20210722 – Joseph Smith was right. The way from St Louis to Little Rock.
The Garden of Eden is located in Missouri. It sounds ridiculous when you hear the story of the Mormons. Absurd. A comedy tour de farce.
The thing they don’t tell you about Joseph Smith is that he was an avid canoeist or kayaker.
I know this because Merryweather and I hit the road for another adventure. We left Bruce Casa at 8 am ish. I drove to Hofstedler’s canoe rental on the Eleven Point River. Merryweather took a nap.
The Eleven Point is the third river of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Spring fed. Plenty of water. The Perfect spot for a paddle in late July.
I don’t think Merryweather has been in a boat with me since Glacier National Park. It wasn’t quite as exciting, but very close.
We put in at Whitten. There was another group setting up camp for the day. I was immediately struck by the change in the air. We had been driving down a hot dusty dirt road. Once we got the boat moving the air was cool and humid. Like air conditioning, outdoors. Like when you mom yells at you for leaving the door open. I am guessing there is a spring or cave close by. We found a couple of other spots like that down the river.
The river is pretty steep. The gradient is listed as 5.6. I think that means it drops 5.6 feet every mile. The pools are pleasantly short. The drops are exciting. The one thing Mike from Hufstedlers had told us about was the shelf.
The only other boat we saw was a family in a motorized Jon boat who said “there is a waterfall coming up in half a mile”. We bombed though it with a clean line and courage in our hearts. It was very cool.
We also checked out Bose Mill Spring dam. It was cold spring water. I got out of the canoe to take a picture. My feet were freezing.
We stayed dry until the take out. Merryweather’s feet had fallen asleep. So when he went to get out of the boat he wasn’t stable and grabbed onto the side of the canoe as he was falling backwards. I was in back. The canoe was angled off the ramp in about seven foot of water. I got all the way wet. Merryweather kept his hair dry. There were witnesses.
We returned our gear to the outfitter and hit the road. I had originally planned to head towards the Buffalo River next. The upper section is closed due to lack of water. The outfitter I had picked for the middle section wasn’t answering their phone. I took that as a sign.
We literally flipped a coin. Memphis or Little Rock. Little Rock won.
We crossed the Arkansas state line on a dirt road. The change in scenery is drastic. Leaving the Ozarks for whatever you call the plains of Arkansas is jarring. According to the internet, we moved from Interior Highlands to Gulf Coastal Plains. In reality, we moved from small farms with cows eating grass next to rusting farm machines to vast fields of rice or cotton or agriculture or something.
Merryweather was dropping truth bombs all day. My favorite… “John Locke said all men are born with free will, but he never saw you playing the cha cha slide for a crowd of people”
He also picked out a great restaurant for dinner. YaYas Euro Bistro in Little Rock. It was amazing. Our waiter was a pro. The food was excellent.
My choice of hotels was not as good. We are staying at a Ramada Limited. The limited refers to your expectations, maybe. Merryweather said “I think this maybe the Hotel from Rwanda.” The lobby smelled my glaucoma medicine. But the beds are comfortable and the bathroom works. And we are next door to Twin Peaks, extremely elegant, neighbors of distinction.