193 mile circumnavigation of St. Louis begins March 17
By Jo Schaper
Tomorrow morning, when Michael Clark of Big Muddy Adventures, John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company, David Hanson, adventure journalist, and Mark Peoples, a 1Mississippi River Guide intern, put their paddles into the Bourbeuse River at the Union, Missouri boat ramp, after having begun in Washington, MO, and conducted a 9 mile portage over Hwy. 47, they will embark on an ambitious 193 mile circumnavigation of St. Louis by human powered craft.
The river path will take them from the Bourbeuse into the Meramec, thence to the Mississippi, up the Mississippi to the confluence, and, 69 miles of hard paddling up the Missouri back to Washington.
The adventure is in conjunction with the St. Ann Catholic School in St. Louis. I first learned about this at the 1Mississippi information table at the Alpine Shop a couple of weeks ago. Mike Clark, who runs Big Muddy and is a computer arts teacher at the school, has set up web access and a blog at his website, http://www.2muddy.com/schoolhouse/ where students, and anyone interested in their progress can follow along via blog postings.
Big Muddy Adventures does guided canoe trips on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers near St. Louis. Quapaw Canoe Company does a similar business on the lower Mississippi. 1Mississippi.org, named for the kids’ game to count off seconds, is a river advocacy group throughout the Midwest, drawing supporters from the entire Mississippi basin and beyond, and David Hanson is recording the account for a major outdoor slick magazine.
It’s the third time the adventurers and the school have cooperated to make the journey. Somewhat like the Lewis and Clark expedition, or space shots, the four men are carrying scientific experiments and observation requests designed by the students as part of their education. The students get out to meet them along the river one afternoon during the voyage.
The plan is that the adventurers will camp the entire trip, near civilization but not of it. They’ve got a mascot along, Toby the Turtle, to cheer them on. Not sure why a turtle, but there are plenty of them near the river.
More than anything, this journey graphically reminds us how riverlocked the St. Louis metro region really is, and how dependent we are on the bridges carrying our roads across those waters.
More information on this trek, and Michael Clark can be found here.