Monday, June 28, 2010

Bryant Creek Canoe Expedition

I mentioned in the previous post about the canoe trip that took place on the second day of the annual meeting of the Ozark Regional Land Trust. Now, thanks to this photo by Abigail Lambert, I have a "visual aid" to go along with the description of the expedition. In the photo, I am the one with the long-sleeved shirt, who is waving to the camera. The three guys in the photo had driven down from the Saint Louis area, which is about 4 hours northeast of Bryant Creek. ( It is not everyday that you can have your photo taken by someone with as rich a family heritage as that of Abigail Lambert. In her position as River Stewardship Project Coordinator for the ORLT, she can pursue her passion for protecting our area rivers. It was a passion for all things related to aviation, that resulted in the major airport in St. Louis, Missouri, being named "Lambert Field" in recognition of her family's contributions to the field of aviation.) When I first learned about the canoe trip planned for Bryant Creek, I went to the website to see what they said about the stream. Most of the following information is from their website: Bryant Creek is formed in Douglas County, Missouri, and flows south about 43 miles to Norfork Lake on the Arkansas border. It is normally a gentle stream, with Class I to Class II rapids, willow jungles, rock shoals, and a nearly perpetual flow, though it may run low during periods of drought. The surrounding area is a wilderness of bluffs and farmlands in the Ozark Mountain foothills. It has a moderate gradient averaging about 5.8 feet per mile, which maintains a gentle current that makes paddling easy. Our group put in at the low water bridge on Missouri SH 95, and got out at ORLT's Elixir Farm, but if you continued on to Hodgson Mill, you would be at the site where Ewell Gibbons filmed those Grape Nuts commercials back in the 80's. That makes me think this could be called my first "Culinary Canoe" trip! However, even with such a famous endorsement, Bryant Creek is unknown to most paddlers and is seldom enjoyed because of its remoteness. And, just as the Southwest Paddler website promised, we found that it was a "pristine place to enjoy the magical beauty of the Missouri Ozark Foothills and surrounding wilderness of Mark Twain National Forest." Likewise, Bryant Creek could almost fit the description written by King David in Psalm 46:4 that says "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells." We can all be thankful for the work that groups like the Ozark Regional Land Trust are doing to preserve the natural beauty of our incredibly blessed, United States of America. And with the special day of July 4 just around the corner, it would be appropriate to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!! Miles of smiles! Tricia
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