Despite the water level dropping a couple of feet 20 miles upstream at the USGS monitoring station in Baker (it had risen 5 feet just in that first night we were camping), the Blackwater River continued to rise downstream near the state park and was still a no-go on Saturday. Fortunately there is a tributary of Blackwater called Juniper Creek that was only about 3 feet above normal. Juniper would be more difficult to navigate at it's normal depth but apparently when Blackwater is too high Juniper is often just right. As Joia mentioned in her post, the river looks terrible but it is simply high in tannin. Most of the rivers around here would qualify as blackwater rivers but are perfectly fine for swimming and other recreation.
Josh and Devin trying to determine who was able to take the deepest breath and hold it without exhaling the longest.
Keenan giving a thumbs up for Mommy at one of our early stops
The kids wanted to stop at just about every sandbar, even if we had just left one 2 minutes earlier.
At this stop the kids decided to roll down the hill into the water. Just before we were ready to get paddling again we let the kids float down stream to the next sandbar you can see in the top left of the picture.
Josh clearly was having issues. At first he didn't know that you were supposed to ride the canoe and "go with the flow." Thus here he is trying to tow the canoe upstream.
After he was informed that you were supposed to ride the canoe he determined that this would be the best way to protect the canoe from all the stumps and logs in the water. Finally we explained that you are supposed to ride IN the canoe.
Devin had 75% of the kids at this point since they all wanted to take turns being in the tube towed behind the canoe.
It was fairly hard to get a picture with all three of the canoes at once because in the time it took to get my camera out of the dry box I would likely be headed for a tree or something else with the potential to cause the camera to try and take a swim so I would need to quickly put the camera away again and paddle to get properly oriented again.
Josh and Elijah
Eden loving the tube life
Keenan with his safari hat from Papa
Jade and Devin
Big helper Keenan launching Devin's canoe
This little island is about halfway and worked quite well for a lunch stop
The main channel ran to the right of the Island and was much deeper so the kids had a blast jumping off the island into the deeper part and then swimming back to the shallower section where they could touch on the left side of the island.