Alone in the Wilderness with coyotes

Downriver, I found a suitable gravel bar where I beached my canoe to climb the riverbank and set up camp deep in the Irish Wilderness. Because the wilderness deserves a “leave no trace” campsite, I packed light: a tent, sleeping … Read More

Surprise, Missouri

As I paddled down the Eleven Point River, I knew that within the better part of a county in every direction, I was a population of one. This is the Irish Wilderness. Along the river there used to be a … Read More

Head Games

We launched a johnboat from the conservation access point and motored upstream along Big Muddy, upwind, toward a sprawling sand bar a mile away. Our most experienced hand assured us that the river, though deserving of respect and awe, is … Read More

Our Raft Encounters a Queen

Around a sweeping bend we noticed thick black smoke that signaled one of the rarest sights on the river, at least nowadays. Sure enough, a paddlewheel steamer appeared, churning toward us. As the distance closed between our two craft, the … Read More

Bothwellian

Detouring to the top of a high cliff, I stopped to see an old friend. On a clear day, she’s hard to miss, built on the edge of this bluff and sticking out of a forest canopy like a Bavarian … Read More

Deep Blue

After squeezing through Coot Chute and rounding Owl’s Bend, the Current River joins the Ozark Trail for about five miles. Along that stretch, many floaters miss the stunning blue water of Blue Spring, even though it’s only a quarter mile … Read More

Props

These props push barge tows up the Mississippi. Click on picture to appreciate their size.  

Bionic, When She Starts

Sometimes you get lucky. Erifnus broke down right in front of the house. Bad starter. But since she’s a 5-speed manual transmission, and we live on a slope, I rolled her downhill and popped the clutch. Engine started like she … Read More

Ticket to Ride

Racking up more miles on her odometer than the distance to the moon, my 1999 Pontiac Sunfire became Trigger and Lassie and Old Faithful all rolled into one. Her sleek lines suggest roadster, and she handles through twists and turns … Read More

12,000 Poles Down

The storm spread a path of destruction through northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. In two Bootheel counties alone, the ice toppled 12,000 telephone poles.