We are not going to be camping on a gravel bar. This is radical news and a major departure from normal Club practice. With the exception of wet weather trips when we stay at Mrs. Cooper's pavilion, we always camp on a big, clean gravel bar. This time we're camping in a big, green field.
On the map above, our campsite is at the mouth of Beans Creek, right where it says "Mile 0".
Here it is. This picture was taken from just downstream, looking back up at the field. Beans Creek is coming in from the right.
Views from the campsite looking downstream with Beans Creek coming in from the left.
The Twenty Man Log. Will it burn?
Looking back at the field.
There are several good reasons for choosing this instead of a gravel bar.
1. In the fall, rivers that are regularly flooded during the summer by an upstream reservoir tend to be covered with weeds. Big, nasty weeds that look like plants on the bottom of an aquarium.
2. This particular field is exceptionally nice. It's flat, scenic and mowed close to the ground. Really good for tents.
3. It's high and dry. Really good for rivers with unpredictable dam releases.
4. We are going to be floating during peak fall color season. Fields have nice panoramic views, gravel bars do not.
5. We won't be trespassing. We actually have permission.
The RRCC never asks for permission when camping on gravel bars, but we do when we're on real land. The easiest way to locate a riparian landowner is go to the nearest country store and ask. That's how we found Mr. Pickett who owns about 700 acres where Beans Creek runs into the Elk and is happy to let us camp as long as we keep the gates closed so his cattle won't get out. Mr. Pickett feeds his cattle the used sour mash from the Jack Daniel's distillery. He also said that if he sees a canoe on the Elk when the river's low he can make about four turns around the field on his tractor before it goes out of sight....but when the dam is releasing he can only make it around once before the canoe is gone and the paddlers usually have "a surprised look" on their faces.
The only real change this will have on our packing list is we'll need a bucket of range balls and a driver. Greg, can you do this? Get the Club credit card from Josh.