This hasn’t been my most adventuresome
summer. A full load of summer courses along with full time summer employment
hasn’t allowed me much free time. Although, I must admit, my summer job
has been great, it’s kept me in the field and involved with a variety of research projects that have kept the cabin
fever at bay.
Provided with just a short window
between the summer and fall semesters I immediately took advantage and hit the river.
The focus of this paddling trip was just to get out and enjoy a few of the hot days of summer on the water but, I also
happened to be aware of the possibility of encountering an animal I’ve dreamt of seeing in the wild since childhood.
I had always thought I would have to travel
to north Florida to see Macrochelys in water clear enough to allow observation
with a mask and snorkel but, as it turns out, this trip will not be necessary as I’ve had the fantastic fortune to do
it right here in Missouri.
My time with this turtle was cut very short
by an intense thunderstorm that seemingly appeared out of nowhere but, before I watched this unbelievable animal swim back
into his lair, I managed to grab a few photos.
If I’m only to get one river trip in this summer, its OK, because I don’t
think I could top this one anyhow; a week later, I’m still high as a kite over this encounter.
Other turtle species observed include: Graptemys geographica, Apalone spinifer,
and Trachemys scripta
Crayfish species observed include:Cambarus hubbsi, Orconectes luteus, O. ozarkae, and O. punctimanus