Lesterville Conservation Access
to Hwy. K Bridge
Reynolds County, Missouri
Saturday, April 23
The Black River has been on my list to revisit for a couple years now. We don’t go there very often, as it is usually very crowded in the summer and there are so many other, more exciting options to float in the spring. However, this year my sister’s family bought a canoe and we’ve been doing some easy float trips to get them and their two young children out on the water and familiar with paddling. This stretch of the Black River is an excellent choice for inexperienced paddlers and children. There are no obstacles, the river is fairly wide for an Ozark stream and there is not a lot of gradient.
We met up with my sister Emily, her husband Henry and their two kids Celia and Silas at Lesterville Access. The access used to be right on the water, but the river has since changed course. It is now about a 1/3 mile walk to get to the water. Just head upstream in the dry channel and you will eventually get to the river. While DW and Henry drove the shuttle down to Hwy. K Recreation Area, Emily and I searched for the closest route to the water and carried some things down to the bank. After DW and Henry returned we carried the boats to the river. Emily and Henry have a 19′ aluminum canoe they named “Marge the Barge”. She is a heavy lass to portage, but has plenty of room for the whole family, their gear, and a dog!
I think this is the perfect time of year to float the Black River. The scenery was not dramatic, but still pretty. We didn’t see anyone else on the water, even though it was a Saturday. The river was so clear, and very cold! I took a dip a few times and it felt nearly as frigid as the Eleven Point. Celia couldn’t get enough of being in the water every time we stopped. Near the end of our break we had to drag her out because she was turning blue!
We saw plenty of turtles and herons on this trip. We also saw a juvenile Bald Eagle and one adult. There wasn’t a lot of trash to pick up, but DW and I snagged some excellent bonus prizes. I found a nice little soft-side cooler that had a bottle opener, camping knife, 4 sparkling waters and one Schlafly IPA! Free craft beer on the river is a rare occurrence and I felt truly blessed by the river gods. I drank my find with my lunch and it was delicious. DW found a situpon cushion, which was great, because he forgot to bring the one he usually uses for a backrest in his kayak.
Emily and Henry did well on their first trip in the new canoe. The kids had a great time paddling too. They each have their own kid-size paddles and they get to propel the boat in the flat water. When approaching a turn or ripple they pull their paddles into the boat and yell “Marge the Barge, Charge!” It’s so cute and they have a blast. Marge the Barge is pretty fast once she gets going.
We arrived at Hwy. K in the late afternoon and loaded everything into Henry’s truck to shuttle back up to the put-in. This was a super easy float; I didn’t have to really paddle much except to steer around the turns. We all had a great day on the water. The next day DW and I did a leisurely float on the Courtois. We’ve done that float a thousand times, so I won’t be blogging it again, but it was nice to relax with friends and to float two different streams over the weekend.
Critter Count: Turtles, Herons, Hawks, 1 Juvenile Bald Eagle, 1 Adult Bald Eagle
Bonus Prizes: 1 situpon cusion, 1 lunch box, 1 bottle opener, 1 camp knife, 4 sparkling waters, 1 craft beer