August 31st, 2009

floating

floating the Elk

Last weekend we drove to Joplin, Mo to float on the Elk river. In the past we've driven like eight hours to southeast missouri for solitude and spring-fed crystal clear streams but we're getting old and lazy and felt like settling for less, I suppose. So off we went. We rented a campsite at Shady Beach, a camp machine that corrals in hundreds of frat boys every weekend where they crank angry white boy music until the quiet hours at 11, which are thankfully strictly enforced. We had space, a picnic table and a fire barrel but we also had neighbors, so I wouldn't call it "camping" in the rustic sense. But I slept like a rock.

The river water was warm and slow but clear. It wasn't as shady as the eastern part of the state, and there were lots of times when we were rowing through pastureland or along highways. And we were always in visible distance of other canoers. Sometimes being close was fun, we'd throw jello shots at each other and exchange names and joke around. Other times we were too close... we'd see married couples screaming at one another over who was worse at steering the canoe into rocks. People just need to relax. I won't say I've never had a yelling breakdown on a river before... there was an incident a few years back when we were trying to paddle fast to get out of a lightning storm and my partner and I hit EVERY rock and I lost it and jumped out of the canoe. But holy crap I didn't hit him.

We made kabobs in the evening. I learned that it's pretty easy to make them at camp, just throw the pre-chopped ingredients in ziplocks, it's all way easier to transport that way. I passed out too early for much else. So in the morning we made breakfast s'mores, because apparently I wasn't the only tired one, everyone else missed out too. There was a lot less partying that second night, I think the whole camp was knocked out after a good long day of drinking on the river.

On the way home we stopped at Hardee's because there isn't one in Wichita. Weird, huh? We were home Sunday by dinner time, I cleaned the guinea pig cage and did some laundry and went to bed early. awesome weekend.