A Day in the Arcadia Valley of Missouri

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Welcome Center Fort Davidson Pilot Knob, MO

My long time friend David Tripp journeyed from Texas to visit his parents and he got in touch with me and we decided to take a trip to the Arcadia Valley in Missouri.  The temperatures were bitter cold but we didn’t let that stop us.  We decided to start our day with lunch at the Fort Davidson Restaurant in Pilot Knob, MO.

After an excellent lunch we headed to the site of Fort Davidson. The only thing left of the fort is the earthworks of the fort, surrounding the huge hole that was caused by a powder explosion.  The site is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners acquired and preserved 41 acres of the battlefield that are now a part of the state historic site.

The Battle of Fort Davidson, also known as the Battle of Pilot Knob, was fought on September 27, 1864.  It was the opening engagement of Price’s Missouri Raid during the American Civil War.  Price had the Union army  outnumbered by more than 10 to 1 but Thomas Ewing’s men held off Price’s Confederate army during the day and when night time fell they were able to slip away leaving the Confederates with possession of the fort.

On the site is a granite monument that marks where a mass grave is.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Center that can be used to do a self-guided tour.  The visitor center offers a narrated version of the battle and its context within the Civil War.

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Dam of the Iron Mountain Lake  in Missouri

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Wooden bridge spanning the creek that handles the overflow.

After visiting Fort Davidson we headed over to see Iron Mountain Lake in St. Francois county of Missouri.  It is located in the city of Iron Mountain Lake whose population was estimated in 2016 to be around 736.

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View from the top of Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri

Our next stop would be Taum Sauk Mountain which is a part of the St. Francois Mountains.  It is the highest natural point in the state of Missouri coming in at 1,772 feet.  It is believed that Tom Sauk Mountain was named after Sauk-Ton-Qua a Piankeshaw chief.  The view on top is quite breathtaking in the least.

There is a state park on Taum Sauk that is made up of 7500 acres.  There are a series of trails in the park including a portion of the Ozark Trail.  There is a 12-site basic campground and a special use area for non-profit youth organizations.  For day use there is a picnic area.

The park has its own legend.  It is a Native American “Romeo and Juliet” story.  The daughter of Piankeshaw chieftain Sauk-Ton-Qua’s daughter Mina Sauk fell in love with an Osage Indian warrior.  They met secretly and one day she was caught in his arms.  There was a trial and he was found guilty and he was executed.  Mina Sauk was so heartbroken she plunged from a cliff and took her own life.  This tragedy unfolded at a place on the mountain now called Mina Sauk Falls.

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View on top of Tom Sauk Mountain

We loaded up and headed to Elephant Rocks State Park, a geologic marvel. The park encompasses an outcrop of Precambrian granite in the Saint Francois Mountains.  The name comes from a line of large granite boulders that resemble elephants.  Recreation is available in the form of picnicking, rock climbing and trail exploration. It is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  The land that makes up the park was donated by geologist John Stafford in 1967.

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Elephant Rocks

 

The last stop was the historic Caledonia, MO., a small town located in Washington county.  The town was laid out in 1819 and was named after the Roman Empire’s Latin name for Scotland.  The town has had the presence of a post office since 1819.  The 2010 census showed a population of 130.  The town is also known for its annual Pumpkin Festival.

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Two historical homes of  Caledonia

It was a good day and there is so much to see in the Arcadia Valley.  There is also Johnson Shut Ins, Royal Gorge, Marble Creek Recreation Area and Immanuel Lutheran Church 1861.  There are places to camp or one can choose to stay in one of the many Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or motels.  The towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob are located within the valley.  It is a great way to spend the day or weekend.  I highly recommend Fort Davidson Restaurant if you are looking for some great cooking.

Spread the love and be kind to each other.

 

Simple Man?

Well you know what’s wrong with the world today, people done gone and put their Bibles away. They’re living by the law of the jungle not the law of the land. Well the good book says it so I know it’s truth an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. You better watch where you’re going, remember where you been. That’s the way I see it. I’m a simple man. Charlie Daniels/Simple Man

Simple : of simple origin or modest position. Just what is a “simple man”?

I think of myself as a “simple man”. I am easily entertained and have been told that I am a damn good cook.

I am not a religious man, I am a spiritual man. I am happier in a kayak on the river than sitting in the theater or in a sports stadium. I prefer to do my own cooking than eat out at a restaurant.

I love camping. At 64 I still prefer a tent over an RV.

Some people call me hillbilly, redneck or country boy. Don’t care what you call me just don’t call me late to dinner. Like Hank Williams Jr said in his song, I can skin a buck and run a trot line I will survive.

I stand for the National Anthem. I open the door for a lady and I still say yes sir and yes ma’am. I believe in the second amendment and I am a Patriot and a member of the NRA.

What the world needs now is love, respect and a little more common sense. Every time I hear the old Wizard of Oz song If I Only Had A Brain, I think of our Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I love my animals and I consider them family. If you come to my house I guarantee you will leave with dog hair on your clothes. If my dogs don’t like you then you can bet your sweet arse I won’t either.

Burn the American Flag and your walking on the fightin’ side of me. There’s nothing prettier than a new born filly ‘cepting maybe a new born speckled pup. If you talk bad about my mamma that would be a huge mistake.

I like being alone. Life is simpler that way. You don’t have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings, entertaining them and there is a whole lot less drama.

I don’t know if these things are indicative of a simple man but I think of myself as one.

Remember to spread the love and to be kind to one another

Joy of Friendship

=-“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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My story begins in a small second grade classroom located in the High Ridge Elementary school in the year 1961.  That is when David Tripp and I became friends.  I begin writing about our friendship on the eve our next adventure.  I hope you find it entertaining.

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My house for the weekend

 

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David’s home for the weekend.

As I have stated in the beginning David and I met in second grade.  We went on to become graduates of Northwest High School in House Springs, MO.  We went our separate ways and were actually reunited through social media.  In 2010 our ole buddy Tommy Parton planned a fishing day and we saw each other face to face for the first time in over 35 years.  After that reunion David and I started getting together once a year to do some fishing and reminiscing.  The subject of this blog is our 2018 trip.

David is quite an accomplished artist and is quite busy with art shows so it is hard for him to get free.  We finally got it pinned down for this year and we decided on Silver Mines.  I did a blog on Silver Mines in the fall 0f 2017.  I used to visit the area when I was a teenager.

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Trail leading to the old dam.

We arrived around 11:30 am and began setting up camp.  The weather forecast called for rain and wouldn’t you know it, they actually got it right.  Now I am here to tell you when two 64 year old men go tent camping there can be some humorous moments.

The first one was getting our lean, athletic (yeah right LOL) into those tents.  Now let me tell you that is no easy feat.  The best way I found was to just drop to the ground like you are on fire then do the worm through the tent entrance.  Ahh, I am safely with in the cocoon.  Oh crap!  At sometime I have to leave the cocoon.  When the time came I once again did the worm through the entrance and there I lay on my belly.  A grown man who looks like he has fallen and can’t get up.  I finally muster enough energy and coordination to get up and it sounded like somebody poured milk over a bowl of Rice Krispies, snap, crackle, pop.

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David in his element.

Now I have to tell on my friend David.  The ground was causing David some problems. so to help him sleep we went to town and he bought him an air mattress.  Now David’s tent wasn’t 2,000 square feet.  So David sets about placing this spacious mattress within the confines of his tent.  I now know what it looks like when someone tries to put a size 38 waist into a pair of 34 jeans.  However I do now know it can be done!

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The old dam.  You can see we did get some rain.

Well the weather more than PPed on our parade.  It poured.  I lost track but I think we survived four typhoons and a hurricane.  Both our tents were one man tents.  David had a Magellan and I had a Bushnell.  I can say they both were fantastic through the storms.  Only tense moment with my tent happened at 3:05 am.  My bladder woke me from a deep sleep and when I tried to get out, the zipper was stuck.  When you are 64 years old you just don’t have the holding power and knowing this I began to panic.  Finally I was able to get it unstuck and I found I could get out of the tent easier than I thought I could.

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Old overflow at the damn.

 

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Path to dam.

 

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Near Turkey Creek.

 

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Part of the dam that is left.

 

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Bridge across Turkey Creek.

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“Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship.” – Epicurus

Friendship is the greatest gift someone can give you.  Don’t take it for granted.

Thank you reading my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Spread the love.

(All pictures were taken by me and are the property of Double D Acres LLC and can not be used without my permission.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                               

 

 

 

 

Bonne Terre, Mo Vacation

 

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St. Francois River in Silver Mines Recreation Area

 

Vacation time is upon us.  Do you like small towns?  If you do, don’t look any further than Bonne Terre, MO located in St. Francois County about 60 miles south of St. Louis, MO..  Population is a little over seven thousand and it is located in the lead belt of Missouri.  The French settled here in 1720 after the discovery of iron ore.  It was platted as a town in 1880.

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Bonne Terre Dragstrip

National Geographic calls Bonne Terre Mine “One of America’s Top 10 Greatest adventures. Take a walking tour of the old mine and take a boat ride on the Billion Gallon underground lake.  They also have scuba diving classes.  You can find out more at http://www.bonneterremine.com.

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A turtle sunning at Bismark Lake

There are many near by attractions one can also enjoy.  If you are a fisherman you are in luck.  Big river is near by and Bismark Lake.  Bonne Terre has its own city lake.  Then there  is Monsanto Lake located in beautiful St. Joe Park.  You can also ride your four wheeler or dirt bike in the off road park inside St. Joe Park.

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Monsanto Lake

Bonne Terre is only 32 miles from the Arcadia Valley.  In the valley you will find the towns of Arcadia, Ironton and Pilot Knob.  A significant battle of the Civil War happened in the valley at Fort Davidson in Pilot Knob.  Just up the road from there you can find Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Elephant Rocks and Taum Sauk State Parks.

 

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A building inside St. Joe Park

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  It is much appreciated.  You get a chance check out Bonne Terre.  Be safe out there.  Spread the love!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The River; A Magical Treasure (For Some)

 

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“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

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“A river seems a magic thing.  A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.” – Laura Gilpin

I was finally afforded an opportunity to spend some time on the Big River.  I decided to kayak and fish the St. Francois State Park area of the river.  I went on a Thursday so I had the park pretty much to myself.  I was even able to accommodate myself with some time to read some of Emerson’s work.  The only distraction I had was the chirping of the crickets and the crackling of the fire.

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Home for a couple of days.

The river was really low.  It was hard to fish and float.  I did manage to catch some fish though.  Not very big but when you are fishing with an ultralite with 4 pound test they don’t have to be very big to have fun catching them.  I did catch enough to consume for supper on the second day.

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My time spent on the river is always magical and mesmerizing.  It has been that way since I was a snotty nosed kid.  I cherish the world of the river and the way it can recharge my spirit and soul.  To see the fall painting that Mother Nature had brushed onto  the foliage was a site to behold.

The first day on the river I never crossed paths with another person.  I had the river all to myself and it is hard to explain what a great feeling it is.  My mind races trying to take in all the wonderful things that I am surrounded by everything grabbing my attention at once.  Even though I have been here before I feel like a child in a candy store.

I wish I could explain the “peaceful  easy feeling” that I experience upon every visit to the river.   It is quite refreshing and it gives one a great opportunity to find themselves.

The downside of the river is that everything cooked on an open fire tastes amazing so therefore one tends to eat too much.

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Coffee, bacon, biscuits and eggs

 

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Funny how many times I have read this book and when I get out on the river and clear my mind of all the garbage it has accumulated since the last visit, I find something I have missed.  Emerson did not believe that one could simply change society by changing the laws, or by imposing new regulations.  For one to effectively change the laws of a state, the minds of the citizens must be changed first through culture  or education.  Forgive me for getting off subject.  This is food for another blog on another day.

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I am a realist and I know the river doesn’t work as well for some as it does me.  Not everyone is comfortable on the river and not everyone likes to fish.  I urge you though to find your “river” in life, no matter what it is.  Then share it with the rest of the world.  Spread the love.

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I also realize not everyone likes reading Emerson.  In closing I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it.  I wish you luck in finding your “river” and “Emerson”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Mines Recreation Area

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Turkey Creek meets St. Francis River/Silver Mines

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir  Our National Parks

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

I would like to share with you an area in Madison County Missouri located along the St. Francis River.  It is a piece of paradise named Silver Mines Recreation Area.  It is part of the old Einstein Mines where the Einstein Mining Company began mining silver, tungsten and lead in 1877 and ceased mining in 1946.  The area is known  for its Precambrian and felsite rocks.

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

Silver Mines offers a variety of recreational opportunities and is abundant with historical and geological wonders.  The St. Francis River is the only river in Missouri classified as a “white water” river.  It is very popular with kayakers during the spring high water.  Parts of the river are used for swimming, other parts are good fishing and the state holds an annual kayaking competition the third weekend of March, providing  the water levels are sufficient.  There is a two mile trail that follows both sides of the river with some breath taking views, for those addicted to hiking.

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

When I was younger we would meet my grandparents there and camp for the weekend.  I took a couple of walks down memory lane and I recalled all the good times we had there.  It was all tent camping and sometimes it got rough.  There were some great camp sites and the park was well maintained.  The area is alive with spectacular scenery and is occupied by many varieties of wildlife.

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St. Francis River near Fredericktown, MO

“In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out til sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

 

“Any fool can destroy trees.  They cannot run away; and if they could, they could, they would be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones.” – John Muir

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St. Francis River/Silver Mines

Well I hope you enjoyed reading and I thank you for taking the time to do so.  We are blessed with some very nice state parks in Missouri and I tip my hat to the Missouri Conservation Department.  If you have never been here, be sure and put it on your bucket list.  Spread the Love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally!!

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David and Mark

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”  – Thomas Aquinas

On June 22 at noon the Geritol Crew finally shoved off and floated a portion of the Big River.  We started at St. Francois State Park and floated to Cherokee Landing.  It was a beautiful day for a float.  David and Mark used Mark’s canoe and I took my Kayak.   Water was low but clear.  We caught a few fish but they weren’t biting very well.  Mark did catch a sixteen inch smallmouth.

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David and Mark

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Big River

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Big River

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Big River at St. Francois State Park

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Big River

It was a great time with friends.  We took a trip down memory lane and revisited our time at Northwest High School.  When we got to Cherokee Landing no one was around so we loaded everything in the truck and headed out to St. Francois State Park and pitched tents.

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My tent at St Francois State Park

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Coffee perking

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Frying the bacon

I am lucky that I got to spend some time with some old high school buddies.  David and I hit the Bonne Terre lake one day.

Thanks for reading.  Hope you liked the pics.  Be kind to one another, share the love and don’t squat with your spurs on.

 

Hawn State Park

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Pickle Creek in Hawn State Park near St Genevieve, MO

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” – Anne Frank

What a beautiful day here in the Show Me State, Missouri.  Mind boggling weather I tells ya!  I don’t know what the high was today but temps were in the sixties.  I have a feeling we are going to pay for this beautiful February weather we have been having.  Well me and the little woman decided to take a trip to Hawn State Park.

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Cripple Creek

Hawn State Park is located in Ste. Genevieve county near Ste. Genevieve.  The park is made up of 4,953 acres and was established in 1955.Inside the park boundaries are three state designated Natural Areas.  They are Pickle Creek, LaMotte Sandstone Barrens, and Botkin’s Pine Woods.

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Bluff on Cripple Creek

The park offers camping, fishing, picnicking, and has three trails for hiking:Whispering Pine Trail – 10 miles, Pickle Creek Trail – 1 mile and White Oak Trail.  There are 9 campsites open all year.  They have fifty camp sites.  They have full service and primitive sites.  There are also some walk-in sites.  They also have a day use area for picnicking and an open picnic shelter that can be reserved.

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Cripple Creek

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs

How many of you out there have and have not took advantage of states’ park systems?  If you have never taken the time to just go somewhere and immerse yourself into the serene, peaceful, relaxing atmosphere of nature it is time you make plans to do it “yesterday”.  Have some alone time with mother nature and let her have the time needed to heal you.  I use that time to recharge my spirit and to cleanse my soul.  You will also learn a lot about yourself.

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Cripple Creek

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

Slow Down and Smell the River (cont.)

Please forgive me I seemed to hit the wrong button.

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There was no Wi-Fi or cell phones.  You actually sat around the campfire and talked to EACH other.  No vides players in your vehicles, IPads or Smart Phones.  With all of these things missing in life one would actually slow down and smell the river.  We  fished.  We swam.  Made rope swings.  Most importantly, we talked.  Yep I know it is hard to believe.  I enjoyed those days immensely.  Those were the days my friend…… those were the days.

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I challenge each and every one of you to put the toys of modern technology down and go to the river.  You don’t need to have a boat to enjoy the river.  Go out and wet a line.  If you don’t like to take the fish off the hook then just don’t bait the hook.  Build a fire or better yet camp on the river bank for the night.  Most importantly relax, clear your mind and close your eyes and listen to the creatures of the river and………… smell the river.

All the pics above are on the Bourbeuse River in Missouri and were taken with a $99 camera.