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The Mighty MO

October 20th, 2012

I've driven over the Missouri river many many times, after all I live in the Northland and work south of it. Despite that proximity though I have only been in the water twice before today. Once as a part of the "Ice Bucket Challenge" and once to participate in a Missouri River clean up when my kids were younger. Over the years I have attended and hosted many geocaching events centered around boating. In the interest of raising the bar I decided to host an event on the Might Mo this year but before I could realistically do that I figured I needed to do it myself. After all I wouldn't want to expose my caching friends to an unsafe (or worse boring) event.

Graphic courtesy of OwenfromKC

My lovely wife was kind enough to assist me since I wouldn't be able to be in two places at once (at the start with the kayak and the van then at the end without the van). I loaded my trusty old yellow kayak into Little Helper then headed to Kaw Point in Kansas while she drove to Riverfront park down stream in Missouri. She isn't comfortable driving the larger vehicles in our fleet (Little Helper and Falkor) but she can help ferry me between the two points. The plan was that I would float to her, drive her car to Kaw Point while she guards the kayak. I swap to the larger van then drive back and pick her and the kayak up then return once again to the start for her to get her car. It wasn't efficient but it's what we had to work with.

I hadn't been to Kaw Point recently but was familiar with it's lay out so I knew where to park and soon carried my kayak down the boat ramp. On my way I passed a fisherman carrying a very large catfish that was so heavy he struggled to support it. While he unhooked it I pushed off and he wished me a safe voyage. The dock is on the southside of the park so you technically start in the Kansas River. I floated out and noted all the debris in the area. It rained a few days before so this could have been from further up stream but either way it was very calm nearest the shore and it wasn't till I got out into the flow from the Missouri that I really felt the current.

I passed a few buoys and a small speed boat who's wake made it very choppy for awhile. From there I passed under the flight plan of the Downtown airport and two separate small planes approached for a landing a few hundred feet above me. Passing through he confluence where the rivers merged the water got choppy again so I stopped paddling and just focused on keeping stable. As I approached the Heart of America Bridge I saw two large river dredgers and floating within 100' of them I caught the attention of the crew who's expression could be best summed up as "WTF?!"

From then on it was smooth sailing under the traffic and railroad bridges which gave temporary shade from the hot sun overhead. I wore my "captains" hat that served as a log from a previous event and caught the attention of a few muggles walking along the riverfront. I had shared my location with Ana at the start so she knew when I approached and helped me out of my vessel at the end.

While I did go with the flow it was far slower than I had anticipated moving only a couple of miles an hour. As a result I paddles most of the way otherwise it would have taken far longer. It took 1 hour and 3 minutes from start to finish (I did pause for pictures and video a lot). I ended up getting my event published but soon had issues from the geocaching powers that be ...but that is a post for another time.


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