Float #11: Black River

3 Aug

Hwy. K to Hwy. CC

black river map

Black River
Reynolds County, Missouri
Sunday, July 3
7 Miles

We spent the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Cape Girardeau celebrating the birthdays of our friends Jess & Jake. Jake and his girlfriend Sara drove up from Nashville and wanted to do a float while they were here. We thought about the St. Francis river, which is warm and slow for the most part. The Black river is only a half hour west with much nicer water, so we opted for that.

black river hwy k bridge

Hwy K bridge

We put in at the Hwy. K bridge around 2pm. The bridge is a very popular spot for people to hang out on the gravel bar and being a holiday weekend it was pretty crowded. However, since we put in later in the day there weren’t many people on the water, just a lot of people partying on the banks. It was very hot and sunny the first part of the trip so we took many swim breaks. There were lots of nice swimming holes on this section.

black river

Large gravel bars

black river kayak canoe

The boats take a break

The Black river has substantial and plentiful gravel bars along the whole length. None of them in the shade though! A couple hours after we put on the sky started to cloud over and thunderheads formed in the distance. But that means it cooled down a bit too. We brought the old red kayak along and Jess, Jake & Sara took turns paddling it.

black river canoe

Jake & Sara

black river
The best part of the trip was when Sara was paddling the kayak. She had never been in one before, so Jake was giving her all these tips on what to do. We came up to a section with a lot of logs in the water and some technical turns. Jake was so busy telling Sara what to do that he ran the canoe into a log sideways and flipped it over. We all had a good laugh at his expense, Sara especially.

black river

black river

The river starts to back up

This section of river runs into Clearwater lake. When the resevoir is full the water can back up all nearly all the way to Hwy. K. This float only the last two miles were still water. You could definitely tell the difference in water clarity and landscape right away. As we paddled out the last couple miles the sky began to darken and rain was approaching. We got off the river behind another group of paddlers right before the sky opened up. Lucky for us these paddlers were really cool and offered to haul the canoe back to Hwy. K as they had an extra spot on their boat trailer and were headed back there anyway. It couldn’t have worked out better and Jake & Sara didn’t have to wait in the rain. After dropping off at the put-in DW and I headed back home through lots of heavy rain; glad we had Monday off to hang at home.

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