A Terrible Trip - On The Whitewater Creek


Peering over the front tip of a kayak, there is a river that flows to the horizon surrounded by bowing trees

Recently we got a call from Alex Holmes from the Missouri Department of Conservation and he asked a stupid question: “How would you like to go on a kayaking trip on the Upper White Water Creek?” As the editor of 573 Magazine, it is my duty to say “Yes!” to every request within reason. This request was right up our alley. Alex said the float was about 2.5 hours long with small rapids, but nothing too difficult even for a beginner.


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On the day of the float, we headed out to the Old Plantation Conservation Area just north of Jackson—our meeting point. We decided we would shoot both stills and video, so we arrived early to get some drone footage of the stream. Like most places in the 573, it was beautiful and wonderfully deserted.

2 kayakers drift peacefully down a calm stream on a bright sunny day

We shuttle our vehicles with help from Jaime Koehler, Nature Center assistant manager, and we drive to our upstream put-in. It was a beautiful float. The water was knee-deep and crystal clear. Fish were swimming everywhere. Large white sycamore trees bent over the water. We floated, hit a small rapid area, and then floated on. There was hardly any need for paddling.


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I could tell Alex really, really loved his job. Even when he’s not working, he can be found fishing on the stream. Did I tell you the fish were everywhere? Halfway through the trip, Alex grinned and said, “Isn’t this just terrible?” We got the joke right away.


Alex Holmes, a burly bearded man, relaxes in his kayak as he drifts down whitewater river

AJ Koehler, a woman with long braided hair paddles upstream along side a gravel bank on the whitewater river


He also told us about MDC’s new program to help novice kayakers to hit the rivers. It was designed in response to the coronavirus. Though the Conservation Center in Cape is temporarily closed, Missouri residents can still enjoy the solitude of a kayak on a beautiful, clear water stream. It was really a no brainer! The department recently bought ten kayaks to start things off, so kudos to our friends at MDC!

peering over the front tip of the kayak, a small stretch of rapids can be seen along with bowing trees and a bright blue sky

The luscious green banks along the river reflected so beautifully its a perfect mirrored image

Upper Little Whitewater Creek is a stream located just 8.2 miles from Jackson in Cape Girardeau County. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including bigmouth buffalo, bream/bluegill, largemouth bass, flathead catfish, gar, carp, sunfish, panfish, black bullhead, catfish, smallmouth bass, bullhead and rock bass. The water is clear, rock-lined, and full of life. There are several access points to the stream, though the easiest access point is the Old Plantation Access parking site. Signs are clearly posted from Hwy 72.


Fish of all sizes swim around below the surface of the river weaving in and out of aquatic plants