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Calm Waters of the Missouri

I had spent the day scurrying around, packing for a multi day trip, and getting odds and ends of things done at home. Mid afternoon I was meeting some friends in Virgelle to spend the night and hopefully work in a short canoe or kayak trip.

The Sunday afternoon drive was a looker – changing scenery, green fields of winter wheat, the Highwood Mountains on my right and finally a glimpse of the Bear Paw Mountains to the northeast. My mind was beginning to slow down which was a very good thing!

The one thing I took for granted was that all of us knew how (and loved) to canoe. My friends were willing participants but I could see signs that told me they weren’t confident in their water skills.

Missouri River Canoe Company had a canoe for my friends and a kayak for me – my favorite because in a kayak you feel (and are) so much closer to the water.

All it took was a couple practice paddles doing the J stroke close to shore and my canoe buddies were cruising along the Wild & Scenic Missouri River like pros! And having a fun time.

We did a very short canoe trip before dinner – just to work up our appetites! Our launch was at the site of the Virgelle ferry and we paddled downstream to the take-out at Coal Banks Landing, probably about 1 1/4 miles.

With spring runoff the Missouri seemed to be moving a bit faster than its average 3.5 miles per hour speed that is typical in summer. This river is easy to navigate and really offers some spectacular scenery.

I think these photos are so pretty with the white clouds and shimmery water. And, a bright red canoe looks pretty good in contrast to the other colors.

At the BLM’s campground at Coal Banks Landing there were several vehicles parked but we saw absolutely no other people on the water on our short paddle.

It’s amazing to see the variety of scenery in just a little over a mile of river travel – we had trees and lush vegetation on the left and the Virgelle sandstone cliffs on our right.

The sounds of silence, a paddle dipping in and out of the water and a few bird calls all combined to mellow my mood.

After we reached Coal Banks Landing and took our canoe and kayak out of the water one of our group took a reflective look upstream at where we had been.

I think we all could have done this trip again, right away!

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