If you’re weary of sitting in the backyard or social distancing on a restaurant patio, try a pleasant and safe alternative—the Mississippi River. A guy who goes by the name “Muddy Mike” Clark offers canoe trips on the river over a 9-mile stretch, where there’s no barge traffic. With the trip comes a gourmet meal on Mosenthein Island (“Mosie Island”), one of the three islands below the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.
A Family of River Rats
Rollin’ on the River
Since the Pandemic, “Muddy Mike” has referred to the thousand acre getaway as “Quarantine Island.” Because of its remoteness, he’s spent a month there during the Pandemic, leaving only when his dog, Dolly, got sick.
All my kids and grandsons have made this river trip one or more times and love it. The 29-foot canoe offered by Big Muddy Adventures is large enough for 8 people, plus crew.
Even so, I’ve not gone. The only moving water I enjoy is in my Jacuzzi. (Though I do like watching the tide ebb and flow from a sandy beach.) My family members, on the other hand, are river rats, lovin’ to put a canoe and paddle in flowing water whenever possible.
I think my hesitancy about water ventures comes from never having learned to swim. My failing was a result of the 1940’s polio epidemic thought to be spread in public swimming pools. (Yes, epidemics can have a lasting effect on children.) But I digress.
On a Sandbar the Rest of the World Vanishes
My family’s favorite trip started with parking north of the Arch. From there, they were shuttled by van to an entry point in North River Front Park just south of Chain of Rocks Bridge. Once loaded aboard the canoe, they made the short trip upriver. Bending eastward, they put ashore on the Illinois side of Mosie Island.
Fiona, one of the crew members, served a delightful meal of guacamole, ceviche, chips, beef tenderloin, gluten-free quiche, chopped salad, fresh cherries and chocolates. On a previous trip, Chef Josh Galliano cooked a gourmet meal over an open fire. One online enthusiast wrote, “Once you set foot on the island the rest of the world vanishes.” That by itself makes the evening worthwhile.
View from the River
After spending the evening about the campfire exchanging river lore, they headed down river toward the Arch, where they had parked. In the darkness, the view of the skyline is spectacular.
My kids say there’s no drama on the river excursion. And, besides,” Muddy Mike” has been doing these trips for 15 years. Read more about other trips available from Big Muddy Adventures. Trips include Pedal and Paddle, Missouri River, Ozark Day, Full Moon Floats, as well as customized river adventures.
Hmm. . . I’m thinking, I might enjoy this excursion after all. Now if I can figure out how to get in the canoe without tipping it over. . . .