BWCA Going to Current River next week - barrage me with some tips please! Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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      Going to Current River next week - barrage me with some tips please!     
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HowardSprague
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06/01/2016 09:50AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Driving down Sunday, putting in Monday - avoid some crowds that way.
I'm not the leader of this trip, I was invited. The other three guys have tripped there before. We will probably start at Cedar Grove and out at Owl's Bend. Prob 4 nights on the river. Plan to do some fishing/exploring along the way. So, any tips on fishing, camping, stuff to see, stuff to avoid, good snakes to eat, getting water, & so on are welcome. Sounds like most of them are bringing heftier air mattresses, saying the rocky spots make a Thermarest too thin. I still plan on the Thermarest, maybe with a compact foldable thin foam layer pad I sometimes bring. Don't feel like doing all the inflating on my Exped (unless I'm told here that I really should). Paddling my royalex Wenonah Vagabond.
Never been there, should be pretty cool. I know water has been up with some closures, but we're thinking it'll all be down by then.
Thanks.
 
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DeuceCoop
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06/01/2016 02:10PM  
Great trip! That's about fifty miles so five-ish days will be plenty. Things to see perhaps not exactly in order of distance from CG: Welch Hospital, Pultite cabin, Maggard cabin, Bluff school, lots of caves (one of which you can paddle into), Blue spring which will blow your mind, plenty of critters including baldies, feral horses and the usual river animals, and just general scenic grandeur. I believe most agree the best fishing is between Cedar Grove and Akers Ferry (which is another pretty cool sight I think, not to mention a great ice cream stop). You'll be intrigued (I am at least) by how much the river changes character as you make your way down.

Plenty of good gravel bars for camping but select carefully. Some of them are accessible by land which means PAR-TAY for the locals. That doesn't generally make for very enjoyable camping unless you're into that sort of thing. Also, it's unlikely this time of year, but if you see dogs roaming the banks leave them be. They're not lost or abandoned.

If you have time swing by Alley Spring Mill in Eminence before heading home. It's purty.

Our good friend Terry Webb (wildernesswebb) lives there. He'd love to join you I'm sure if he's able, at least for a day. He's great company.

Have fun!
 
DeuceCoop
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06/01/2016 02:33PM  
Edit: Blue Spring is a mile and half or so below your takeout. You may decide to paddle down then back up. It's definitely worth the effort. Alternatively you could hike in from Powder Mill of course.
 
06/01/2016 02:57PM  
Levels are great right this moment, the Current usually falls a lot faster than the Eleven Point, it just depends on exactly where the rain falls. Except in extreme circumstances the closures are generally in segments, usually on the upper end. That said, you're a canoe guy, you know most of what we do is a total crap shoot. I second the caves, they're just cool. One thing, if you stop at Medlock cave and spring, it's tricky getting out of there. When you leave, ferry completely across into the eddy on the other side. It will turn you around and it might feel stupid but you'll see what I'm talking about when you get there.
 
HowardSprague
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06/02/2016 12:02PM  
Thanks!

Hey, I initially was considering my Keen sandals for footwear, as it should be very warm out and no BWCA/Q type portaging. But there are copperheads & stuff, so would I be better off with my wading boots or my Bean boots?

Also pondering whether to bring along the bent shaft paddle or not.
 
06/02/2016 12:45PM  
I've never had a close snake encounter, maybe little banded water snakes. There are certainly snakes in the woods but they're not really a problem. That water is around 55 degrees, I don't think they like it.

Ozarkpaddler's friend Dan uses a bent paddle almost exclusively, I don't even own one. I'd say bring it, if you get on a long pool in a headwind it might be handy.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/02/2016 05:33PM  
Hopefully monsoon will end by then? Been pretty wet the last few weeks. With the water level this high, you will be moving pretty fast and won't take long to make your mileage. We will be on the river for a day trip Tue or Wed, still up in the air. If you see a red Wenonah Prospector with a "Flying moose" that's me.

BE CAREFUL OF LOOSE GRAVEL AND DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO DRIVE TOO CLOSE TO THE WATER AT POWDER MILL (Owl's Bend). We've had a lot of flooding last winter and this spring and the gravel and sand underneath is very soft in places. I've towed a few folks out from that landing (two in the last few years). Heck, a friend buried his van on the gravel road to the upper Two Rivers landing about a month ago.

I usually take out on a gravel bar across from Blue Spring and will give you directions if interested. Same warning applies, park carry your gear to more solid gravel.

If you're interested in trout fishing, let me know, I'll tell you some hot spots. Also, my favored camp sites if interested.

DO be aware of snakes. Lots of Northern water snakes, but we DO have copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths on the Current. They're not lurking under every rock, but the copperhead is notoriously difficult to see as it blends in so well. I've come very close to being bitten, including on the trail to Blue Spring and in camp at Round Spring.

Lots of sights to see, first of them Medlock Spring on river right. It is tucked into a little cove and many people paddle by unaware it's there. We've had a lot of rain, and it will be pretty. Here's your put in at Cedar Grove:





MEDLOCK SPRING





Next major feature is Welch Spring on river left. It's the site of an old hospital for treatment of "Consumption" or in other words, respiratory illnesses. In the early 1900's a physician bought the land, built the hospital and tried to also lure tourists. Unfortunately few patients nor tourists were willing to brave those rough roads to the hospital and the hospital fell into disrepair after his death. Ferry across the out flow, or follow the right side of the channel if inexperienced paddlers are with you. If the spring is running strong (and it will be next week) do NOT paddle straight across the out flow especially in something like a Wenonah Argosy unless you want to do a fish count!
WELCH SPRING





Below Welch, the next access is Aker's Ferry, you'll see a big open upper landing and the lower landing has a store and the ferry. Ran out of time, wife wants to watch a movie. Part two later!
 
06/02/2016 07:25PM  
Ozarkpaddler is your guy, he basically lives on that river.
 
LuvMyBell
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06/02/2016 08:17PM  
Putting in at cedar and paddling downstream is a great float and highlights were covered by Ozarkpaddler.

There are actually 2 put-in above Cedar Grove that give you an additional 7 miles of paddling and in my opinion are the most scenic. Tan Vat Access just outside Montauk State Park and Baptist Camp Access. There is a 3rd put-in at Parker Hollow but it's a rough dirt road, and 4WD is required when it's wet and muddy.

Tan Vat to Cedar Grove is the best trout fishing on the entire river and it has special fishing management regs being a Blue Ribbon Management area. Read and understand those regs if you plan to fish this section.

There are numerous canoe rivers all over South Missouri but the Current is far and away my favorite. I'm a Missouri transplant arriving in the fall of 86. Beginning with the Spring of 87
I've done 5 - 12 trips a year on the Current floating year-round. Enjoy your float.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/03/2016 12:06AM  
As LuvMyBell said, those accesses are nice, and I think you'd have no problem with a loaded boat putting in at Baptist? Tougher place to leave your car for multiple days at Tan Vat (Inman Hollow).

Forgot to tell you, about a mile or two (guestimate) below Cedar Grove on river left is a Great Blue Heron rookery. If you look close and listen you'll see their large nests and see them coming and going like Pterodactyls, croaking their arrivals and departures!

I left you at Welch Spring, but noticed Bill's mention of the exit from Medlock. I forget to tell folks, the eddy is relatively strong and the current is a little tricky exiting. I usually ferry a bit upstream just for extra breathing room to clear the rock and strainers that collect on downstream river right. Here's a pic, the water will be a little higher and current and eddy stronger next week than in this pic. And there are some local accesses around this area, so pick your campsite with care.
Exiting Medlock Spring Branch





OK, next feature after Welch is Aker's Ferry on river left. Here's a picture of the upper landing and of the ferry. Good place to stop for ice (UNLESS you have an Engel or a Canyon cooler like I do LOL), soda, a T-shirt. The Maggards are good folks and have been minding the store and the ferry for several decades/generations.
AKERS






About 5 miles down from Akers on river left is Cave Spring. Paddle in, take your sunglasses off and have a look/see. "Special place." Have eaten many a lunch around and inside the cave. Once led a group of friends into it ahead of a nasty thunderstorm that we had to wait out. Just downstram, watch out for the mink that hangs out in the rocks.
CAVE SPRING





Several nice little runs below Cave Spring. About 3-4 miles and there's a distinctive rock on river right I nick-named "Pyramid rock" for obvious reasons. I point this out because there's always a nice looking gravel bar on river left and below. Don't camp there, road comes in and you may have partiers show up in the night. If you want to camp above Pulltite, wait for the one on river right a little below here. High waters have changed it, and not for the better, but still was ok on the lower end on the right.





Next access is Pulltite on river left. Store up road, campground, nice restroom. Rocky landing is rough if you have a composite boat. Enter and exit with care. If you haven't seen an Eagle yet, you will see a few between here and Round Spring, I pretty much guarantee it.





Nice bluff opposite the Pulltite campground. Really nice sand beach on river left that you can walk to if camp at Pulltite at the end of the campground's individual sites. Rare to find any trout past Pulltite and Fire Hydrant Springs which are coming up. Pulltite Spring will be about 1/2 mile or so below that beach and will be on river Right. Beautiful Spring branch, although; the spring is less so. But it's worth the walk to visit the old vertical log cabin.






Just below Pulltite is Fire Hydrant Spring, also on river right. When I was paddling the river almost 40 years ago, it would still "Gush" out of the rock after heavy rains. Years have eroded the outlet and the spring branch just below it grows a bit while shrinking Fire Hydrant. Watch for nice gravel bars for camping below here, and a nice island campsite that I like.






Next feature is my favored lunch spot on river left, about 4 miles below Pulltite; I call it "Helicoptor Pilot Bluff" (bluff on river Right)Back in the mid '80's my wife and I watched a Park Ranger "Talk" a drunk guy claiming to be a "Helicoptor Pilot" off the top of the bluff before he killed himself jumping off the top. I've probably ate at the spot 100 times?






About 5-6 miles below Pulltite is the old Alton Club, aka Jerry Presly Conservation Center, aka Current River State Park. Only open Friday, Sat, Sunday. Poor landing sites, just ponds and an old auditorium and staff housing. After that, Merrit Cave on river right. Tough landing, very rocky and rough current with the water up. Also, I and others have seen the rare Pygmy rattlesnake at this cave. Never heard of one biting anyone, but be careful. Merrit rock is just below the cave, a favored "Jumping" and swimming rock in the summer. Below here you can start seeing the Sinking Creek Fire Tower.






Nice sporty little shoal on river right about a mile or so down, above Sinkin' Creek.






Next is Sinkin Creek on river left. Nice spot to get out. You'll hear construction where they're replacing the old truss bridge and building structures for the new Echo Bluff State Park. From here down, keep an eye out for the wild horse herds. Rare to see them this high up, but I have... Also watch for otters here between here and the Hwy 19 bridge. I see them all the time but rarely catch them in a shot, and those are always blurry.






About a mile further is the upper Round Spring Access and the old Hwy 19 truss bridge. If you need ice, get out here. No store at lower access.






Half a mile down is Round Spring Access and Round Spring on river right. Nice restrooms and showers and a nice picnic area at the spring. You may see these guys and gals hanging around at the access? If you see the wild horses, it will be between here and Owl's Bend.





Lots of camping gravel bars in this area and good smallie fishing. I like Big Creek on river left or Bee Bluff river left (but gravel bar on river right) as my preferred campsites in this area and some nice ones below Jerktail Landing too. Here's Big Creek.





BEE BLUFF





A mile and a half on river right is Jerktail Access. Primitive camp site and loooong gravel road ride in from Hwy 19. A couple nice gravel bar campsites on river right and left between here and Two Rivers. Pretty area and good smallie fishing.





Two Rivers is up on the hill on river right. Good place to pull over just downstream of the store and walk up the stairway and go to the store for an ice cream and the view. Sandy landing may be very muddy with the high water. View from the deck on the store:
TWO RIVERS





Now you're in the home stretch. A few nice shoals and nice bluffs more prominent, especially on river left. About 6-7 miles and you're to the Hwy 106 Bridge, then Powdermill Ferry Access, aka Owl's Bend. I have seen my first MO elk in this area.
BLUFFS ABOVE OWL"S BEND






HWY 106 BRIDGE






Another 1/3 of a mile and you're at Powder Mill Ferry, or Owl's Bend. DO NOT get your vehicle too close or you WILL get stuck. Watch for the eagle that hangs out across the river.






Blue Spring, well you have 3 choices, two by land and one by water and a short hike. You can hike from the small Powder Mill campground (probably 3 miles RT)? You can leave boats at the gravel bar across from Blue Spring, reached by a road going south from Hwy 106 a mile or so west of the 106 Bridge and get out on river left at the spring branch just above the takeout? Or you can drive east on 106 and take the gravel road a few miles in and hike about 1/2 mile RT? If you chose the water route, here's the landing, bearing in mind it will be a little higher right now, but no problem:
BLUE SPRING LANDING






BLUE SPRING






Hope that helps? Consider yourself "Barraged." I have other rivers nearby, but the Current is my main stomping grounds most weeks of the year. On your way back to Cedar Grove, turn left off KK about a mile before you get to Jadwin and the paved road to Cedar Grove and take the gravel "Scenic route." Turn left and stop at the double wide with the "Honey" sign. Nice guy if he's there, but there's a box to put your money in and take the honey. This aint the stuff in the little plastic bear, it's the real thing. Hives are out back. It works off the "Honor system." Take the gravel road to Cedar Grove and you'll probably see a few wild turkeys along the way back.
HONEY FOR SALE
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/03/2016 03:57AM  
quote HowardSprague: "Thanks!
Hey, I initially was considering my Keen sandals for footwear, as it should be very warm out and no BWCA/Q type portaging. But there are copperheads & stuff, so would I be better off with my wading boots or my Bean boots?
Also pondering whether to bring along the bent shaft paddle or not.
"


You'll be getting a lot of sand and gravel in your shoes right now with the very soft gravel bars from the high water.

I use bent shafts all the time, although; I prefer my Werner Bandit going through the "Tricky" stuff.
 
DeuceCoop
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06/03/2016 08:28AM  
Well, I guess that's a good enough description Terry, although it could have used a little more detail. :) Also, you forgot to tell him about Killer Fang Falls.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/03/2016 10:57AM  
quote DeuceCoop: "Well, I guess that's a good enough description Terry, although it could have used a little more detail. :) Also, you forgot to tell him about Killer Fang Falls. "

More detail, Luke (LOL)? How about this, a "Good snake" "Bad snake" visual for him? The most common, the Banded water snake and the Copperhead. Side by side, easy to see the difference.
 
yellowcanoe
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06/03/2016 01:05PM  
No need for more comment really but I put on at Baptist and three days later found myself taking out at Big Spring
The water was that fast.
We just went through Arkansas but south of the Buffalo and water is very high

Baptist down to Cedar Grove wicked fun and turny but as it's not used as much may have surprise sweepers
Tie your boat at night!
And keep an eye on possibly rising water by putting a stick at rivers edge.
If time buy a Schnozzle for your Exped. Basically a big sick nylon dry bag that has a nose sort of attachment so that by filling it three or four times ( no need to blow in it) your Exped is filled
Thermarest is going to be bony
 
salukiguy
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06/03/2016 07:56PM  
I just came back from the Black river in Missouri and the Keen sandals did not work well there. The gravel got in them constantly and it hurt when it did. Some other type of water shoe might be better. Note: I have worn Keens for entire BWCA trips before and they are one of my preferred foot wear.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/03/2016 08:31PM  
quote salukiguy: "I just came back from the Black river in Missouri and the Keen sandals did not work well there. The gravel got in them constantly and it hurt when it did. Some other type of water shoe might be better. Note: I have worn Keens for entire BWCA trips before and they are one of my preferred foot wear."

I like sandals but, as you pointed out, the gravel Ozark streams are better with dedicated water shoes that seal the gravel out.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/06/2016 09:03PM  
Hmmm, guess I "Barraged" him too much and scared him away from the thread?
 
DeuceCoop
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06/07/2016 08:11AM  
quote ozarkpaddler: "Hmmm, guess I "Barraged" him too much and scared him away from the thread?"

He's probably enjoying his gravel bar coffee as I type. Pretty sure he said they planned to launch yesterday.
 
yellowcanoe
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06/07/2016 09:13AM  
quote ozarkpaddler: "Hmmm, guess I "Barraged" him too much and scared him away from the thread?"

I hope that the Last Thing one would take on a Canoe Trip is the Computer/Phone.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/07/2016 11:36AM  
quote yellowcanoe: "quote ozarkpaddler: "Hmmm, guess I "Barraged" him too much and scared him away from the thread?"

I hope that the Last Thing one would take on a Canoe Trip is the Computer/Phone."


You'd never find one on MY trip (LOL)! Guess I've been sick and away at work too many days, didn't note the date?

They will have a darn fast ride right now with the high water; they just opened up the river to Round Spring today. River's still closed below there. At least the weather is perfect. We're getting a respite from the monsoons and nice cool front has the humidity low with temps in the 70's. Summer days don't get any better than this week!
 
HowardSprague
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06/11/2016 10:54AM  
Back!
Thanks for all the info - yep, that baby was running FAST!

(can't tell from this photo)


 
HowardSprague
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06/11/2016 02:10PM  
We saw Welch Spring, Pulltite Spring, and did the Round Spring Cave tour. I was just trying to get around the bend, and by the time someone told me Cave Spring was in the corner there would have been no way for me to get back there.
Boy, pulling up to Welch is nothing like pulling up to a BWCA portage! If you wait for spots to open at the landing, you'd wait all day.

Camped our last night right next to a heron rookery. Wow, maybe the noisiest thing I ever heard outside of an airport! I believe on the USGS map the area was called Coot Chute.

Great experience on a pretty river.
We did stop at Two Rivers to hang out and have some ice cream. Nice spot!

Watched for a red Prospector, didn't see one!
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/14/2016 08:12AM  
quote HowardSprague: "We saw Welch Spring, Pulltite Spring, and did the Round Spring Cave tour. I was just trying to get around the bend, and by the time someone told me Cave Spring was in the corner there would have been no way for me to get back there.
Boy, pulling up to Welch is nothing like pulling up to a BWCA portage! If you wait for spots to open at the landing, you'd wait all day.

Camped our last night right next to a heron rookery. Wow, maybe the noisiest thing I ever heard outside of an airport! I believe on the USGS map the area was called Coot Chute.

Great experience on a pretty river.
We did stop at Two Rivers to hang out and have some ice cream. Nice spot!

Watched for a red Prospector, didn't see one!"


Having some issues with the old ticker so I'm "Banned" from the river until my Cardiologist checks a few more things tomorrow. Sure was looking forward to trying to track you down and say "Hi."

I wish you could see the Current as I see it the other 9 months of the year. We rarely see anyone at Welch, but this time of the year....
Also, with the water so high and fast, you some of the features you would have enjoyed. The river changes constantly, though, and I never tire of it! Try it again sometime about mid to late October; it's REALLY "Special" then.
 
HowardSprague
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06/14/2016 03:14PM  
I hope all goes well with the appointment & you're OK!

It was a very cool place.
 
HowardSprague
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06/16/2016 07:12PM  
quote ozarkpaddler: "quote salukiguy: "I just came back from the Black river in Missouri and the Keen sandals did not work well there. The gravel got in them constantly and it hurt when it did. Some other type of water shoe might be better. Note: I have worn Keens for entire BWCA trips before and they are one of my preferred foot wear."


I like sandals but, as you pointed out, the gravel Ozark streams are better with dedicated water shoes that seal the gravel out."


From the advice here, and the likelihood of venomous snakes, I went with LL Bean boots and wool socks. They worked alright, though some of the water/amphibious shoes I've seen on this board would be ideal (Abyss, etc).
I did bring my Keen sandals along to wear in camp and for airing out the feet. Guess I've had them awhile, and it's a good thing I didn't rely on them this trip:


 
Openboat
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06/20/2016 03:04PM  
quote DeuceCoop: "Great trip! That's about fifty miles so five-ish days will be plenty. Things to see perhaps not exactly in order of distance from CG: Welch Hospital, Pultite cabin, Maggard cabin, Bluff school, lots of caves (one of which you can paddle into), Blue spring which will blow your mind, plenty of critters including baldies, feral horses and the usual river animals, and just general scenic grandeur. I believe most agree the best fishing is between Cedar Grove and Akers Ferry (which is another pretty cool sight I think, not to mention a great ice cream stop). You'll be intrigued (I am at least) by how much the river changes character as you make your way down.


Plenty of good gravel bars for camping but select carefully. Some of them are accessible by land which means PAR-TAY for the locals. That doesn't generally make for very enjoyable camping unless you're into that sort of thing. Also, it's unlikely this time of year, but if you see dogs roaming the banks leave them be. They're not lost or abandoned.


If you have time swing by Alley Spring Mill in Eminence before heading home. It's purty.


Our good friend Terry Webb (wildernesswebb) lives there. He'd love to join you I'm sure if he's able, at least for a day. He's great company.


Have fun!"



I heard the caves were off limits because the bats are sick with some virus and it is stressing them too much when you enter the caves.
 
HowardSprague
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06/20/2016 05:11PM  
Correct. The way it was explained to us, white-nose syndrome is a fungus that's over 90% fatal to bats. It grows on them while they hibernate. The discomfort awakens them from hibernation, they head out looking for food which, in wintertime, is obviously nonexistent and they starve.
Round Spring Cave tour was open because it's no longer an active bat cave. Even so, they sprayed our shoes with some sort of fungicide when we exited.

I didn't paddle into the Cave Spring cave. Didn't know it was there until I was 60 yds past it and the other guys told me. There was no way I could have paddled back against that current.
When the outside of a curve had stone cliffs, I tended to stay to the inside because the current would come off the bluffs and make for some tricky sideways currents.
 
yellowcanoe
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06/20/2016 05:54PM  
There was a cave visiting ban in some places. I paddled into Cave Spring two years ago but not too far in..maybe 1
50 yards.. it got too skinny for the canoe. Didn't see a bat nor a do not enter sign.
 
ozarkpaddler
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06/20/2016 06:52PM  
Some of the caves are closed, a few open. Merritt is open as is Cave Spring. The Jam Up Cave, a few miles away on the Jack's Fork, is the most spectacular entrance though. Not a cave expert or a spelunker. Cave Spring and a few of the entrances are enough for me. I get claustrophobic.

Headed to the river tomorrow. Best place to beat these near 100 degree temps, IMHO? Here's a couple pics of the Jam Up Cave:






 
HowardSprague
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06/23/2016 08:01AM  
wow, that is indeed spectacular!
 
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