We always enjoy reading the newsletter from Burr Oak Woods. A couple of months ago we stumbled upon an article about canoeing the Missouri River. This is something we have wanted to do for so long, but there’s been an intimidation factor attached to the Might MO. We decided to get past that and attend the 2 part workshop and we signed up! Last month we attended the required first part – going over basic canoeing and safety and some guidelines for taking to the River. That was easy. Today was the day we’d been looking forward to – part 2 on the River!
The day started out just beautiful. Nice cool temperatures and a little cloud cover. We’d put our canoe on the Jeep last night, so we were ready to go. (A Jeep really does look best with a canoe strapped to the top.) We dropped the boys at church, picked up some water, drove through for a little breakfast and made our way to La Benite Park. Driving into the park we discovered a car show rolling in. Old classic cars and trucks are a beautiful sight; what a treat. After eating our breakfast (see this was a date day with my husband) we dropped out canoe by the water with the rest and waited.
Around 10am we put into the water. We slipped into the current easily, glided out and began to paddle. Slowly our group made their way into the water and we began our 11 mile float to Cooley Lake Conservation Area. We were spread out all across the river; it was an inspiring sight. The sky was gray and cloudy with sun rays bursting up into the heavens – that was just beautiful. Before too long our 40% chance of rain became a 100% reality. At first the rain was light and easy, just a refreshing addition to our morning. At one point I could hear the rain heading for us over my shoulder, and it began to pour! The water looked amazing with the rain plinking so quickly on the surface. Sure wish I could’ve taken a photo. The thunder boomed, the rain came down, and we paddled on. Until the lightning flashed. We quickly made our way to the shore – most of our group were in metal canoes. We pulled out on a muddy bank; so muddy that it ate me. I sank, up to my knee, and almost lost my shoes. I ended up walking around with my own version of hobbit feet, completely caked with mud. God’s downpour drenched all of us completely. There were pretty good puddles in each canoe by the time the rain moved past. And it did move past. Several of us had dangling feet over the edges of our canoe as we headed back out on the River trying to clean the off a bit.
It turns out our destination was just down river a little ways. I was amazed we were so close. It hardly felt like 3 ½ hours, or 11 miles. What fun!! I look forward to doing that again (minus the shoe eating mud and lightning). The Mighty MO – yes, it’s mighty, but it is not something to avoid or fear. Just like any water, we just need to respect it and learn how to maneuver in it. I’m excited about a new season of life that will, Lord willing, put us on the river/water more often.