What a beautiful morning. A gentle breeze, blue sky, a slow moving river and over 300 canoes and kayaks racing downstream. From the banks of the Missouri River, the boys and I watched as the paddlers in the MR340 floated past on their first leg of the race. What an adventure they have embarked on. For us, on the bank of the river, we enjoyed a simple, quiet morning.
We don’t usually make much use of the Mighty MO. It has a dangerous reputation. It has an unflattering nick-name – the Big Muddy. However, what I experienced this morning was a beautiful place to enjoy a quiet breakfast and explore with my boys. We arrived at the park along the river early; I wasn’t sure how long it would take for the paddlers to start floating by. We found a bench to enjoy our breakfast before taking a little walk along the shore.
As we walked along the shore, the boys explored the bank. Climbing up the hillside or examining tracks in the mud. Throughout the course of the morning, my little collector came up with a discarded cell phone, several bottle caps, a large fish hook, a rusty pair of pliers and a shell with a design inside like that of a pair of headphones. His waterproof boots worked great, up to the point that he waded out farther than his laces. He made a soggy trek back to the truck when it was time to leave.
Not forgetting the needs of my extrovert, we made our way back to the main part of the park where a nice little crowd had gathered in anticipation of the paddlers. The mood was festive, the crowd pleasant. There were curious on-lookers, like us, along with ground crews waiting for their teams to glide on by or stop for a re-fill on water. My son had the unexpected pleasure of visiting with a friend with a family member in the race. We made a new friend, too, and shared the use of Grampa’s binoculars. It’s amazing how tiny those canoes and kayaks look out on the river. Plus they stayed mostly on the far side of the river making the zoom lens was a must.
Looking through the photos after arriving home, I can see the camaraderie among the paddlers and the joy that was out on the river this morning. Some paddled with partners or made new friends along the way. Others enjoyed the solitude of the water. It was a beautiful morning to be floating downstream. One day, Lord willing, that will be us out on the water. Whether in the race or just for the enjoyment of the river. For now, we will remember the bank of the river and try to add a little more time to go out and enjoy this treasure that is so close to home.