Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 2014 DTS Trip

In 1996 a small band of friends took their first canoe trip in cold weather.  It was the first weekend in December.  We met at the Call of the Wild between Poplar Bluff and Doniphan early on a Saturday morning and headed to Alton for an overnight trip on the Eleven Point River.  There were three of us.  We had one canoe and rented another.  Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day on the river.  About 7pm it started to mist and by midnight it was raining steadily.  We packed up on Sunday and it began to rain as we finished the final part of the trip.  The rain stopped, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and it started snowing as we waited for our shuttle.

For seven years our small group could be found on a Missouri river, stream, or lake.  Finally we thought it might be a bit more fun if we expanded our group.  About a dozen folks can now be found on our annual trips, although 35 distinct folks have made the trip at one time or another -- always on the same weekend.

The weather over the years has varied.  One year I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals the entire weekend.  Another year I called off school and headed out in an ice storm.  The temperatures that weekend never really got above freezing.

This year we base camped at Big Spring campground on the Current River.

Several of us met at the Float Stream restaurant on Thursday for lunch.  After a big plate of chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, and okra we were off to set up camp.  Others arrived later and we all enjoyed a nice bowl of chili, or two, for supper.

It began to rain Thursday night and did so through much of it.  By morning it was just a misty fog.  We thought it best to perhaps take a short trip on the river before breakfast, but others were arriving in the morning so we waited on them and hit the water after breakfast.

Betting on rain later in the morning I wore my new rain hat.  With about 30 minutes of steady rain, I was thankful for it.
It was foggy until the rain set in.

When we arrived back at camp we did a bit of work expanding our big shelter and relaxed for a bit before trying out a new recipe for the group.  It was the first try at smoked salmon chowder.  It was delicious, but prep takes a while.  The guys took care of all the chunks and left only a small bit of liquid in the bottom of the pot.

The next day the weather was much better -- cloudy and windy, but no rain.  The river was also up about a foot from the previous day.  We spent most of the day on the water, arriving back in camp around 4:30pm.  Thankfully pork chops and garden vegetables don't take as long to cook as the chowder did.  The soup, coupled with Doyel's famous cornbread, was a fitting end to the day.

Another successful trip is behind us and we look forward to getting the families on the water before coming together again next December.  2015 will find us somewhere around Eminence.  We always enjoy their Christmas parade.


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