Munch and Pump
River Float in the Missouri Ozarks
This weekend we ventured into Southeast Missouri to join our friends on an Ozark float trip. We like to think of ourselves as pretty experienced campers, but this trip gave us a run for our money.
The trip started off easy enough- we met up with our friends and their dog and set up camp. My friend did a lot of cooking in advance, so we had one of the fanciest meals my partner Carp and I have ever had at a campsite.
The night was humid and muggy, but the bugs weren’t out. We stayed up around the campfire and caught up, and then hit the sleeping bags. The next morning we picked up our canoe at the Black river next to our campsite, and hit the water.
Our friends were introducing their dog to the concept of a canoe trip, and the dog did really well. Apart from the fact that it shit in the water not once, not twice but three times.
There is a concept in the Ozarks that involves hanging a koozie around ones neck so as to be able to paddle and drink beer. We weren’t super into it in the beginning of the float trip, but toward the middle we decided if we wanted to do a Missouri float trip right, we had to utilize those necklace koozies.
The river was clear and beautifully full of candy colored rocks. We also saw all types of fish swimming beneath us the entire float. The one issue though: the river was super low, and we did more dragging our canoe than actually canoeing at some points that day. If you’ve never had to drag a canoe along slippery river rocks, don’t worry about adding that one to your list.
At the end of the float trip was when shit really started to hit the fan. Ben broke his thumb, I fell on the rocks twice and then split my finger open on a beer can, and our lunch got soaked before we had a chance to eat it.
During our float trip it was storming a bit, but by the time we got out of tht water it was coming upon a full blown thunderstorm that would last all night.
None of us were feeling great because our day drink had worn off and headaches had taken its place. We couldn’t build a fire to cook the food my friend had brought for dinner, so in an act of desperation we went to the nearest, and one of the only, restaurants in Lesterville, MO. This eventually turned in a fight that our friends would hash out the rest of the evening.
My partner Carp and I escaped to buy whiskey to hopefully salvage the evening. We ended up at a liquor store called “Munch and Pump” nearby the campsite, and bought a bottle of Missouri moonshine to complete the experience. On the way out, a cashier from behind the counter came out into middle of the store crying in crisis:
“I hate it here! I want to disappear!”
The people behind us bought 6 bottles of vodka, lightening struck and we headed back to the campsite.
The campsite had it’s own apocalyptic charm, complete with terrifying warnings on the toilets, and smiling faces spray painted throughout the site.
The next morning we were all ready to get outta there. Everything was wet and muddy, and we didn’t even have the ability to make hot coffee. On the way out of the area there was a dog in the middle of the road, laying on the yellow line. We thought it had been injured, but a local in a truck yelled at us,
“She likes it the middle of the highway. She’s a local favorite. Leave her.”
We also stopped through the capitol of Missouri and gave the finger to Mike Parsons.
It was real, Ozarks. But I think it will be awhile before we return to you.