing.  I started with a Rebel Wee Craw,  Charlie Slider worm and an eighth ounce jig with a pig attached.  No luck.  Nothing. Nada.  Nil.  You know, same thing that is left after a divorce.

I came to a place in the river where there is some under water cover and is usually a producer of some nice pan fish.  So I retied this time using a hook and a sinker and baited with night crawler.  In no time i had caught two.  Then it started to rain.  Just a steady slow rain but camera time was over for the night.

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Just before the rain started.

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By now it had been raining for about 10 minutes and BAM!  The spotted bass had  started hitting.  Looks like things are looking up.  Oh yeah.  I mean what is a little rain when the fish are biting,  Right?  Then, like it wasn’t raining on my parade all ready, there is a bright flash of light followed by a clap of thunder that made my fillings rattle.  It hit a tree up on the bluff from me.  Not a lot bothers me but lightning gets my undivided attention.  Sooooooo i reel in my line and headed back to where the truck was parked.

I finally arrive and beach the yak and head to get the truck.  Still not raining real hard yet.  I start backing down to where the yak is and I am here to tell ya I can’t remember the last time I saw it rain that hard.  I thought someone was hitting me with a water canon.  I sit there in the truck for a few minutes and then I thought what the hell, after all it is only rain and I sure as hell ain’t gonna melt.  So I got out and loaded stuff in the truck.  When I got in the truck soak and I thought to myself if it wouldn’t have lightninged I WOULD have got really wet.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to be kind to each other, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.