The "Rumble" group is passing Florissant as I am writing this. They have a 29-mile leg today, which will finish up at the Lewis and Clark State Memorial Park in Illinois sometime this afternoon. At that time they'll begin loading gear and boats in and on their own vehicles for transport home. The evening will be capped off with a celebratory group dinner, followed by a night's rest for Jim in an air-conditioned hotel room. Florissant is a fairly large city of some 55,000+ inhabitants, an outer-ring bedroom community for St. Louis. The river our group is on today takes many twists and turns, ending up at the Mississippi River. The group will actually have to cross the "Big M" today, to reach their final destination in Illinois. I sure hope the temperatures they'll be experiencing are a bit lower than they are here in northwestern OK. It reached 111 degrees on our patio yesterday, in the shade of a large pecan tree. We have four exotic pet birds caged in the shade of that tree also, and maintain a misting system to help keep them cool. Many wild birds have decided it's a nice place in which to rest during the heat of the day. There is also a large birdbath in the yard, and a shallow pan of water on the ground for the small four-legged creatures who wander in. We are currently playing host to 5 Mississpii Hawks, numerous Blackbirds, a pair of Orioles, a family of Blue Jays and lots of Doves, several squirrels and a couple of rabbits. The small birds have all disappeared - hopefully they haven't expired from the heat and lack of water. I don't think the presence of the larger birds has chased them away - those seem to have established a truce amongst themselves and wander freely about without fear of each other. They just sit with their wings ajar, dispersing body heat. A couple of conservation groups nearer to Oklahoma City are being kept busy, providing shelter and care for animals and birds that are suffering effects from the heat there and also from devastating wildfires that are rampaging in that area. Our local hard-working firemen are being called out frequently to put out brush fires in this area. With winds expected to be about 25 MPH today, they are going to have their work cut out for them! Back to our paddlers--- The group will be passing the St. Stanislaus Conservation area during the course of this last leg of their "Rumble on the River" trip. Included in that conservation area are several memorable sites of interest. Charbonier Bluff, a full 25-feet higher than the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, evidence of two Native American villages, several Indian burial mounds, and the ruins of several sturctures, including a chapel built by students from St. Stanislaus Seminary in 1837. Our paddlers will not have time to explore those sites today, but might be able to see the large coal hill known as Charbonier Bluff. That large hill has been placed on the National Rigister of Historic Places, and has served as a landmark along the lower Missouri River for more than 1,000 years. Our group will probably pass through the "Car of Commerce Chute" today, on their way to the Mississippi, noted as an important route of water-borne commerce for hundreds of years. There is so much of historical interest in this area that it would be well worth revisiting- in cooler weather that is! Happy day, group; keep well and paddle safely!