It did rain a little, but the Okefenokee canoe trails are all still closed and would have to come up almost two feet for us to make the trip. That is looking pretty unlikely, so with less than three weeks to go it's time to seriously consider another option.
For our selection criteria, we decided to go with knee-jerk reaction and overcompensation - prized attributes in the RRCC. We figured that if we're getting shut out because of low water levels, then we'll just go wherever the biggest, baddest high-volume natural springs are within a day's drive of here and we'll be drought-proof.
The Ozarks of southern Missouri are famous for that - all of the canoeable rivers there have headwaters called "Mammoth Springs" and "Big Springs" and other names that suggest massive discharges of water that will sweep us and our cast iron happily downstream. One of the best rivers in the Ozarks, and the one with the most springs of all, is the Eleven Point. Therefore, we decree that the Eleven Point River is the Official Alternate River of the RRCC for Fall 2010.
ELEVEN POINT RIVER
Nice, isn't it?
The Eleven Point is in southern Missouri just west of the Bootheel, right on the Arkansas border.
It gets most of its flow from fabulous Greer Springs, which is like having a whole nother river come gushing out of a cave in the middle of the trip. 222 million gallons per day.
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of smaller springs all up and down the Eleven Point. Not to mention perfect gravel bars, limestone bluffs and (because of the springs) crystal clear and ice cold beautiful blue-green water.
In 1968, Congress passed the "National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act":
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The first eight rivers to receive the Wild and Scenic designation under the law were the Middle Fork of the Clearwater and the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho, the Feather in California, the Rio Grande in New Mexico, the Rogue in Oregon, the St. Croix in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Wolf in Wisconsin, and the Eleven Point River in Missouri.
Although now there are 156 rivers on the list, there is only one in Tennessee and the RRCC will never canoe it.
OBED RIVER, TENNESSEE.
No fun for dogs or drunks.
And even though Missouri has legendary canoeing streams in the Ozarks like the Current River and the Jack's Fork, to this day it still only has one on the Wild and Scenic River list. Unless the swamp rises dramatically, we're going to be on it in about three weeks.