Following St. Louis, I was happy to see the banks soften and the barges thin. There was still a reliable stream of traffic but nothing like the port. My stove fuel was low so I once again found a Walmart near or on a creek off the river and paddled upstream. Plattin Creek was a relaxing detour I felt was rarely seen by the residents of Crystal City despite living so close. The water worn rock formations along the creek were towering and impressive. Once resupplied and my water jugs full, I headed back to the Big Miss. A local was bow fishing from an abandoned mine bridge. He hollered down he was looking for Carp or Gar but I got the impression he'd try for anything that looked like a fish from up there.
The channel is deep here and powerful in flow. The wing dams can be easy riffles or precarious rock hazards as I found out today. On a few occasions I had to take the smoothest shoot down a 1 foot drop and had a dangerous careening smack from a boulder below the smooth rolling surface. Adrenaline was pumping as the bow surged down into the churning eddy but I dug my blade in hard and leaned back to lift the bow. THUNK, scrape and we're free and turning about in the hydraulics afterward. Do that a few times and the main channel sounds rather appealing when a tow isn't headed up or down. I've got to stay vigilant all the time and keep and eye out for those fast leviathans.
Thunderstorms have been a frequent occurrence in the afternoon. Yesterday I put up my tarp three times for a passing storm. The upside is collection of water for coffer and other boiled things. The storms sometimes cool things off but often are so quick it just becomes a hot and humid stckiness. A cold front is blowing in now and offering some lightning over the river to the west. This is the last night I'll camp in Illinois as I'm only 2 miles from the confluence with the Ohio River. I'm excited for the new adventure as the river broadens on the final 965 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. I'm finding that when the weather is favorable, 50-60 mile days are possible (like today). I'd have kept on but I've got a sweet care package from Mike and Holly waiting for me at a post office across the KY side. Hope it arrived as I'm flying now with this current. We'll see where it takes me in the next three weeks!