A Wonderland of Rivers and Forests

Kicking off Spring and a Good “Earth Day” to You

Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hymn”


Put yourself on the river in Spring, and Ludwig will do the rest(Beethoven’s 6th, The Pastoral Symphony)


if you enjoyed the movie, you might also visit:  ourplaceinthecosmos.com

for another spring inspired post…


Can’t wait to get on the river!  If not in April, hopefully May…

Peace on the River

William Hughes


Countdown to Spring

The cold winds of January are chilling my bones. Only three weeks past Christmas and I’m already counting the days till SPRING.

As of this post, January 18, 2016,   61 days until the first day of SPRING

Meanwhile, meditate on this for a spell…the lush greens of summer and a soundscape that soothes

(this is a great audio track for relaxation, or turn it down for inducing sleep)

The water level was exceptionally high this summer day on the Big Piney River.




June brings record rainfall/flooding; However…

While Missouri only had its 11th wettest June on record at 7.23 inches, record precipitation and flooding occurred in many areas across the state. The St. Louis, Missouri area had its wettest June on record at 13.14 inches. So you can understand how happy I was to get  out of soggy St. Lou and hit the right river at just the right time(6/23-25)!    Bring on Summer!


And with all the rain in the area, it’s prime time for pop-up waterfalls along the river…

Refreshment is only another waterfall away…

Waterfalls on Big Piney River,MO

On a hot day, head for the Falls

Yeah, we hit a very narrow time window just right for this float.  The water was on the chilly side, but that’s to be expected with all the heavy rains.

June still kept its promise:  the Cricket Frogs, the Bull Frogs, the Green Frogs, and the Fowlers Toads were all callin’,

and the lightning bugs put on a show as we slept beneath the stars(two nights in a row)

Hope we can float in July


Unfortunately ,as of this post, heavy rains and flooding have continued into July in different parts of the Ozarks.  Just this past weekend, July 11/12, the Big Piney River was flooding at record levels, cresting at 19 feet on Saturday.  I think that may have set a new record, but I will double check that info and report in a later post.

19 feet!!!  YIKES!  The Big Piney is usually about 3 1/2 to 4 feet deep on a typical summer float


Canoe the Ozarks Continues…and a new blog emerges

April on Big Piney River, MO

Early April on the upper section of the Big Piney River

Attention all visitors and Google index bots!


Canoe the Ozarks will continue its mission to share the beauty and adventures in the Wonderland of Rivers and Forests of the Ozarks Country.

Hope you enjoy this post that features new video and pics from a very recent float trip.

And if you thrive on connecting with the natural world, then I invite you to also explore a new blog site that I launched just this past May:




back on the river for an early April float.  The temps were a pleasant 69-70 degrees and a low in the low forties(a bit nippy) later that night.


The colors of Spring have barely begun, but the first blush of chartreuse in leaves, the pinkish-purple blooms of Redbud trees, set by waters that run clear-to shades of green and teal, and the annual appearance of a bright red canoe…

Take another look at the first pic above, this pleasing palette can only leave you hungry for more(my cousin really nailed this photo opp)


So feast your eyes on yet another favorite Eyecon of Spring

Bluebellls in bloom on Big Piney River, MO

Bluebells in radiant abundance

Go back to that first pic one more time-in the upper right corner, a small meadow of Bluebells abound.

There’s no other river that shows off the Buebells better than the Big Piney in the Show-me-State!’

(By the way, that was some kind of place to set a table for lunch.)


It’s been mostly cloudy most of the day.  When the sunlight fades, the drabness of winter’s hangover seems more on display.  I feel a little discouraged, but help is on the way…

something old1Beauty on the river saves me with something old

old sandstone walls on Big Piney Riverand revives me with something new (Turn up the sound)

Pop-up waterfalls, an unexpected surprise



We got on the river late this day, so dinner is calling and our campsite is near.


It’s actually an island in the stream, loaded with wood, a pyro kid’s dream!

So after a hearty dinner of  cornbread, ham n’ beans…

campfire on the Big Piney River

Now that’s a blazin’ fire 🙂


Next post:  new videos of “movin’, cruisin’, glidin’ down the stream


(if you recently read the post entitled “Rivers of the Cosmos” at this site, that post

has been moved to:  ourplaceinthecosmos.com)


Beethoven and Springtime on an Ozark River (movie)

Ten days before the Vernal Equinox , 9pm, all quiet on my back yard deck

Off in the distance, it’s faint, but clear
The call of Spring Peepers, sweet season premier



Before long, the Chorus Frogs start to sing

A funeral hymn for winter;  here comes Spring



(these sounds are just a primer, so too is Beethoven’s 6th, as I hope to be on the river for an April float soon…meanwhile, put yourself on the river in April, lose yourself in the beauty of Spring, and Ludwig will do the rest)

(Coming Soon! A new blog and/or category that will explore new worlds, new dimensions.  I plan to keep blogging about my canoe trip adventures as well)

Water Worlds of Summer on an Ozark River

Just checked the forecast for an early August float trip on the beautiful Buffalo River(AR):

daytime temps 85 – 90(NORMAL), nighttime lows, a very comfortable 60(unusual) without a chance of rain!  Wow, what a forecast!  I’m already reciting a prayer of petition to keep it so.


And on a hot summer day, there is no place I would rather be…


Refreshing in the riffles


Restoring by the Springs


Gliding with ease


bow shot on Big Piney River

Or moving “gently down the stream…”


Time to get back on an Ozark River!  Time to shine up a new summer dream!



SO BACK TO THE BEAUTIFUL BUFFALO  if our August plan works out.

And if the excellent forecast holds, we hope to do a lot of snorkeling on this trip.  The clear waters of the Buffalo offer ample opportunities.  Hope to bring back some new video.

riffles/Buffalo River

Lively riffles near a favorite campsite on the Buffalo River

Until the next post,

Beauty on the River

















Springtime on an Ozark River (movie)

Join us on the river as we venture deep into the beauty and wonders of Spring-
In the Ozarks…

Peace on the River

Ancient Ozarks

As we quietly paddle by a rocky  bluff, I gaze in wonder at this wall of sandstone and dolomite- basking brightly in the majesty of mid day light.
bluff on the Current River
This imposing, craggy geologic sage
(informs me)

“You’re staring at a face from the Paleozoic age.”
(Paleozoic Age:  which ran approx. 542 to 251 million years ago)

At its beginning(Cambrian Period), a dramatic explosion in the diversity of
Life on earth.

(more on this at:  http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/paleozoic/paleozoic.php)

“And as you move on down the river, take time to tip your cap to the mighty


About 450 million years ago,  a continental plate crashed into North America’s east coast.  This was part of the event that created the super continent, Pangea.

This tectonic activity resulted in the formation, the uplifting of the Appalachian Mountain chain, which included what is

NOW the Ozarks.

After the earth tired of all the lifting, the process of weathering and erosion
began…(And Oh how the waters ran…)

Welch Spring

A “first magnitude” spring; Welch Spring flows into the Current River


Then about 200 million years ago, Pangea was breaking apart…
The separation of the continent created a great rift valley, a rift valley that is
now filled by the Mississippi River Basin.
This resulted in:

*not only an earthquake prone area that is active today,

*but it also separated the Ozark Highlands from the rest of the Appalachian
Mountain chain(east of Mississippi River)

*Ozark Highlands/Plateau is approx. 50,000 square miles that includes
sections of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and a considerable portion of

The Ozarks of Today teems with rivers and streams
(and my favorite dreams)
That vitally flow from three thousand springs…

Pulltite Spring, Current River, MO

A “second magnitude” spring; A little less flow, but Pulltite Spring is BIG on beauty

So it’s no surprise to me, that the Ozarks is home to the largest collection of “first magnitude” springs
(those with over 65 million gallons of daily water flow)

in the world.


Blue Spring/Current River, MO

A “first magnitude” spring; Blue Spring flows into the Current River

But what I do find surprising- the Ozarks is also home to one of the oldest, if not the oldest, mountain range in North America,
the St. Francois Mountains in southeastern Missouri.
Volcanic forces helped create this range of igneous rock that formed an astounding 1.5 billion years ago…

The Appalachians are among some of the oldest mountains on EARTH.
When the Appalachians began forming, the St. Francois Mountains were already twice as old as the Appalachians are today.


“Indeed, the Ozarks is an ancient story,”
so says the Sage.

“And the rivers that run through it, sing a primal song,
that  you’ve known all along”…

“So paddle on, strive on, go with the flow-
write the next page”…

Wonderland of Waterfalls on the Big Piney River

It’s a sunny but unusually cool August day as we start our float trip on an upper section of the Big Piney River( 4 videos on this post).

The mercury won’t touch 80 the duration of this trip.  And just about ten days ago, there was heavy flooding throughout much of the Ozarks.
(It’s August, right?!)

And it’s the main reason why we chose the upper section for this float.  Normally(not sure what the “normal” is these days), the water levels are too low to float this splendid part of the river in the months of summer.

These curious circumstances led to some unexpected developments, or on this day, you might call it serendipitous surprise…

(pardon the shiver on this particular clip; camera was chillin’)


Not much farther down the river… “Dripping Springs Conservation Area”

Today transformed!  “Pouring Springs” would be more aptly named.


I’m thinking of how refreshing it would be to stand inside these falls on a hot summer day.  But I soon remember the cooler weather has chilled these waters considerably.
Yeah, this is not a typical August, but the tradeoffs today are rare-and rich in beauty!


I know that heavy rains recharge the springs and rev up the creeks.
And it’s the lowest point that water always seeks(watershed effect)…

But this glorious convergence of waters…It’s not like anything I’ve ever seen at all, of all my trips on the river, spring through fall.

Peace and Beauty on the River
(*Still time for a September float!  If you’ve read any of my previous posts about this transitional time of year, you know why September is “Oh so” sweet on the river.
*If the colors are good this year and the weather cooperates, I hope to be on
the river in October as well; prayers to the River Gods)

Peace and Beauty on the River

Summer Symphony on the Big Piney River

Moving through a lively riffle…

It’s about 5pm when we pull into a favorite campsite that we’ll call home for the next few days.  Little did we know that our first night here would be one of the most memorable nights on the river.

Looking out from under canopy tent

Looking out from under canopy tent toward the pool and the river

With only the slightest chance of rain in the forecast, we still throw up a tarp and then gather fire wood for cooking and the telling…


But tonight, no stories we shall weave…


For we’ll soon be attending a symphony on this early summer eve.
We’ll  have the best seats in the house; our tickets already punched!


As dusk dials to darkness, a pack of Coyotes howl from far away hills.

And then almost in an instant, a Whippoorwill makes a call- this one, long distance

Then maybe a mere minute passes- a Barred Owl hoots from down stream, as if to say, he won’t be left out of this scheme

I’m fist-pumpin’ the air – to this timely trio of twilight surprise!

We both well know this might be a prelude to a classic summer night.

We stoke up the campfire.  Darkness has settled in.


Symphony # 7.9 begins…


Fowler Toads start in with their familiar short, nasally bursts.
It’s a nice surprise to hear them as late as July…




Then the American Toads join in with their long, high-pitched trill.
(they too are usually absent by this time.)




These toads are energized!  These toads are loud!  And their vocals are projecting from at least two locations.  There’s a back channel behind our campsite that loses its flow by summer, but there must be some remaining pools of water because of a particularly very wet spring.

In front of us…

frogs and toads/pool

This little pool is jumpin’ with Life

A residual pool left by spring flood waters, STILL here, filled with toads, and other aquatic wonders-pulsating with life that hearkens back to the primordial Pool of Old.
A MICRO COSMOS right here in our campsite to behold!


So now we have toad music in stereo, and then still farther off to the right on the river,  the Bullfrogs are now hummin’/rummin’ and the Tree Frogs are trillin’.
Wowsers!  This is some kind of special sense-surround sound!


Our amphibious friends were the first vertebrates to vocalize(approx. 400 million years ago)
And OH how they harmonize…

While the Lightning Bugs synchronize(from the woods)…
Occasionally, they drift above our fire, and sometimes hang a beam as they fly across stream…


What a beautiful, glorious night.  I don’t know how it could get better,
UNTIL the sky clears and the stars burst out in compliance.

We stay up late.  The music plays on…

It’s probably around midnight as I start to doze off with a grateful thought…


My regards to the Maestro for a most memorable summer night!


Peace on the River