Floating the Black River

Many of you have read my post about my First Scary Float Trip https://howtodotheozarks.com/2018/03/03/first-scary-float-trip/. Over the past weekend, I went floating with my two youngest children, Cole (25) and Darby (21), in a 4-man raft on the Black River. Had I floated this way on that first float trip, I would have fallen even more deeply in love with floating than I already am.

Floating, especially on the weekend, is not for everyone. There are a lot of people partying on the river on the weekends, celebrating time off from work, turning up the radio and generally having a good time. Depending on your WHY for floating, you may want to choose a weekday for your next float or maybe even your very first river adventure. I try to cover all genres of people in this blog, but I’m mainly targeting the intrepid woman looking for new adventures to have with the family. Depending on your tolerance for revelry and colorful language, floating on the weekend on ANY Ozarks river may not be for you.

Parks Bluff Campground had many choices for floating the Black River

Shenanigans aside, it was a great float and just under 5 hours from Parks Bluff Campground, https://www.parksbluff.com/ to their takeout spot. Parks Bluff is located just inside the Lesterville city limits in Reynolds county. The staff at Parks Bluff made the rental super easy as we were also camping there (more on that in a later post or possibly a podcast!!!), were super friendly and helpful when down at the river getting everyone loaded onto their craft. When thinking about floating, especially your first time, plan to be there early. Most outfits have a time that they do NOT rent past due to the time the float takes. I know of one friend who was stranded on the river at night due to the fact that the outfit transported them to the long float when they should have stopped at the short float. Being stranded on a river at night with no supplies is NOT fun so plan carefully and plan to get out on the Black River before 11 a.m.

Kayaks are maneuverable and easy to handle on most Ozark rivers

Clear water, ample fishing opportunities (you cannot fish from most rafts), reasonable fees for the raft rental, all made for a very pleasurable trip. Once we had paddled past the partiers, the river became quiet and filled with moments of deep reflection and camaraderie between the three of us. Two-foot fish swam lazily beneath us, just begging for a jig to lure them in. The banks were crowded with trees all the way up to the river but there were only a few snags actually in the water to impede our progress. Shallow water was our biggest hold up as we are currently experiencing a drought in SW Missouri and other parts of the Ozarks. We did have to jump out and slide the raft over a few spots.

My children did most of the work this trip, and I was able to sit in the middle of the raft and enjoy the sun and just relax. I do not drink alcohol on the river as when out on the water you never know what will happen around the next bend, so my adrenaline generally burns through anything I drink and want my wits about me. This is a personal preference, my children can and did drink margaritas and beer while floating. You can rent cooler tubes to pull behind your craft to keep your beverages ice cold.

This float was just what I needed and I am looking forward to bringing you the next float adventure with JRO in September. I’m even contemplating a winter float with Cole, just to say I did it! Get out and do something you’ve never done before, you won’t regret it!

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