John Williams' Missouri Adventures
Ally Springs, MO--On June 13, 2004, Jay Williams, Clint and Helen Strange, Elmo McAllister, Josh Strange, Julie Raiskums, and John Williams joined Jim Ostrander, his friend, Kathy, Nancy Doucette, and her granddaughter, Alex, for a five-day trip on the Jacks Fork River and a four-day trip on the Current River.
After a long drive Saturday and Sunday, the group arrived late in the afternoon in Mountain View, Missouri, at the put-in called "The Prongs." After completing the shuttle, the boats were loaded with gear and the fishing began. The group paddled about a mile and a half before making camp. Jay cooked delicious ribs, and Josh made fries.
Monday was spent catching bream and smallmouth bass for supper. There must have been 150 bream cooked that night! Nothing's better than fried fish, hushpuppies, and slaw.
Tuesday was called "Jump Off The Cliff Day." John made the forty-five foot jump but never attempted sixty feet. Julie was the daredevil, leading the way on each jump. That night camp was a half mile below Jam Up Cave, a really interesting cave to explore.
Josh, Julie, Clint, and Helen had to pull out and go back to work on Wednesday. Everyone else spent the day paddling and fishing., camping that evening at Chalk Bluff. The whipporwills which kept the group from sleeping last year took pity this year and allowed a good night's sleep.
Thursday was paddle day, and camp was made just past Ally Springs. It rained like crazy as the tents were pitched.
Jay and Elmo had to leave for work on Friday; no one else let work interfere with the trip and the play. Jim, Kathy, Alex, Nancy, and John packed up and headed an hour and a half north to the Current River. Someone had thrown a rock through John's left front window, but surprisingly stole only two maps. They must have been terribly lost and needed the find the way home. John and the other resupplied, took their time, and tried to find someone to fix the broken window.
Put-in on the Current was at Tan Vat Access, about a mile south of Montauk State Park. Rainbow trout are released every day, and John had a ball catching his first trout. The Upper Current runs clear and somewhat faster than the Jacks Fork and has some troublesome S-shaped curves with root wads and large rocks. These can be challenging to paddlers in loaded canoes.
After fishing all day Saturday and catching brown and rainbow trout, the adventurers made camp early and cooked a big pot roast for everyone. It was great! The paddlers were so tired after eight days on the rivers that they did not break camp until 11:00 AM. They camped early that evening, cooked fish and hushpuppies again, and then sat around the campfire swapping stories and lies.
The group wanted to explore Medlock Cave on Monday, but it was closed to the public because it is a nursery site for endangered gray bats. They did stop at Welch Spring, which has so strong a current coming from the cave that it flows all the way across the river and demanding caution as the point is passed in canoes.
The nine-day trip ended at Akers Access. Everyone headed home. It was a wonderful trip, and a similar one is in the works for 2005.