Date Night – 6/19/2015

This was our last night without the kids. We decided to go out on a date together. I wanted to go out to the St. Charles area for dinner. For a change of scenery and to see the Missouri River Flooding. Danelle didn’t want to go there due to traffic. So we ended up going out to check out the Meramec flooding again. Eventually we drove around till we ended up back home grabbing take out and watching a movie together. The photos below are of the Meramec flooding in Valley Park.

IMG_0311 IMG_0318 IMG_20150619_182842 IMG_0322

We could watch this spot and see the water coming into the road flooding it deeper!

We could watch this spot and see the water coming into the road flooding it deeper!

Hogan Haake

Training on the Meramec – 5/2/2015

Danelle and I are participating in the South Dakota Kayak Challenge at the end of the month.Its a 72 mile race and this is our first real training run. The plan was that I would do the Mud Run in the morning, come home and get ready, then drop the kids off at Grandma’s house and paddle. I finished the Mud run and came home. We loaded up the boat and the kids and went out as planned.

Danelle and I got the boat on the river and set off downriver to the Meramec Marina for dinner and beer.

IMG_20150502_183532 IMG_20150502_180418 IMG_20150502_180652

It was very shallow to get in and out of the marina, but the beer and pizza were worth it. Once out, we started paddling harder to ensure we got some miles in.

In the end, we figured out what worked for us and knew that we could work together to accomplish the distance we need for our race. We got in 11.3 miles and I was completely beat after the day’s activities!

Hogan Haake

76th Sunset Race – 4/9/2015

The 76th Sunset race started with me arriving early and going for a 2 mile unicycle ride down the paved path. I turned around when the path went under the waters of the flooded Meramec river.



Shortly after my ride, Joe Sartori showed up to paddle with me. He brought out his whitewater boat that can handle just about anything.


Once out in the current, the river was quite peaceful and easy to paddle upstream in. We went up a bit past Simpson lake before turning around and coming back. Here are a few snaps of the flooded river.

IMG_20150409_173914 IMG_20150409_173930 IMG_20150409_173934

Hogan Haake

Sunday Paddle – 3/1/2015

I often talk about wanting to paddle in the snow. Most years I complain that it snowed while I was at work. This last weekend, it happened to me again. It was snowing like mad on Saturday, but I was home alone with the kids. I wasn’t upset, but life just happens that way. Then on Sunday I ended up meeting up with Dan Prater, a paddler with the same desire to get out in any weather. Our plan was a 14 mile route along a scenic section of the Meramec River. Our initial take out was slated for Route 66 start park. Due to the snow, the park was not open or even plowed. Not deterred, we went to the other side of the river and found a place to park across from the official ramp.

I gathered my gear and hopped into Dan’s truck to head to Pacific Palisades for the put in. Dan has 4 wheel drive, so there was no worry about getting to the ramp. I should add that we were mildly worried about ice, but the river appeared to be free of ice enough to get through without issue.

After a few donuts in the parking lot with lots of shared laughter, we unloaded the boat and our equipment. With a quick change of clothes, we were ready to put on the river.


View downstream at Pacific Palisades


View upstream at Pacific Palisades


Our fresh tracks on the ramp. First and likely only visitors for the day.

Right before we set of down the river, Dan got a call from Daren. He wanted to paddle, and we arranged to meet him at the Allenton ramp and provide a shuttle back to his car after we finished. As we paddled along, we quickly got warm enough that we pulled over and took off a layer of clothes.

The view was perfect and it didn’t take long till Dan told me to stop paddling and get out my camera for the first eagle nest of the day. My cell phone doesn’t do it justice, but it was amazing!


What are photos without a selfie? Hogan in the front and Dan in the back.


Just before the turn with the eagles.


Eagle in the tall tree.

Dan is quite familiar with this stretch of the river and took us on an interesting side route. I was very nervous of tipping in the cold weather, but Dan pulled us through with only a little extra excitement on my part. It didn’t take long till we turned the corner to the best photography of the day, ice down a cliff!

IMG_20150301_123357 IMG_20150301_123407 IMG_20150301_123409

I wanted more photos, but my phone started having issues, so the rest are just in my head. We didn’t share too much additional conversation after this view as it was just a lot to take in. But we were just around the corner from the half way point.

At the Allenton ramp, we pulled in and waited for Daren. We had a friendly conversation with a lady taking photos. She asked about eagle activity and we shared what we had seen and suggested where she might drive to see more eagle action. It took at least 15 minutes from when we stopped till when Daren was ready to go on his stand up paddleboard (SUP). During that time, Dan and I both shared coffee from a thermos to stay warm.

I was slightly worried about Darren as he was wearing street clothes on top of a SUP. If he fell in the river, he was going to be in big trouble and we would have to rescue him! Having Daren around created another person to focus our conversations on. Dan and I paddled easier so Darren could keep up with us, not that he was any slouch!

While we were in a rhythm paddling and talking, we got to a straight stretch that I’ll never forget. Up ahead on the trees were two eagles, a bald mature one and an immature one. The mature eagle flew down from its perch on high with something in its claws. I wondered what could be going on but we all stopped paddling to see what would happen. With wings wide, it flew about 25 feet off the water a few hundred feet in front of us. Then it dropped a stick into the water. This seemed strange, almost like a stick that was not good enough for its nest.

Then the immature eagle flew down from its perch a tree over. Again with wings spread, it floated down with its claws out. It took two passes, but the younger eagle grasped the stick back up out of the water and flapped its way back up to the tree it started from. We had been floating ever closer during this process and were rather close to the starting tree. I heard a thump when the young eagle landed back where it started. None of the three of us had ever seen anything like that before!

Both fortunately and unfortunately the paddling trip was over before we knew it. We pulled up to the ramp and I was quick to get up to my van and start it for heat. I was having trouble feeling my fingers, not realizing how cold they were. We efficiently packed up Darren’s paddleboard on the van and moved Dan’s boat near the road to pick up on our way back home.

I love my dry suit, but 3 hours is about all my body can take at a time. See what it did to my wrists! This is probably also why my hands get cold fast, having less circulation.

IMG_20150301_153549 IMG_20150301_153558 IMG_20150301_153602

Hogan Haake

Paddle with Jo – 8/6/2014

As much as training for the MR340 is all about speed and distance, sometimes you need to stop and remember why you are on the water. Jo and I wanted to get out and enjoy the Meramec in all of its beauty. The sky looked like it could rain, but we were up for anything.


We always seem to find some sort of excitement when we paddle the river. This day was no exception. While going upstream, we noticed what looked to be the legs of a cheap table sticking out of the water. We decided to divert over and see what it was. As we got closer, we realized that it was possibly something more. What we pulled out of the water was a hex-rotor aircraft from dji. We didn’t know the correct name, so we called it a sexcopter. We couldn’t think of the correct word for six and just laughed at the name. Later research had us estimating an initialĀ  purchase price of $5,000.

IMG_20140806_213330 IMG_20140806_213544

Unfortunately when I pulled it out of the river and placed it in the boat, the battery pack fell off and back into the river. Jo went straight into action and got out of the boat to look for it. She spent at least 30 minutes sliding around on the bottom of the river till she eventually came up with it! My hero!


After our excitement settled, we continued upriver just past the 141 bridge. There we examined a snag that we can only see in low water. There is an old concrete column with metal sticking out. Its good to know more about it for when the water is slightly above it.

IMG_20140806_194658 IMG_20140806_195127 IMG_20140806_195232

We try never to forget why we love the river. Today, the river loved us back with some extra interesting adventures that had us talking for quite some time!

Hogan Haake