Tag Archives: black river

Float #136: Black River

2 May

Lesterville Conservation Access
to Hwy. K Bridge

F136_Black

Black River
Reynolds County, Missouri
Saturday, April 23
13 Miles

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!

Black River

Marge the Barge sets off

Black River

Black River

Black River

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!

Black River

Black River

Black River

Black River

Black River

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.

Black RiverBlack River

Black River

Black River

Hwy. K bridge

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

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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.