Beaver Creek Float Day 1

By Dustin on 2013.09.02 In Camping Canoeing

  For those of you that don’t know, I have the most amazing little boy. For an avid, adventure seeking outdoors man, he is a dream come true. Jesse would chose a trip to the forest, or ride in  a canoe over a playstation or movie any day. In fact, it is very hard to keep the little guy indoors at all! Even when the weather is bad, its very hard to convince him that its  a good idea to stay inside. He absolutely loves to go canoeing and camping. One of the first things he always asks when I pick him up on Fridays is ” can we go campin and floatin?” It makes me very proud.

   This kid has already logged more miles on the river and hiking trails than most adults ever will, and he hasn’t even hit his 4th birthday yet. He has put in roughly 40 miles in a canoe, and hiked around 80 miles with about 20 of those miles on his own feet instead of on my shoulders. He also loves to rock climb, climb in trees, and he can already take a few steps on the 4 inch slackline I built for him. He is 3 going on 30! And there is no question who his biggest fan is!

1003771_345662275537169_1048886648_nNow you know a little about my son, now let me tell you about our weekend on the river. It started out just like every weekend, me picking Jesse up Friday morning. There is nothing like seeing his face when he gets out of his mothers vehicle. Him and I had already discussed a float trip for this weekend, so there was no question why he had the huge smile and was running to me, he was ready to hit the river!!
Of course when he gets in the “monster truck”, which is what he has always called my old beat up Toyota T100, the first thing he says is ” let’s go campin’ and floatin’!”
We hadn’t been able to get on the creek for several weeks. The weather had went from being extremely dry, to the point that the water level in Beaver Creek had gotten too  low, to almost 2 weeks of solid rain. So needless to say, the creeks had been flooding for quite some time. So I was still concerned about the water level, but on our way back home we had to cross Beaver Creek at the old Rome bridge. So we made a stop on the bridge and checked the water level. Luckily it looked perfect. Not to high, and clear as could be. After seeing that, there is no doubt that a float trip was in order!! All that’s left now is to check the weather for the weekend and pack our gear!

Old Rome Bridge over Beaver Creek

Old Rome Bridge over Beaver Creek


Now Jesse is about to boil over with excitement! He is ready to go right this minute!!! I still had some concerns though.
Beaver Creek is notorious for being blocked with trees that have been uprooted during a flood. And the area we was planning on floating is very seldom traveled so, you can pretty much expect that any trees that are blocking the creek, will stay there unless you move them.

Since I hadn’t been on the creek since the last flood, I was a little leery of taking Jesse on a long trip, in case I would have to do a lot of dragging the canoe around trees, so I planned on just taking a short trip and spread it out over 2 days by just leaving on Saturday evening.       Talking my son into waiting another 36 hours, was going to be a huge task in itself!
So Saturday morning after a few cartoons and some chocolate milk, we are up and running! After giving our dog a bath, it was time to head into town and get a few supplies. We didn’t need much, just our food, an extra dry bag, and Jesse wanted some fishing lures for his brand new spiderman fishing pole.
As soon as we got home the packing frenzy began. But soon enough we had all our gear packed, loaded, and ready. By this point Jesse is bursting at the seams with anticipation. He has asked a thousand times, “are we ready yet?” So when I finally said “yes bud, we are ready”, he was ecstatic!


After giving “Nana” hugs and kisses and getting his floating buddy “Bo” loaded, he is in the truck waiting on me and his “Papa Bill”.
Soon we are headed down the dirt road, on our way to Beason Slab, where we will start our float trip. On the way, Jesse and my father, “Papa Bill” are having a very serious discussion about which fishing lure is going to catch fish. Jesse betting on the grey, Papa the yellow. This is debated for most of the 20 min drive.
Finally we made it to the creek, and got all or gear unloaded and in the canoe. After Jesse gives Papa Bill a big hug and kiss, we load our dog in the canoe, and set off down the creek. Our float is only about 5 miles, so I made sure we didn’t get on the water until 5p.m.

Almost immediately Jesse is looking for a spot to camp, sleeping in a tent is one of his favorite parts. “This spot?” “No buddy, we have to go further.” “How about here?” “Nope, I’ll show you the place son.” “What about this spot?” “Not yet bud, we are close.” On and on and on this went. Every gravel bar was a good camping spot for Jesse.

The camping spot we are headed to is just about 2miles downstream from Beason Slab, and the land is owned by my parents neighbors. It has a couple of picnic tables, a fire pit, and a nice swimming hole. It is also very secluded, with the closest house over a mile away and no roads within earshot. Needless to say, when it is dark, all you are going to hear are crickets, bullfrogs, coyotes, and other peaceful nature sounds. It’s about as good as it gets for a primitive campground.

You can tell when you are getting very close to the campsite when you come to a big, deep swimming hole with a big rope swing, and a large square rock that sticks about 8ft straight up out of the water. This is another great little spot. Perfect for taking a break and swimming, eating lunch, or just to relax on a longer float.


Swimming hole before Bucks and Spurs Ranch Campground

Swimming hole before Bucks and Spurs Ranch Campground

Swimming hole before Bucks and Spurs Ranch Campground

Swimming hole before Bucks and Spurs Ranch Campground

Jesse has been on this same float enough that he immediately recognizes this swimming hole, and knows that we are within minutes from the campsite. We pull into the campsite around 7 p.m. As soon as the nose of our canoe hits gravel, Jesse and Bo hit the ground running, and exploring everything.
As those two play, I start unloading all our gear. Jesse loves to help set our tent up, so when he sees I’ve got everything unloaded and at the campsite, he comes running telling me that we have to set it up. So we get started on building our home for the night. Jesse is in that stage of asking how everything works, and why it works that way. So setting up a tent involves answering a thousand questions.
The tent we use is a Kelty Quartz 2. I have had this tent for about 7 years and it has been on hundreds of trips, and is in pretty dang good shape still. It has been worth every penny I spent on it. It has plenty of room for two adults and most of their gear. Plus if you put the rainfly on, it has even more room for gear. Although it is way to heavy for a backpacking trip, it is perfect for this kind of adventure. So I would definitely recommend a Kelty. They are very reasonably priced, and as long as you take care of them, they will survive years of camping trips. Jesse even split one of the female ends of one of the poles, and it still stands like nothing is wrong with it.

Now that we have our tent up, it’s time to get our fire built. After all the rain we have had, the original fire pit is setting in a big mud hole, so we need to make a new one. I give Jesse my fold able shovel and get him started on digging a hole for our fire. As he is doing that I get started on collecting firewood. I always take a hand saw with me on trips like this just for cutting firewood. It is an invaluable tool.
Now, when I get back with the wood, not only do we have one hole for our fire, we have have about 10 extra holes scattered all over our campsite. Jesse is so proud of his holes. All I see is nice little booby traps to trip in when I’m trying to walk around in the dark, but of course I just tell him great job, and he goes back to digging.

As soon as I get some kindling started, Jesse drops the shovel and comes to help with the fire. I blow on the fire, he blows on the fire. I put a stick on the fire, he puts a stick on the fire. After a few minutes, we have a nice little fire going.
With our tent up, and a fire rolling, and enough wood cut and stacked to last us the rest of the night, it was time to change into some dry clothes and get comfortable. After changing, we decided it was time to roast some hotdogs and then make some smores.
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Funny thing about Jesse is that he does not like his smores to be messy. I know, makes no sense right? A little boy who has no problem playing in the mud, or wrestling with big wet dirty dogs, does not want his snores to be messy. So when he eats his, he eats around the spots where marshmallow is squishing out of the sides. Bo gets the rest.
By now it’s about 9:30 p.m. and my little camper is getting tired. He crawls up in my lap and we both set and watch the campfire and listen to the beautiful sounds of the night.
As I set there watching the fire, my son in my lap, and my dog setting beside me, I couldn’t help but think to myself “this is the life.” I don’t care who you are, setting around a campfire is captivating. It’s in our DNA.
Our ancestors have been setting around campfires since basically the beginning of time. They used them for everything from cooking, keeping predators away, even allowing them to travel into to harsher environments. A fire just has a special way of bringing people together, like moths to a flame.  So when you find yourself setting around a fire telling stories with your friends and family, you can be sure that you are carrying on a tradition that has been going on since basically the beginning of man.
After about an hour or so of setting and watching the fire, we decided it was time to call it a night. I piled enough wood on the fire to hopefully last til the morning, and we crawled into our tent.
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Once in the tent, Jesse goes from nearly asleep, to a wild man. The wrestling began, along with his monkey sounds, and anything else you can imagine a wild little boy doing. This goes on for about a half an hour before he finally tires himself out. Finally he starts to get real still and quiet, and before you know it he is asleep.
I get up one more time and check the fire. I stand there for a few minutes just to soak up the beauty of this peaceful night. Then I head back to the tent, kiss my little guy goodnight, and I drift off to sleep as the bullfrogs and crickets serenade me to sleep………………..

10 Responses to "Beaver Creek Float Day 1"
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    Comments (10)

  1. Cathy Dalton wrote:

    I love the whole adventure! What wonderful memories you are making with your son!

    • Gaylene Madison wrote:

      I absolutely love what you wrote and I am so proud of you. Your son is one special little man to have a Daddy like you. You keep on doing what you are, cause one day, when he grows up, he will teach his child what you have taught him.Thank you for sharing it Dusty.

    • Sara Casey-Ridings wrote:

      If not already , you should definately be a writer, you made it so I could visualize it all, like I was right there. Great job! Unforgettable, priceless memories 🙂

  2. Gaylene Madison wrote:

    you are one amazing Daddy to teach your little boy all this and to spend true quality time with him. From generation to generation, your parents, to you,to your son, memories are and will be made. Way to go. This really made me smile. Thank you.

  3. Heather Houze wrote:

    This is awesome Dusty!! I am so proud of what an amazing man and father you have become!!

  4. Wow!!! Great job Dusty! Thank you f

  5. stan and Diana wrote:

    What a great time on the creek. This reminds me of years gone by with my dad and I. Memories for ever. Stan

  6. Dustin wrote:

    Thank you for the kind words everyone!!

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