Its always nice to have friends. In this instance, JoJo called and asked if I wanted to paddle part of the flooded Meramec river. I’m always up for that. I packed up and met them at a place I’ve never paddled before in south Saint Louis. Here are a few shots of our paddle.
The water was nearly over the roof of this shelter. Jason was up on a structure that holds the electrical transformer above the flooding they know will occasionally happen.
Hard to tell what is flooded vs. normal Meramec River.
The best part of this whole paddle was what I called the “water trail”. We paddled through a wooded area where a paved bicycle path is. The water was high, but still clear enough to look down and see it. What made it feel like a trail was the fact that we had a tree canopy over our heads and a clear path ahead. Very cool feeling. Then we found this sign and were able to pull it up out of the water for a photo before putting it back. Its about 5 feet over the trail here.
We just finished recovering this tire that we would dispose of later. There is also a traffic cone. Trying to make the world a better place!
Jason relaxing. We don’t paddle this boat much. Part of the reason is because the seats are not very comfortable. He is trying to find some relief.
JoJo was kind enough to grab my phone and get a shot of us.
I love the reflection of the under side of the bridge on the water.
If you’re curious where we went, here is a screen shot. The gray line going north to south is I-55 for reference.
Danelle got up early and went for an early morning walk with Corvin to get photos of the sunrise.
When she got back, I went for a short walk with Danelle. Then we went to the included breakfast. This is a small motel and about the only place in town. It felt like every person staying was getting breakfast at the same time. We grabbed some food and went outside to a picnic table. Since breakfast wasn’t that great, I had alternate plans. From the night before, the gas station/general store next door was making big cinnamon rolls. I ended walking out with one cinnamon roll and a slice of breakfast pizza. Unfortunately for me, the kids got to it first and I was left with nothing. Its okay though as the kids are more important!
Not far from Bluff, Utah is Mule Canyon. It took us two tries to find it including asking some friendly campers where it was. The canyon had a semi-wet creek that went through the center of it. The vegetation was lush all around. Several different flowering plants were showing their colors. The peak of the hike was a “house on fire”. It is an old home of rocks made against the cliff to create protection from the elements. The signs asked us not to go in to protect the history. In reality, as typical Americans, most of us could not fit into them. The door was smaller than most car windows. They offered little protection.
Always start with sun screen!
Corvin can still fit in the smallest places.
Its very dry out, but the vegetation is abundant near the creek.
The famous “house on fire” in the next few photos. Its an optical illusion depending on what time of day you show up.
Some time after this photo, I was climbing around on rocks and had a rock break under me (I get it, I’m fat) and I fell a few feet. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but one of the rocks landed on the top of my right foot. It took a few hours, before pain registered and I’m limping now… Corvin and I hiked nearly one additional mile back and up on the rocks in the canyon before coming back to the van. It was great to get out and get to play in this environment.
Unfortunately for Danelle and Sonora, they walked back to the van while Corvin and I walked farther down the path. Unfortunate because Danelle didn’t have any car keys. They had to wait till Corvin and I came back, and they were out of water. It all worked out, but we were all ready for some air conditioning and rest while we drove to our next destination.
Next up was a drive to the Moki Dugway. When we got there and stopped for photos at the top, I talked to a guy who was also getting one and he directed us to Mulley Point before going down. The view was worth the extra 30 minutes to get a cliff top view of the whole area!
The 4 photos below are Mulley Point. Its hard to describe how great it is at the top looking out on the valley!
Its hard to describe driving down the Moki Dugway. its a bunch of switchbacks in the side of a mountain with not a lot of room for traffic. Sonora had her sliding door open when her side of the van was open to the drop off. Don’t worry, her seat belt was on!
At the bottom of the Moki Dugway, I decided to take a chance and turned on the road for Valley Of The Gods.This is the valley we were staring at from the top before driving down. Its fair to say that we were the only minivan driving this road and there were some places that it got a little iffy, but overall a great drive.
We were quite hungry and found a local place in Mexican Hat, Utah. They served “River Rat” pizza, and it was perfect. We had a nice chat with the lady that owns the place and she seemed grateful for our visit.
After lunch, we backtracked a bit to go to Goosenecks State Park.Its hard to describe the beauty at this park. We managed to see a few rafts down on the San Juan River as well. Also of note, we saw JoJo and Jason there. It was a complete surprise! I had no idea they would be out this way on a trip the same time we were out there!
Jason’s mom (Mary I think), was kind enough to get a photo of the group of us.
The kids and I climbed down for a better look freaking out Danelle a bit, but it gave us the adventure out of the car that we were looking for!
.Eventually, it was time to move on. We made a long drive to Page, Arizona to spend the night before tomorrow’s adventures. But before going to sleep, Corvin and I went for another walk to use up some excess energy. Also walked to stretch out my hurt foot.
Jason is turning 50 and Jo planned a nice get together to celebrate. We started off meeting at the Venice Cafe. This place started around the time of the City Museum. Every inch of the place is decorated! unfortunately for us, it was November and most of the place was closed. The bar was open, so we got to get a glimpse of what it would be in the summer time. I will have to go back and take Danelle as its quite the site!
Joe Sartori on the left and the birthday boy, Jason Locke on the right inside Venice Cafe.
After a few drinks, it was time to move on. Jason with the cement frog outside.
Judy taking his photo.
We walked over to Frazer’s restaurant for dinner. Its one of the fancier places I’ve been to eat before. Not what I consider fake fancy like Ruth’s Chris where the food is extra expensive so it has to feel special. The food here was presented in unique ways with interesting flavors. Definitely worth a visit for unique quality food.
Dinner lasted a long time and we had a fantastic time chatting. Jo brewed a special beer for the occasion as a gift to each of us for coming. She also baked a delicious cake that we shared for dessert. A perfect birthday for a landmark year!
Danelle and I normally participate in Race For The Rivers each year. This year, we made a prior commitment that happened on the same day, Operation Clean Stream. We took a canoe and paddled down the Meramec River from Greentree to George Winter park, picking up trash along the way.
As you can see from the photos, we had a fantastic time. Actually, its hard to have a bad time when you’re on the river. Maybe next year we’ll race again.