First Time on the Black River

Background:

We won a guided trip on the Black River in the River Alliance Auction. Ken Schreiber worked for the DNR for many years and knows the Black River well and suggested that the Hall’s Creek to Black River Falls segment would be suited to our timeline and abilities. This is Black River 3 in Paddling Southern Wisconsin. Black River Falls is about a 2-hour drive from Madison.  We saw some nice fall colors on the drive.

Flow:

Black River Falls gauge #053813595 800 cfs (median for this date approx 475 cfs)

The Put-in:

We met Ken at the McDonalds in Black River Falls and then followed him to the gravel put-in at the mouth of Hall’s Creek. There is a parking lot here but no restrooms. After the 20-30 minute shuttle we set out on a beautiful day with temps in the upper 50’s and light wind.

The Paddle:

The water level was higher than usual so most of the rocks in this section were under water. According to Ken, the current was slower than usual, so we actually had to paddle rather than just float and steer.  The banks are heavily wooded tall rock bluffs, with no buildings visible for the first half of the trip.  We stopped at the entrance of a small stream about halfway through the paddle for a break and a snack. Ken brought out homemade oatmeal cookies and his homegrown watermelon for us. We want the recipe for the cookies.

After the break we went under a tall railroad bridge with a rope swing handing from the girder. Beyond the bridge, we started to see houses on the bluffs. There is an unimproved public landing downstream left marked by a sign about a mile from Black River Falls. It was so unimproved that it looked like it would be rather difficult to put in or take out there.

The last half of the paddle was in the dam flowage with essentially no current. We took out just after 5 pm at the very nice ramp just before the dam.  This 6.2 mile paddle took us about 2 3/4 hrs.

After the paddle, we checked out landings in Melrose and North Bend.

Wildlife:

Eagle in flight at the start, 2 eagles in trees just after the tall railroad bridge.

Pictures: