The Cycle of Mother Nature

“The promise of spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter. ” – Jen Selinsky

No matter how much one dislikes winter it is an intricate part of the cycle of the seasons.

Winter is a time when Mother Earth becomes dormant and enters a state of hibernation. It is the season known for creating depression within humans.

The trees stand naked all except for a few leaves hanging on refusing to fall to the ground.

The winter snow and rains begin a state of decay. This will add much needed nutrients into the earth that will feed the vegetation and tree roots. The moisture from the winter snows and rain is stored in the earth waiting to quench the thirst of the seed planted by farmers in the spring.

“Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows. Lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes a rose.” From the song The Rose

The spring sun’s warmth coaxes the seed to sprout. The bare limbs of the trees start to bud out and the leaves begin to grow. The grass begins to green up and Mother Earth’s landscape becomes peppered with the color of new flowers.

The warmer temps of summer soon take over. These temps help escalate the growth of the plants. Fruit becomes bigger on the plants. The warm nights help the plants grow even faster.

Fall finally arrives and harvest time approaches. As the temps cool the landscape begins to show the breathtaking colors of fall. The growing season starts to come to a close.

Once again the onslaught of winter arrives. Once again Mother Nature has come full circle. The cycle of the four seasons is once again complete.

Spread the love and be kind to one another.

A Day on the St. Francois River

The St Francois River is a tributary of the Mississippi River. It is 426 miles long and meanders through northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri.

In the springtime they have kayak races on the part that goes through Silver Mines Park. Fishing is fair with a large variety of fish.

They were calling for a high near 70 degrees for today. That was all I needed to hear. I was river bound. I decided to try a new place that I had found. It was on the St Francois River in an area I had never fished.

I really didn’t think the fish would be hitting anything that I had in my tackle box. Just 3 days ago the high for the day was 9 degrees and a front was moving into the area today bringing rain with it. Well that wasn’t enough to stop me. I loaded the yak in the truck and headed out for a day of peace and relaxation.

The air temp was 55 degrees when I got to the river and the water temp was damn cold! It would not be a good day to flip the yak.

The water clarity was clear and water level was normal for this time of year. I didn’t go upstream 20 yards before I had to get out and pull the yak through the riffles. Once through there was a good 300 yard stretch with numerous deep holes and lots of structure and cover for the bass to suspend in. I knew to get them to hit I was going to have to drop my lure right under their nose.

I knew as cold as the water was I was going to have to fish a slow moving lure. This time of the year bass are lethargic and slow to attack the food source. So my choice was a pig and jig and a Charley Brewer slider worm.

The morning really started off slow. Not one single hit in 4 hours. Then a little after one p.m. I got a hit and set the hook. Didn’t appear it was going to be much of a fight then I guess it decided, not today bucko and the fight was on. After about 5 minutes I got it close enough to the boat so I could see it. OMG!!!!! He was big. My heart started beating 200 beats a minute then crap: I forgot the dip net.

Well he dove under the yak and popped up on the other side. With the help of the cold water it tired quickly. I got it up to the yak and I lipped it and put it in the boat.

OMG! What a beauty. I put it on the board and it was a hair over 20 inches. I admired its beauty and returned it to the river. It was a spotted/Kentucky black bass.

I caught two more spotted/Kentucky black bass.

Eleven and a half inches

Thirteen inches

All in all it was a great day. When I pulled out of the river it was 68 degrees. I felt good. I really needed that.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It is very much appreciated. Remember to spread the love and be kind to each other.

All photos are property of Double D Acres LLC and May not be reproduced without written consent from me.

The River is Calling

I know I write a lot about the river. It is a big part of my life. I know it is hard for some to understand my passion for the river. For those that don’t have a chance to enjoy the river I hope you can get to experience it through my writing.

I love to be on the river at early dawn. Just as the fog starts to lift off the river. You can hear the fish hitting the top of the water partaking of their morning breakfast.

Songbirds fill the morning air with their beautiful music and the squawk of a Heron can be heard.

The river is my utopia and my kayak is my yacht. The world seems so perfect there. I have watched deer cross the river 10 yards in front of me. Watched beaver hard at work and have had Bald Eagles fly above me. One early morning I had an otter swim up and put his paws on the side of the kayak.

I can sit for hours and listen to the sound of the water working it’s way through the riffles. I can feel the tension start to melt as I begin to relax. There is so much that goes on at the river.

It’s a place one can go to take the time to know themselves better.

It’s a place to shed your troubles and worries.

It’s a drug you can’t overdose on.

It’s a place that can cause you to be overwhelmed with joy.

It’s a place where your soul, spirit, and mind can be healed.

In time it is a place of memories.

I am truly addicted to the peacefulness of the river. My love for the river has been around for a long time.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate it. Remember to spread the love and be kind to one another.

Until Next Year!

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“Time will pass and seasons will come and go.” – Roy Bean

The end of the fishing season on the rivers here in Missouri for me has come to the end of the season.  On sunny days I will still float the river but fishing will have to wait until spring.

I know you all are probably getting tired of hearing my fishing stories so I will keep today’s blog short.  I put in the river at 8:30 a.m. and the temperature was 30 degrees. The “weather guessers” were calling for a high of 60.  The fourth cast of the day I caught a largemouth bass.  It appeared the fishing would be good toaday.  So I thought.

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The wind was a force I really didn’t want to deal with.  At one point I was going through a shallow, swift area of the river when a wind gust hit me head on and actually pushed me and the yak back up river against the current.  It made it pretty difficult to fish.

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That morning I caught 2 large mouth bass and one smallmouth bass.  Oh well a bad day on the river is better than a good day at work.  After lunch it didn’t get any better.  I caught 1 smallmouth and 2 perch and that was it.  It wasn’t the way I wanted to end the fishing season but next season will be here before we know it.

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It was a good year.  The Big River really is becoming a trophy smallmouth bass area.  The largest one I caught, actually put in the boat, was 16 inches.  Here in Missouri it takes approximately 7 to 9 years for them to grow to 15 inches.  I also caught a 19 inch largemouth and an 8 pound channel cat.

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I want to thank my high school friends David Tripp and Mark Nelson for taking time out of their busy schedules and doing some fishing with me.  I had a good time and hope you two did also.

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Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  It is very much appreciated.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Photography is one of my passions.  Remember to spread the love, be kind to each other and above all, respect each other.

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All the photos were taken on the Big River near Desloge, MO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Fishing on the Big River

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On October 17, I embarked on another adventure on the Big River.  I had a client that shuttled my yak and I so I could do a straight through float.  I hit the water at 8:30 am and the temp was 37 degrees.  The sun was coming up and the fog was starting to lift.  It was going to be a beautiful day.  The high was supposed to be 55 however the wind was a big pain in the yak.

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Big River near DeSoto, MO

On my third throw of the day I cast my lure around the boat ramp.  I reeled in a couple turns and whammy.  Something hit hard and the fight was on.  I fought it for about 5 minutes and then all of a sudden it was over.  It had got off.  In the next 15 minutes I hooked 3 more and got them about half way to the boat and they would get off.  It was like I was jinxed.

I fished about a half an hour and not a hit.  Then, whammy.  I had one on.  It was a 13 inch smallmouth and it appeared the jinx was over.  I caught 5 more smallies and 1 largemouth and 4 spotted bass.  Around 1 pm I pulled up on a gravel bar and ate lunch.

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My kayak on Big River near DeSoto, MO.

Around 1:30 I started on down the river only to be greeted by a Bald Eagle that Mark and I had seen the week before in the same area.  What a magnificent bird indeed.

I continued to catch fish.  I caught them on a  Rapala floating minnow and a Rebel Wee-Craw which caught the most.  Last week with my buddy Mark I had caught some on a pig and jig and a plastic worm but couldn’t buy a bite with them today.

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A 13 inch largemouth bass

 

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A 16 inch smallmouth bass

The day was going good and then it happened.  I had cast the Wee-Craw and retrieved it a couple turns when wham!  Something had hit the lure and hard.  It started peeling line and headed up stream.  I was in some shallow fast moving water and I knew it was going to create a problem.  I was in good shape as long as the yak stayed in the middle of the river but then I hit a pocket of water that started pushing me to the bank.  I got it right up next to the boat and I saw what was the biggest smallmouth that I had ever hooked.  It looked like something you see in a Bass Pro Shop aquarium.  The 16 inch I had caught was dwarfed by this smallie.  Then, this was all taking place now in about 3 foot of water and I could easily see the bottom, I saw it zero in on a tree branch on the bottom and wrap my line around a limb.  Here I am sitting with one of my biggest dreams right there in front of me and I can’t do anything but watch it tug then finally pull loose.  I was devastated!!!!!

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Rebel Wee-Craw

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Rapala original floating minnow

When the initial shock of losing the biggest smallie I had ever caught wore off I headed on down river making my way to the boat ramp.  Along the way I managed to catch several more smallies and spotted bass.  It was a great day.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Remember to spread the love.  A few more pics of the river that day.

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Big River

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Big River

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Big River

A Lazy Day on the River

 

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Big River near Fletcher, MO.

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

On October 9, my long time friend Mark and I finally got together for a float on the Big River.  We have been trying to get together for a float for 3 months now.  It was well worth the wait.  The temps were in the upper 70s, and the water was clear.  It was overcast with the sun popping out from time to time.   All in all it was setting up to be a great day.

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Big River near Fletcher, MO.

I brought along 3 poles and Mark had brought only one.  I use ultra-lights with 4 pound test line.  We launched our yaks at Mammoth access and planned to float to Merrill Horse access.  I believe it is a little over 5 miles.

The leaves on the trees were starting to change colors but unfortunately their colors hadn’t matured yet.  It was quite breezy however we were able to handle it. The river was low but we never had to get out and pull our yaks across shallow places.

 

“Rivers run through our history and folklore, and link us as a people.  They nourish and refresh us and provide a home for dazzling varieties of fish and wildlife and trees and plants of every sort.  We are a nation rich in rivers.” – Charles Kuralt

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I caught this nice 15 1/2 inch smallmouth.

The fish bit real well for a while and then they shut down.  While they were biting they weren’t picky.  We caught them on a Rebel Wee-Craw and Floating Minnow, Pig and Jig, and Plastic Worms (two different colors).  We caught perch,  largemouth and smallmouth.  The length limit of smallmouth in Missouri (on the Big River) is 15 inches.  I choose not to keep smallmouth because it takes one 6 to 7 years to reach 15 inches.

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Big River

“The River…It’s my world, and I don’t want any other.  What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.  Lord! the times we have had together!” Kenneth Grahame

Everything was going smoothly and then it happened.  My paddle broke and we still had some swift places to get through and without the proper paddle they would have been difficult to navigate.  This is why one should always carry a knife with them.

Well I think Mark and I would be classified as country boys and maybe a hillbilly tag on myself.  So we went to work and fixed the paddle good enough to get me back to the boat ramp.  McGyver would have been proud of us.

 

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Paddle Repair 101

It was a good day.  I always enjoy my time on the river and it is nice when a friend goes a long to enjoy it with you.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Be kind to one another and spread the love.

The River; As I See It

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Bourbeuse River in the fall.

 

“The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.” – John Muir

I have been having a battle with writer’s block and I seem to be losing.  Wanted to go to the river this weekend but with forecast calling for 3 to 6 inches of rain in the area and flash flood warnings I decided to pass.  I would have to wait for another chance.

I long for that much needed quiet time on the river with the croaking bullfrogs, crickets, the howling of the coyotes and that occasional slap of the beaver’s tail on the water warning the other beaver in the area that they have an intruder within their territory.

“There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, and ancient mother – love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.” – John Muir

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Borubeuse River on a fall morning.

I love gazing into the night sky at all the stars shining down upon me.   The peace and tranquility soon overtake me and allows my spirit and soul to recharge.  I become one with Nature at this moment and feel all the negative energy exit my being and I begin to look at life with a positive attitude.  It allows me to use logic in my thinking unencumbered by my emotions.  It is a feeling I will never be able to adequately express with words.  It is something that one must experience and feel in their heart before one can understand the true feeling of total peace within oneself.

If for some reason I lose the ability to be able to interact with Nature and the river in this capacity, I will not be long of this world.  I truly understand how John Muir had such and immense love of the mountains.  His mountains are my rivers.  I wish I could just live on the banks of the river and explore it daily.  It is my Utopia my safe place.  My experiences on the river enhance my quality of life and I develop a better understanding of life.  I won’t ever grow tired of the serenity of the river.

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Bourbeuse River (Picture by Double D Acres LLC)

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Until next time, be kind to one another and spread the love.

 

Time on the River

 

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Big River near DeSoto, MO as darkness gives way to the dawn.

I have always been mesmerized by the beauty of the river.  Due to flooding it is constantly changing but Mother Nature seems to always protect its beauty.  If only man would cherish the river as much as Mother Nature.  The pollution and the trash left behind has grown, adding an ugliness that shouldn’t be there.

“The River… It’s my world, and I don’t want any other.  What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.  Lord! the times we’ve had together.” – Kenneth Grahame

On August 11, I decided to spend a very much needed night on the river.  Temps were in the 90s and humidity was high.  I loaded up and went to Mammoth Access on the Big River in Missouri.  A lot of people on the river and I got a lot of stares.  I have had a round with melanoma so I show up in a long sleeve shirt and jeans and really don’t look like I belong.  I board my yacht and head up river for a much anticipated night of relaxation.

As I paddle I look for spots to set limb lines and a place to make camp for the night.  I opted out of taking a tent and would opt to catnap on board my trusty yak.  After finding places for lines and camp I went to an area to do some bass fishing however the fish didn’t seem to like the smorgasbord I provided for them.  I finally started tight line fishing and waited for dusk to show up at which time I would set and bait lines in hopes of catching some catfish.

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Big River near DeSoto, MO as dawn takes over the night.

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

I finally finished getting the lines set and baited around 8:30 p.m.  I then set up camp and  set up for tight line fishing while I waited until time to run my lines.  I like to run my lines every 2 and a half hours.  All I seemed to get was empty lines with no bait.  There was a bait stealer loose in the Big River.  My luck wasn’t much better with my tight line fishing but I did manage to get a good fire started.

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The night got cool enough that the fire actually felt good.

Finally I managed to catch a drum, or stone perch.  I put it on a stringer because I had plans for it.  I also managed to catch a sucker but since it wasn’t high on my culinary preferences I returned it to the river.  They are pretty bony.

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One of Missouri’s suckers.

Around 4:30 a.m. my beef stew MRE had began to wear of so I prepared the fish for breakfast.  I didn’t have anything to cook it in so I improvised and rigged up quite a contraption to cook it with.  I used some green tree limbs and fashioned sort of a spit and cooked it 10 minutes on each side and I am here to tell you it was delicious.

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Breakfast on the river.

The darkness began to give over its control to the rays of sunshine.  I headed out to run my lines and take them out.  As I was running the lines I heard something that sounded just like a lamb.  I use to raise sheep so I know the sound all too well.  I could hear it but couldn’t see it.  finally it broke out of the brush and to may surprise it was a fawn still sporting its spots.  I figured it got separated from its mom and hopefully it wasn’t an orphan.  Then I got my answer.  I hear the bleat of a doe and the fawn spun around and headed back into the brush giving what sounded like a very happy round of bleats.

“A river or stream is a cycle of energy from sun to plants to insects to fish.  It is a continuum only broken by humans.” – Aldo Leopold

All the lines were empty and void of bait but one.  I noticed that it was wrapped over a limb but is wasn’t moving so I figured I had caught one and it wrapped the line around the limb and got off.  I managed to pull the line and limb up but to my surprise the line wasn’t empty.  No sirree!  As it broke the service I found a 20 pound, at least, soft shell turtle hooked by its foot.  This means that its head was free.  Now I am here to tell you when it comes to the length of a neck the giraffe has nothing on a very pissed off soft shell turtle.  Now the pucker factor has kicked in and his neck extends way out, jaws snapping and barley misses my arm.  We wrestled for a while and I was finally able to unhook him and I gave a sigh of relieve that was probably heard in St. Louis.

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Phot of Big River by Double D Acres LLC.

After all the excitement and I calmed down a little I headed up river for about 2 hours and then turned around and fished my way back to the boat ramp.  I managed to catch one small Largemouth bass and that was all she wrote.

It wasn’t a very productive fishing trip but the relaxation and peacefulness I enjoyed was priceless.  Being alone on the river without any distractions is the perfect way I have found to cleanse the soul and recharge the spirit.  I have always said when I die I want to be cremated and my ashes spread in the river.  That is the only place that I can experience a true sense of peace and tranquility.

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

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I apologize for being a little long winded.  If you get a chance to sit on the bank of a river, close your eyes.  Listen to the running water and feel its energy.  Like us it has a destination.  A beginning and an end.  It has its low times (summer) and high times (floods).  Outside the interference of man, dams and levees, it manages to take out any obstacle in its way to its destination.  We can learn a lot about life from a river.  Remember to spread the love.

 

A Much Needed Night on the River

 

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Smallmouth Bass caught on the Big River. (13 and 3/4 inches long.)

Finally on June 23, I was finally able to feed my addiction, I spent the night on Big River near Leadwood, Mo.  They were calling for rain both days however I only got sprinkled on a couple of times.  To top things off the night sky was sporting an almost full moon.

My adventure started around 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.  I put the yak in the water and headed up river.  I fished as I went along, looking for places to set my limb lines and a place to set up camp.  I had opted not to take a tent and was looking for a place sheltered from the west in case a storm blew up.  I finally found a perfect gravel bar that had a 10 foot bank sheltering me from the west winds so I continued up river so that I could let the current bring me back down the river.  That would make it easier to fish that stretch of the river.

As I fished my way back to the camp site it started out a little disheartening.  Fish didn’t seem interested in anything I had to offer.  Then I caught a rock bass and even though it wasn’t very big it was a start.  I ended up catching several panfish and 8 smallmouth bass under 8 inches.  Then I hooked something of size and the fight was on.  When using an ultralight with 4 pound test line you can’t rush things.  I had no idea what it was then it came straight up out of the water and did a tail walk.  It was a largemouth bass.  We went back and forth for around 10 minutes and then it did its fifth tail walk, gave me a big grin and spit the lure out of his mouth and I am pretty sure he was laughing at me as he hit the water and disappeared.  Damn the luck.

 

I made it back to the camp site, unloaded the yak and got a fire going.  Now f you have never started a fire with wet wood you probably have no idea how frustrating that can be.  With no fish, Vienna Sausages were on the menu.  I had 7 limb lines out so I rigged up a line to fish tight line from the bank, baited with nightcrawlers. I ran my lines at 11 p.m. and all the bait was gone and no fish.

I ran the lines again and still no fish so I went back to camp.  Around 15 minutes after I got in camp I heard a growl come from up on the bank.  Now there are many different kinds of growls.  There is the I don’t like you growl, stay away growl and the I am going to scare this old man.  This growl wasn’t any of those.  It was more a kick arse and take names kind of growl.  I slipped over and got my 45 out of the water tight box and stood real still.  After around 5 minutes, but it seemed like 5 hours, it moved on.  I let out a sigh of relief and went back to fishing.

Around 3 a.m. I heard something making a racket in the direction of one of my limb lines so I shove off and head in that direction.  I shine the limb that my line is tied too and the limb is shaking up and down and going in all directions.  I ease up and grab the line and start pulling it in and on the either is a huge snapping turtle.  It decides it wants to come aboard my yak and the fight is on.  Only problem was I didn’t have room for a 30 pound snapper.  I finally got him loose and headed back to camp.

As the darkness started retreating and the light started to flood the morning sky I heated up some water to pour into my MRE and made some coffee.  Around 5:30 a.m. I began breaking camp and loaded the yak and headed back up the river for some fishing action.  At 9:30 I heard the awfullest racket coming  from downstream around a bend in the river.  Finally I see several cows making their way up the river crossing the river and heading up the hill on the other side.

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That was pretty much my weekend in a nutshell and what an enjoyable night it was.  I needed to recharge my spirit and the adventure in nature was what I needed.  I can’t wait to see what the next river adventure brings.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did my river adventure.  Stay safe and spread the love.

 

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.)