Chouteau Island

The Mississippi River provides so much recreational diversity throughout its over 2,300 miles,  across ten U.S. States. In Missouri, the river bottom is a place that makes all of the life around it possible. It also carries the weight of death, in the form of floods and drought.

During the Spring and Summer months, the river is a vibrant place full of boats zipping along, fishermen swinging their rods to cast a line, the ever-present drone of insects, and green vegetation grown up in abundance and covering nearly every available stretch of bare land. Though it thrums with life, it is equally inhospitable for exploration.

In the Fall and Winter (pictured here) the river bottom, and in particular Chouteau Island (a man-made complex of three islands covering over 5,000 acres within the Mississippi River), takes on a magical vibe. The green grasses and vines that once covered all transition into brown veils cast across the landscape in a ghostly blanket. The impossible to traverse muddy banks and sloughs dry out into crumbly, open terrain, their surface cracked in a reticulated pattern.

For these reasons and more, this time of year really rewards a trip outside into nature. Chouteau Island has fast become one of my favorite natural areas close to the city (literally across the River from North St. Louis).

No matter when you decide to visit, however, you are sure to find something to stoke your sense of adventure!