Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April Paddle

For April we took a 3-day trip on the Jack's Fork River from the South Prong bridge to Alley Spring.  River maps and outfitters show this as a 31-mile stretch. 

Zack and I headed out at 5am on Friday morning to meet Kelly and Carson at Harvey's Canoe Rental near Alley Spring.  I've used Harvey's for shuttles before.  After moving their gear to the truck and settling up we headed out for the Prongs to start our trip.

We put in at the South Prong access.  Within 200 yards there was a tree blocking the entire river.  The boys pulled the kayaks over the bank while Kelly and I lined the canoes under the tree.

We couldn't have asked for a much better day.  We saw one other person before lunch.  Carson took a leap from a nice cliff right before lunch.  Two couples were putting in for a quick afternoon trip at the Highway 17 bridge.  We passed a group of women just below the bridge.  We settled for the night around the 85 mile marker on the generic park service map.

Blue Spring is a popular stop for folks. 

The boys gathered up wood and got a nice campfire going.

The meal for the night was tacos.  We stayed in my big tent together.  I fell asleep shortly after 8pm. 

Saturday morning we were out of camp around 9am.

Loaded down.

Kelly had some issues on Saturday.  Somehow he hit a rock that got him enough off balance to tip.  After grabbing some initial gear floating down, Zack and I raced downstream to catch the rest.  A few hours later he was wet again.

Saturday night we camped across the river from the Bay Creek primitive camping area.  It was the first night under the stars for both Carson and Zack.

Sunday was up and out early to head for the truck.

This was the first time I'd been on the stretch from the Prongs to Highway 17.  It is an enjoyable float, but losing a few inches of water would result in a lot of dragging.

Can't beat days like this.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 8

April 8 is a special day for me.  Some years ago our friends and family gathered to celebrate Debbie and I getting married.  In 2014 we received an interesting anniversary gift.

As the school privatization movement seeks to gain steam in Missouri the money that flows with it has led to a Legislature that is increasingly critical of Missouri's public schools.  Representatives and Senators seem to no longer care about the views of teachers and administrators.  Some have become downright hostile toward educators.

While the Missouri House of Representatives was passing legislation to study education standards (anti Common Core) and the House Education Committee was debating transfer legislation not supported by public schools, we learned once again that all politics is local.

On April 8 we found out here here and here that Missouri communities support their local public schools.  The list of successful bond issues and tax levies goes beyond the linked articles to cover all parts of Missouri.  And we're not talking about issues barely passing.  Many passed by huge margins.

It is clear that communities support their local schools, but sad that many of those serving in the Missouri Legislature no longer do. 

The education community rallied together in support of sustaining the veto of HB253 last summer.  It's time we stand again to show members of the Missouri Legislature that Missouri's public schools have the support of their communities.

On Friday lets unleash the power of #Lovemyschoolday

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March on the water

The 3rd weekend in March is the annual Missouri Whitewater Championships held at Millstream Gardens on the St. Francis River.  Zack and I went down Friday after school and camped at Johnson Shut-Ins State Park.  It was the first time I had stayed in the new campground and I believe we'll be going back.

We got up early on Saturday to do some walking through the shut-ins, but had to wait at the gate for a ranger to open up. 

After a walk around the shut-ins it was off to Ironton for some chocolate milk and onto Millstream Gardens to watch the races.

Watching the races is fun, but watching other people paddle just makes me want to paddle.  So two weeks later Bob and I spent a late after noon with a relaxing paddle on Creve Coeur Lake while Debbie and Zack rode on the bike trail.