Monday, April 12, 2010

Floating the Eleven Point

It turns out that I will soon be moving from Missouri to Pennsylvania. So I'm trying to see as much of the Ozarks as I can before I leave. I had never hiked the Eleven Point section of the Ozark Trail. This trail follows the Eleven Point river so I decided that rather than hiking it I would take a 2-day canoe trip down the river and camp overnight on a sand bar and see the same territory from a different perspective.

I rented a canoe from Richard's Canoe Rental. Richard moved out from St Louis in the early 70s and he and his daughter run the place. The eleven point river is not as popular a destination as the Current or Jacks Fork rivers apparently. That means that it's much less crowded although some people I know who have floated both claim that the Eleven Point is nicer.

The eleven point river is spring fed, and not just from one spring. There are many springs along the river, some of which are quite impressive and add significantly to the flow. This one is called Roaring Spring because of the sound it makes as the water rushes out from the rocks a few feet above the level of the river.

Springtime in the Ozarks is a beautiful time. I was just in time to see the bluebells in their full glory.

In the evening I pulled my canoe onto a gravelly sandbar and built a fire from drift wood (very plentiful). It was really delightful. It's early enough in the spring that the insects aren't really out and so the night was quiet. The sky was clear and the view of the stars was perfect. I fell asleep looking up at them as my fire burned down to embers.

On thing I keep forgetting is that when you are camped near a river the morning dew is pretty thick. I brought a warm synthetic quilt because I was afraid it might get cold. In the morning the quilt was quite wet on top (although I stayed dry). I'm glad I didn't bring the down quilt. When the sun came out I draped the quilt over a nearby branch and it was soon dry and ready to be packed up.

On of the great things about these Missouri rivers is the bluffs that overlook the river. I took several pictures but this was the only one that turned out the way I wanted.

I floated about 30 miles in all. From Thomasville to a boat launch called Whitten Access. I had a really nice time. I'm glad I got to experience this before I leaving this fine state.


Ted C. MacRae said...

Sorry to see you leaving!

I agree - the Eleven Point is better than the Current for floating, and not just because of fewer people. However, the Jack's Fork is supreme!

You need to do whatever you can to try to hike the OT Eleven Point Section - it is my favorite section due to the stunning views over the river and generally more "glady" habitats atop the river bluffs.

A.J. said...

It is a great, scenic river!

Lybi said...

Lovely pictures of the bluebells! The plants are so different from the desert flora I see every day. So nice to see them in the spring.

So, can we look forward to blogs about the wild Pennsylvania wilderness in the future?

A.J. said...

Before you leave, we should hike somewhere. Penn is nice, but it's no Ozarks.