I have lived in Missouri since 1964, having moved here from Okinawa, an island now belonging to Japan. During this time I have managed to float a good number of Missouri’s fine float streams from the wide and slow to the narrow and fast, almost all of which are located in southern Missouri. In the deep recesses of a mind that has few deep recesses left, I store a number of life’s regrets and from time to time will resurrect one in an attempt to move it from the regret column to the accomplishment column. This weekend, for the first time, we found ourselves floating Courtois Creek in Crawford County, we being son Stephen and his two boys, daughter Stacey, with husband Tom and her two children, Sharon, Tazzy and me. Not floating the Courtois is no longer a regret.
Our outfitter, Bass’ River Resort, advised that conditions on the creek were near perfect and the weather WAS perfect as we pushed off some 6 miles from the resort. With Tazzy at the helm and Sharon behind him in an effort to keep him in the boat, we began the float.
The water was beautiful, gin clear and cold and the Old Town livery canoe the perfect place for Miss Sharon to rest her legs (😏)as she contributed a canoe stroke here and there. A perfect start that, incredibly, only got better.
Predictably. We stopped frequently the first mile or so to let Tazzy swim. There were few other floaters on the creek and Tazzy enjoyed swimming toward them to offer an enthusiastic Labrador welcome before being recalled and loaded up for the continuation of the trip.
We are not a nuclear family. Steve owns a contracting business in Colorado where he is the chief craftsman, overseeing projects that require the utmost detail. His medium is various woods, some exotic, designed for customers that, well, can easily afford his services. Time is what he has very little of and scheduling time together with a daughter who rarely looks up from her business on the LOZ this time of the year, and who is married to a service manager for a huge marina, is exceedingly tough to do. The Courtois is a superb float stream fully capable of draining the tension out of the existence folks establish for themselves these days. I am told that weekends on this stream offer anything but serenity and I can see why. The photos below are of Steve, grandsons Justus and Sig as well as grandson Lucas and granddaughter Kaelin. We were enjoying shore lunch at the “Log”. 😏
For the most part, floating the Courtois (pronounced coort-a-way) is going to require a capital outlay. Even if you bring your own boat, there is a charge to put in and take out and the campground will charge for just about everything from air for water toys to showers, (50 cents for 5 minutes). RV fees are based on the number of occupants on your site and there is a charge for each individual in the livery boats as well as a boat rental fee. This campground is well thought out with a section for normal folks and a separate section for the “loud” crowd, with their own quiet time between 2:30 AM to 6:00 AM. I am too damned old for the party side of things. There was a day though……
I feel sorry for kids who know nothing outside of concrete and asphalt. I watched a cicada emerge from the ground, saw many fish in the clear creek and enjoyed the thrill of navigating gnarly class 2 rapids with kids whooping and hollering as the spray hit them. Creek gravel in your water shoes and the occasional horsefly are experiences not found while gaming on a personal electronic device. As a matter of fact, there was no cell coverage at Bass’ River Resort and not enough WiFi to register on your phone. Our meals were simple; fat all beef hotdogs over a grill one night and terrific beef “sliders” the next with s’mores, (not my cup of tea). Fresh strawberries, fat pancakes and plenty of bacon made for a hearty breakfast. Stacey, Justus and Lucas ended the trip with a long ride on the outstanding mountain bike trail that has a stop in the campground. Stacey celebrated her 49th birthday on this trip and is seen with Tom over the beginnings of a camp breakfast in the photo below.
There are a number of take always here. You say you don’t know a gunnel from a sponson or a j-stroke from a keel? No problem, rent a raft that requires little more than staying awake as you float down the creek. Don’t have a RV, no problem, bring a tent, many of which you can easily erect while blind folded and under the influence. Don’t like tents, again no problem as they have nice cabins. You don’t need the skills of Meriwether Lewis to enjoy a trip down a float stream, cook over a small grill or camp stove or navigate a roller. You don’t need anything but the wisdom to gather your family together and enjoy time as you recall the experiences that are a part of what you are. Courtois Creek, a gift from God, is the perfect place to gather.
Below you see Lucas in one of the more intense parts of our float. Does that help you frame the benefits of a float trip?
Have a great weekend.