July Sunset Race (116th) – 7/12/2018

The 116th Sunset Race was set to go downriver to the Meramec Marina. The race would be 12 days before the MR340, so I hoped to see several paddlers out for a fun training run before the race. Several of my favorite people where here to paddle!

I brought two boats tonight. The kayak is for Megan to paddle, and I get the treat of having Danelle in the boat with me tonight!

Bernie looking dapper as ever!

Jon Marble getting ready to paddle.

Megan and Danelle getting ready.

Brian Waldrop checking out his outrigger.

With all of these boats, its always a challenge to tie up at the marina, but we’ve always found a way!

Megan coming down the dock.

Brian and Jon tying up their boats.

Bernie, Brian, and Danelle sharing a joke.

What a fantastic group of people and a great night for paddling!

Hogan Haake

 

 

 

Bad Paddle Day – 7/4/2018

Its been said many times that “A bad on the water is better than a good day at work.”. Little did I know that today was going to push that theory to the limit…

It started off as any national holiday should, with excitement having the day off work and thinking about the day’s events ahead. Sonora was in Kansas City with Hiatt, so it was just Danelle, Corvin, and I. We were meeting a local group called “Kayak Swarm” to paddle down the Meramec river. The plan was to meet early (at least for them) around 9am to start paddling. We were paddling from Robertsville State Park to Pacific Palisades, a distance of approximately 11 miles.

We brought a canoe and a kayak for this trip for the three of us. Corvin and I started in the canoe and Danelle in the kayak. All told there were 27 boats and I believe I was the only 2 person vessel.

It didn’t take long after we left Robertsville before the whole group pulled over to hang out. This meant swimming, drinking, and smoking. Note that all are adults (except for Corvin who only participated in the swimming) participating in the activities. This isn’t my style of paddling as I like to go faster with less stopping. I knew what I was getting into before signing up and just went with the flow.

To keep myself busy and make the paddling harder, I picked up some tires out of the river during my paddle. This was not a cleanup, but it gave me some extra paddling to accomplish!

At one of our numerous stops, Sara and Brian were missing. We waited quite a while before they showed up. Sara had tipped her new to her kayak and was having issues. She was upset from this and wanted to be done paddling, but was not near the finish. After some discussion, Danelle paddled Sara’s boat, Corvin took our Kayak, and Sara sat in the front of the canoe with me. I promised she didn’t have to paddle, just relax and I would bring her home safely.

For those not familiar with the Meramec or small rivers, they often look different as you zoom in on the map. The big rivers that are seen downstream are much smaller upstream. Sometimes. the river gets split in low areas. Here is a satellite image (thanks Google) of one such area.

When you get to a narrow area, every boat has to filter into a tiny space before they get back out into an open area. Unfortunately for us, it was now after lunch and the party boaters were starting to come out for the day. I was in a channel like the one on the map above with Sara. There was at least one boat in front of us and another behind us. As you can see from the picture above, the canoe was loaded down with tires, so it was less maneuverable than normal. It was at this point that we heard the tell tale sound of a motor boat coming around the corner towards us.

We expected the motorboat to see kayaks and a canoe randomly across the channel and wait a few moments for us to get organized and out of his way. Instead, this guy gunned the boat and started coming at us faster. I took as quick of an action as I could and moved the canoe to the right. The motorboat continued coming towards our un-powered boat. As the guy passed us on our right. We’re already on the right side of the river, so he is essentially driving on the left side of the road with very little room between the shore and us. A few things happened quickly during this pass. First I could have reached out with my hand and touched his boat from our canoe. This is TOO CLOSE!!! Secondly, I gave the guy a middle finger salute to show my displeasure!

Sara and I both had a sigh of relief after he passed us and didn’t kill us. A few moments later, I hear his boat crash on the shore behind me. I didn’t mind, hoping he came to his senses. Instead, I start hearing a maniac yell “You in the grey shirt, paddle back up and talk to me”. I was the guy wearing the gray shirt. The most important thing to me at this point was to ignore him and get out of the narrow channel. All we wanted to do was get away from this madman!

But luck was not on our side, and we heard a motorboat coming back at us! I had our canoe close to the shore as I didn’t know what to expect. As the guy passed us, his wife was now driving the boat. He hopped out of his boat before it stopped and started walking to me.

I’m getting frustrated just remembering this as I write it… Basically, he came up to me trying to fight. He couldn’t understand why I gave him the middle finger. He was adamant that he was in the right. At one point, he shoved me with both hands against my chest. The dude had his shirt off and didn’t appear to miss many days at the gym. I figured I would get knocked out this day and was preparing myself.

By some divine luck, I was able to talk him down and they eventually left. But not before his wife offered to come back and fight me if I didn’t respect her.

Anyway, while all this was happening, Brian was able to get a few photos of the boat and live report it to the Missouri Water Patrol. Here is what the jerk’s boat looks like.

We had a terrifying 4ish mile final paddle back to the take out. Every motor boat that came from behind, we expected to be the motorboat jerk wanting more.

In the end, nobody got knocked out or injured. Heard that the Missouri Water Patrol said the numbers on the side of the boat for registration don’t match the boat in the photo. Sounds like a real winner to me.

Hogan Haake

 

Paddle Mo 2017

Usually Hogan is the one who takes epic voyages on the Missouri River.  This time, on September 23-27, 2017, I got to take our Kruger Cruiser on Paddle Mo – a 5 day, 100 mile journey from Hermann, Missouri, to the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.  I am on the board of the organization that runs the event, Stream Teams United, so I joined the trip to provide event support as a safety boat.

The Kruger is not a solo vessel, so I found a fellow Stream Teamer, Sarah, who was interested in being in this ‘safety boat’ with me.  As a safety boat, we were in radio contact with the shore team and the other safety boats.  We were there in case anyone needed us, but thankfully, our time on the water was incident free.  This means that we were able to chat with the other 90+ paddlers and enjoy the scenery that the Missouri River has to offer.

Bill and Jody of Earth’s Classroom were our trip leaders. They provided a wealth of river knowledge along the way.

The Junebug is one of the Voyager craft operated by Mike of Big Muddy Adventures.  Across the dock is River Relief’s safety/support boat.

Heading for the drinking water intake for St. Louis.

I’m not generally a selfie gal, but here you go…

Not all of our time was spent in our boats.  We stopped for lunches in local diners and feasted on boxed lunches full of locally-grown treats along gravel bars.  At the end of the day, we would walk or be shuttled to our campsite.  Dinners were more local cuisine, including a stop at the Montelle Winery for pizza and (surprise!) wine.  The vista over the river from their outdoor dining area reminded me of the seating at my other favorite Missouri winery, Les Bourgeois. I will be back!  I also have to mention the tasty meals provided by Seed, Sprout, Spoon – we had their food for three meals on this trip as well as another catered event and have been impressed!  With as much paddling as I did, I had hoped to lose a couple of pounds, but with all of the great food, I never had a chance!

Sarah, Bernie, and I enjoyed lunch with fellow paddlers at Driftwood in Washington, Mo.

If you have been thinking about paddling in the Missouri River, but are too intimidated to sign up for a race and too concerned to paddle alone, the Paddle Mo trip might be just what you are looking for!  There are many experienced paddlers and plenty of support crew.  The pace is more than just a float trip, but nothing like a race. I made several new friends on the trip and was able to reconnect with some folks I haven’t seen in years.  Thanks to all of the people who made this journey possible!!

Until you have a chance to go yourself, please enjoy a few more photos below.

Danelle Haake

Paddle With Bernie – 5/7/2017

I asked Bernie in passing if I could borrow his 4 person aluminum boat for the South Dakota Kayak Challenge. He surprised me by saying yes. So I was going to pick up the boat from him with a test float. He agreed to go out with myself and my kids for the test paddle. Of course, we went to the flooded area in Valley Park from the Meramec river.

A selfie from the front. Somehow, Sonora managed to hide.

The river is still up a ton, blocking the road.

Guess this means people wading across the street?

This is a 2 story structure. I didn’t realize it till the waters receded and I saw the rest of the damage.

Since the flooding started, I’ve been wanting to paddle to Simpson Lake and see what it looked like!

Look, the roof of a picnic shelter.

Paddling under the picnic structure. Could have changed a light bulb in the middle without getting out of my canoe seat!

I just missed a perfect photo with the reflection of this tree on the calm water.

In case he forgets his name Bernie wrote it on the back on his PFD.

Looking straight down Marshal Road in Valley Park.

This sign is slightly ironic.

The aluminum battleship on top of my van. I wanted for help before getting it down!

Hogan Haake