Saturday, August 06, 2011
I knew it was an anomaly to see enough water in the Prongs in September 08 that we could float from the headwaters of the Jack's Fork to Bay Creek. But with the prolonged spate of unofficial drought, the river levels throughout the Ozarks have dropped to almost portage-required levels. (Frankly, no one wants to portage when they're on a three day float with all that danged gear in the canoe. So we wait for rain.)
Huzzah! for the scattered showers the past few days and that big massive lightning-filled storm that raked across the Ozarks on Friday while I was on a glade. A respite from the heat, a little bit of water for the river levels, and vegetation saved from browning out just in time. So far, only one woodland wildfire has been reported from the Ozarks, one small one located down in Elk River Hills country.
I was in the igneous Ozarks the past few days where the rivers don't depend on springs, but on rainfall alone. Gorgeous rivers in the St. Francois Mountains--clear, free of cows, no junk on the rocks, but low, low, low water levels. Still floatable, but only barely. Nevertheless, we may be out of that high pressure heat dome that turned my Nalgene bottle into something different as it sat in my car with the windows down:
I'll probably never float the Prongs for my September birthday float again unless we have tons of rain, but I think I found my next river trip, all surrounded by derecho-impacted land that is being sold for a song these days. The richness of the woodlands impacted by the May windstorm is incredible, with immensely diverse wildlife, plant life, and tree regeneration. Those rare areas that weren't logged after the windstorm are regenerating shortleaf pine and hazelnut! The same associations in the 1800s land surveyor records, by the way...
Posted by Allison Vaughn at 9:56 PM