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Posted in: by Radar on June 20, 2000

Black River Scene Welcome to the Black River Gang website. This is a journal of camping trips with pictures and recipes resulting from over a decade of camping trips to the West Fork area of Black River in the Ozarks by a core group of four good friends from the Missouri Bootheel.


If you like your visit, enjoy reading our fables or possibly even had a laugh or two, we welcome you to leave us comments about this site on the bottom of this page.
We only have two simple rules for comments:
1. They must be clean and fit for public consumption.
2. No advertisements or commercials.
Break either of these rules and no one will ever see your comment.

A little background information will make your visit more enjoyable:

In this area the “river” is more of a large stream with average depth of two or three feet and a few holes or pools ten to twelve feet deep.  The flow averages fifty feet or so in width.  The river bed varies from that to a couple hundred feet wide with gravel beds. Check out our photo gallery for a better idea of the area.

Nearly everyone acquires a nick name when interacting with this group. Some of us have several. For example; Chunkie, Dumplin’, Junior, or Wishbone are all the same guy (Charlie). Rooster (Bill) is also called the Mayor because he was first to camp in this area with his family in the seventies. Whichever campsite we are using is called “Billville” in his honor and he was elected honorary mayor for life. Radar (Denny)  and Munchkin (Jim) are the other two core members of the group. Bumble Bee  (Lee) is Rooster’s son and has camped in this area since early childhood.

TuckerDukeMiranda (sonar), Tucker and Duke are canine members of the clan.  Unfortunately, Miranda and Duke are no longer with us. Many other two and four legged visitors have joined us over the years.  Details are in the trip journals.  The text of the first dozen or so trips are from pictures and memory or are missing since we didn’t start  our journal until later.  The blank pages in our trip log are testimony to the reasoning behind keeping a journal to capture memorable moments before they fade.

Camp Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie are riverbank campsites scattered along a mile or so of the river in the Mark Twain National Forest.   There is a cave just downstream which is home to hundreds of Indiana Brown Bats. These bats come out at dusk and spend the nights devouring mosquitoes and other insects. That and the cool air settling from the forested hills make the area ideal for enjoyable camping.   Enjoy reviewing our antics by clicking on the trip index, recipe, and photo tabs above. If you enjoy your visit, bookmark us and subscribe for email updates.

Thanks…..  The Black River Gang

Left to Right in top Photo:






  1. It looks like your kayaks are inflatable. What is the brand name? How do you get all your gear downstream with those small boats? Do you use a larger ‘Mother Ship’ for the chairs and cook pots and all?

    What is your entry point?

    What is your exit point?

    How many miles/days do you cover?

    Thanks, Davy at 20100318.

    Comment by Davy — March 18, 2010 @ 10:07 AM

  2. We all have Coleman inflatables. On our part of Blackriver we only cover about 5 miles total 2 1/2 upstream and 2 1/2 down from where we setup camp. We usually take a truck up or down in morning then take about 3 / 4 hours for the trip. We then load up the deflated kayaks and drive back to camp. We take our time and enjoy fishing, swimming, sightseeing and refreshments.
    As far as carrying our gear; refreshments is the only gear we carry. We travel lite and have a lot of fun for 4 guys that are now 60+ years young! We still make 2 or three trips a year lasting for 3 to 4 days.
    Appreciate your comment, Radar

    Comment by admin — March 19, 2010 @ 8:27 AM

  3. We ran into you guys back in 2010 at cook springs and every once in awhile i check your sight, i havnt seen anything on here from 2011, have you guys been back?


    Comment by Jon — January 26, 2012 @ 8:40 AM

  4. The gang hasn’t been able to put together a trip since Sep 2010. My wife and I go for a week each summer with our children and grandchildren.

    We hope the gang will be able to resume trips soon, but health issues, family responsibilities, and other problems have kept us from going as a group lately.

    Thanks for checking in with us, Jon………

    Comment by Rooster — March 15, 2012 @ 10:28 AM

  5. Hoping to see some comments/photos from the recent family reunion held in June this year and sponsored annually by Rooster, one or our infamous gang members. I had a special invite to enjoy these annual festivities but just couldn’t get the time allotment this year. I’ve heard it went well and was enjoyed by all.

    Comment by Radar — August 23, 2012 @ 6:08 AM

  6. I feel another trip to Camp Bravo coming on. It’s May 2015 and the gang just don’t gangup like they used to. Hoping that we can put a trip together soon.

    Comment by Radar — May 31, 2015 @ 1:13 AM

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