We are a family that loves exploring. We explore by land and water. One of our favorite family past times is floating in the summer. Floating usually involves a canoe or a kayak and a river. It also usually involves some friends, some drinks, and maybe even some snacks. It almost always involves a fishing net and water guns.
We have gone canoeing with our camping buddies for the past several years. Each year in the dead of winter we start making a list of our summer plans. Perhaps this is one way we tolerate the winter!
We have floated on the North Fork in 2013, the Niangua in 2014 in 2014, and this year we decided to float the Black River since we were already in the Southeast corner of the state. This year, not only did our camping buddies go with us, but so did her mom and her husband, as well as a work friend of mine and her family. There were five canoes, 2 inflatable rafts, and 14 people in our floating group this year.
You can access the Black River in Lesterville, Missouri. We utilized Twin River Landing at the recommendation of a friend who is from Lesterville. They were a great operation and we enjoyed their services.
We have been told that the Black River is known for their crystal clear water and I could not disagree with this statement. It is a spring fed river but it is far from the original source because the water is not freezing. It is cool and refreshing. We could see through to the bottom of the river at all times, no matter how deep the water was. We spied fish, crawdads, tadpoles, soft shell turtles, and a few other river creatures. Thankfully we did not spy a single snake!
There are pools of really deep water and areas of very shallow water. We hit a few rough areas on the float. While we might have come close, no one tipped their canoe over. This is the first year The Boy navigated a canoe with a partner. He prefers kayaks. The Boy and his canoe partner found a rope swing and decided to be adventurous. Their spirit was contagious. All the kids gave it a whirl. Thankfully no one got hurt!
Unfortunately, not all moments can be caught on camera. Canoeing can test your patience, your skill, and mostly your communication skills. I am sorry to say that I totally missed the throwing of a paddle and I also missed the running of a canoe up a downed tree in the river.
With so much water around and a few boats full of children, you are bound to experience a few water fights. The kids know to expect them and they come prepared for battle. Or fun. Or maybe it is battle. But they sure do look like they were having fun.
I am not sure if it is the timing of current events or if it is always like this, but I honestly saw more confederate flags on this float trip than any other I have been on. I will spend very little time pondering that here in this post but it was significant enough to mention. I will let those of you planning a trip to the Black River//Reynolds County/Southeastern Missouri ponder what that means for you.
In the end, we swam a little, we drank a little, we maybe even had a few couple's spats, but we laughed a lot. Once again creating memories with our families that will last long beyond the hours we spent on the river.