03 June 2013

Why I floated the Hinson Creek.

You might expect some snappy answer like "Because it was there." Truth is I floated the Hinkson Creek last weekend with my friend Mike because it is our watershed. What better way to get to know our local waters than riding out a stormwater engorged creek?
The raging Hinkson Creek at the put-in.
Mike and I reveling in our accomplishment: we joined the Hinkson Float fraternity.

Fido will keep us safe from harm.
Since I came to Columbia in 1989 I have known the Hinkson but never as well as I wanted to know her. I had occasionally taken a dip in the Hinkson feeling like there was no better way to be of a place than to lay on my back in the creek that flows through my town, my place. Immersed in the creek's trickling flow and gazing up at the clouds on a summer day leaves me feeling like a got somewhere far from home. In reality it is a less than 2 mile bicycle ride from my home to the nearest Hinkson Creek access.

This urban watershed of ours makes regular press for being polluted. The politicians and planners have collaborated then fought then collaborated some more to come up with a plan for how to mitigate pollution in the creek. I don't want to be scared from an exciting float by a little pollution and politics.

Last Saturday I finally did it.

Floating the Upper Hinkson required a convergence of lots of rain, an available Saturday and a willing partner. Mike and I put in near the Mexico Gravel Road/Vandiver roundbaouts. The water was moving fast. We counted ourselves lucky since wet leaves were stuck in the trees eight or so feet above our heads. The creek had come down a lot and recently.

Let me admit, yes, we did flip the boat once. A sycamore had fallen across the creek and collected many branches in its mass. A small chute was't quite enough for Mike and I to pass freely. In seemingly slow motion we came up to the brush heap and flipped our ride: Mike's Old Town canoe. ("The Cadillac of cheap canoes" as Mike reminds me.) In the flip Mike lost his glasses. We watched one of his Cabella's paddle float away. My camera got wet.

The canoe once righted and drained was deemed worthy of floating again. We paddled on with a commitment to watch for obstructions more closely.

Post-flip, as rocks and trees impeded our progress, Mike and I hopped out the back of the boat often to swim or walk Fido and the canoe to shore. From the bank we could better suss out the ripples ahead of us. Overall we paddled 8.26 miles, floated under seven or so bridges, portaged around one low-water bridge and took out at another. My dear wife Lisa met us at the takeout near the MU ballfields and carried out soggy selves back to Mike's truck.
Break time on the swim-walk-float trip

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Disclaimer: this is not a float for paddlers who aren't nimble, attentive and a bit nuts. Most months of the year the Hinkson flows very little. With luck, an available day and a willing partner there is a fast-moving (at times) floatable creek running through the heart of Columbia, Missouri.

My pictures saved from the once-waterlogged camera don't begin to show what a near wilderness runs in our midst. Undeveloped and largely unmarred by development the Upper Hinkson is a gem that won't give up her secrets easily.

We did it, Ma!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun float, Trevor! I enjoyed learning more about the Hinkson.