-- Last Updated: Mar-09-12 7:34 PM EST --
(1) Contact Missouri Dept of Conservation in Jefferson City, Missouri, and buy a copy of the book, A Paddler's Guide to Missouri.
Might be able to order the book at your local bookstore.
Price of book is negligible compared to benefit of having a copy available. Probably about 5 bucks.
(2)Definitely go on weekdays; no matter what section of the river you choose; especially from May through August.
(3)By the end of April, the "river dork"(drunks in rental canoes) migration to the Current river will most definitely affect the peace & quiet on the river.
Also, the "jon boat jockies"(drunks in jon boats driving fast from point A to point B, from point B to point A & repeating same incessantly) will become more prevalent.
I have noticed recently, the tendency for the "jon boat jockies" to congregate on the best gravel bars(where you'd like to camp)until near dark on summer weekends. As darkness approaches; the "jockies" & their bow babes haul ass back to their put in, load up the jon boat & head for home. They often leave the gravel bar trashed with beer cans, chip bags, leftover food, wine cooler bottles, toilet paper piles, and smouldering fire pits.
A friend & I recently counted 78 beer cans, discarded in plain sight on one such gravel bar. There wasn't enough rooom in the 7 jon boats that pulled out to carry out the trash I guess? They are another good reason to stay off the river on weekends.
For the amount of time you want to travel; I would suggest a trip from Cedar Grove to Owl's Bend. This will give you a good sampling of the river, and some nice scenic locations.(See suggested book for more info.)
That is basically a 50 mile trip; easily doable in 4 days, with plenty of time for rest breaks, and a little "wander around", and check out the sights time. The majority of the river is class 1; the biggest hazard will be strainers.
Do not count on the availability of a cell phone signal while on the river. In most locations it ain't gonna happen! My experience has been that you will rarely, if ever, see a park ranger, or conservation agent on your trip. Be prepared to be self sufficient(and all that goes with that), if you need help. Having a first aid kit with you is smart. Common sense will go a long way in assuring a safe & enjoyable river trip.
Do NOT take any bottles out on the Current River. The reasons are blatently obvious, and you can get fined for carrying them, if one of the rangers blunders onto you, while you're actually using the bottles.
Secure your food from raccoons. There are a lot of regulars out there who make the rounds of gravel bars nearly every night. They have learned to check out the popular gravel bars where "river dorks", and "jon boat jockies" congregate & use as trash dumps.
The animal that you punch from inside your tent, when it runs into your tent in the dark may be a skunk, amaradillo, raccoon, or possum. It might even be a black bear?
If it's a skunk; hopefully it not spray your tent....... I was lucky; it was a "big" skunk & it didn't retaliate!
The Current IS a beautiful, although "overloved" river, and there are some GREAT locals who live in that area. I hope those people are the ones you meet on your trip.
I don't use outfitters to run shuttles for me on the Current river. It is cheaper, and more convenient for my wife & I to take 2 vehicles & run our own shuttles for our 2 solo canoes.
There are more than a few outfitters available near the Current river. I would guesstimate the type of shuttle you will need will cost in the neighborhood of 75 at minimum. Ask the outfitter to move your vehicle to your take out "on the day you plan to take off the river". Unattended vehicles, left sitting for several days at take outs, make "attractive targets".
I base my suggestions on over 50 years of paddling on the Current river; a year & a half of which was spent camped on it's river banks.
BUT, as Chas so poignantly stated, "I ain't no role model"!
For a slightly more rustic, and adventuresome trip; you will find the Eleven Point to be less populated. It also has some very inviting scenery, and points of interest. Cane Bluff access to the Hwy. 142 access is approx. 35 miles. Seldom ever low enough to be a big hassle, or require more than decent river reading skills. Never over low class 2, and seldom that, except in flood. A "great" alternative; one of what I consider to be the crown jewels of the Ozarks.........the Buffalo river in Arkansas.
P.S. Missouri is once again at the top, or near the top of the list for meth production in the United States. Get too far off the beaten path, and there is no telling who, or what you might "stumble upon".
All the guys driving around on the riverbank back roads in pickups, or on 4 wheelers at night are not out there observing noctural wildlife. Some of them ain't even poaching deer.