Saturday, August 18, 2012

Missouri River Rumble-Day 4

Today was hot---103 degrees. It started with a dense fog over the river at sunrise. It started to lift about 8 o’clock, but it left a very high humidity with no breeze. We stopped mid-morning for a break on a sand and mud bar. The Missouri means mud, or at least at this extremely low river level. I look forward to a chance to return to the river when it’s higher to see if the shore conditions improve. In spite of the thick, black, sucking mud, our swim team had increased to about 45%. Most of us would only go in to about waist depth, and then crouch until the water rose to our necks, but a few found deeper holes. The object was just to soak in the cooling water.

Ibi patiently waits while the Rumble Swim Club cools off.

We were to turn up the Gasconade River for a lunch stop in the town of Gasconade, and a photo op with the mayor of this small 105 household community. Gasconade was the original county seat, but floods forced that county seat first to Bartonville, and then Hermann in 1842, and Hermann would be our day’s destination.

When we turned into the Gasconade, there was a good bit of turbulence at the confluence that claimed one kayaker. The rescue was again quick, but somewhat hampered by the strong current that carried them all down river as they worked. As soon as we turned into the river, the water color turned from muddy brown to a much clearer green.

Ibi on the Gasconade.  Note the trees jammed in the trestle
from earlier higher water.

In the heat, the town landing looked all the more intensely baked in the searing sunlight. As we paddled under the railroad bridge just before the landing, I noticed that the only shade was on the left (paddling upstream, see below) bank opposite the town landing. A half dozen had already pulled over there and were sitting in the shade while those at the landing worked to get their boats up on the rocks along the shore. The temptation was just too much, and I sought relief with a couple others in the shade. (For those not familiar with river navigation, it may interesting to note that the sides of a river are labeled according to the flow of the current. The left bank is on the left side when floating downstream, the right bank is the right. That needs to be remembered when a vessel is going upstream, because then the left side of the river is the right bank, and the right is the left. This becomes important when you talk with a tugboat and the skipper says he wants you to hug the right bank. If you pick the wrong side, you could find yourself being chewed up by his propellers or swamped by his prop thrust. Left bank is the left shore going downstream.)

Camp pitched along the Missouri in Hermann.

After lunch, as boats launched, they again had to stay close until everyone was back on the water. Needless to say, they all seemed to collect in the shade of the railroad trestle until we were all ready to push off for Hermann, which would give us a 21.9 miles total for the day’s paddle.

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