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Back in July on the weekend of the 19th-21st I was able to talk a friend into canoeing the very popular Current River in the Missouri Ozarks with me. Canoeing is really how I got started spending a lot of time outdoors...and there is still a special place in my heart for a good long float.
We put in at Pulltite (named after the large spring just down river) and took out at Two-Rivers (the site where the Current and Jacks Fork meet). The entire float was around 30 miles...almost all of which we did in the first and second days. The plan was to slowly float this trip...take in the scenery around us...and enjoy delicious food to the sounds of the river. In the end...the trip was everything one could hope for...the food was great...the wildlife active...the crowds not so large...and the weather surprisingly cooperative!
Our first stop was the Pulltite Spring...just a short distance down the river from where we put in at. Near the spring there is also a reconstructed cabin that smelled of pee and had graffiti all over it.
The weather was perfect...and the beauty of the Ozarks was on display. The river was so clear you could see stones at the bottom of the river 10 sometime 15 feet deep (the river doesn't often get much deeper than that).
That night I pitched the tarp in a high A-frame...and because my friend insisted...hung the bug-tent. Though the bugs were not particularly thick...and I didn't think we needed a bug-tent with our permethrin treated clothing...I was eager to give the bug-tent I made last year another test...as it had only been used on one other occasion.
As expected…the tent slept two extremely well (ample room for two sleeping pads). There is also enough room for two people to sit upright...but I would only do this if the bugs were tormenting me…as I tend to dislike confined spaces.
Dinner was curried paneer + couscous + naan....which I had frozen solid before the trip and kept inside a small 2-quart "lunchbox" cooler for a quick but delicious dinner the first night.
On the second day the clouds came out...not wanting to leave too much paddling for the following day (the day we were driving back home)...we spent most of the day racing and dodging rainclouds...even grabbing lunch during a mid-day shower.
We managed to stay relatively dry the entire day...but by late afternoon the weather finally turned and off-and-on showers compelled us to look for a nice site to pitch camp for the night. As it turned out...we found a really great site...and though we had to wait out some day-trippers sheltering themselves during the rain...we had the island all to ourselves from dinner that night till breakfast the next morning!
As we prepared dinner the true advantages of a tarp-based shelter system really started to shine...pitched high with the bug-tent lowered (used as a ground-sheet) it gave us plenty of room to cook and get changed out of our wet clothes under a dry and relatively sheltered space. As the rain dripped off the edge of the tarp near one end...dinner was simmering to perfection at the other.
Dinner consisted of a penne in a creole cream sauce...with bacon + parmesan + plain croutons thrown in to add some texture and smoky flavor...and yes...it was delicious!
I was once again compelled to use the bug-tent on the second night...and to make things worse...everything was too wet to start a fire (maybe I could have built one...but I would've had to work hard for that fire)...so my friend (who had never had a smore!!!) had to wait almost a month before trying smores for the first time.
The next morning we had coffee and pastries while the last showers drifted slowly away. It turned out we had paddled most of the way the day before...so after an hour or two of paddling that morning we were back in our vehicle and headed home when...a super shower hit...one of those flashflood like storms that only come in the summertime...what a great weekend!