Floating the Current River

What else is there to do when the temperature hits 95 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 110-115 degrees?!

The answer: Float on a tube through the Ozarks of Missouri on the Current River, of course!

Several of my Southern Illinois friends and I had been talking about wanting to go on a float trip because we had done one a couple of years ago and it was amazing! We discussed it for months but it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen this summer, until suddenly, poof, it came together!

Because we had only started planning a couple of weeks ago, we were left with the busiest weekend of the season–quite a popular activity during the hottest months of summer. After spending hours looking for a place to stay, we managed to find Current River Retreats (we’re way too old to attempt sleeping in a tent after floating for hours and the temperatures would have made things more miserable). The cabins accommodate six people and offer air conditioning, comfy beds, and a shower which are INCREDIBLE after a long day on the water. Believe me. If you’re traveling to Van Buren for any reason, I highly recommend staying here.

Float Trip 2019

The trip started on Friday after everybody got out of work. I helped with surgery in the morning but managed to escape early to pack. We left Carbondale and made our way towards Van Buren, Missouri, stopping in Poplar Bluff for dinner at Scotty’s Brewhouse. With our bellies full, we finally made it to our final destination.

After settling in, we found a couple of common areas with fire pits and chairs. We sat outside playing games for a few hours and then headed to bed to get ready for Saturday. We would wake up the next morning, eat breakfast, and get on the river as soon as we figured out logistics.

Prepping for the float

Since this was only our second float trip, we made a mistake and didn’t book a shuttle to pick us up from the house to avoid having to drive after drinking on the river. The Landing is the most well-known tube rental company and was just too busy to add us on. Tip** if you want to float with this company book a pick up the day before. After driving around for a little while trying to come up with a plan b (walking vs. dropping the coolers off vs. driving), Lauren and I decided to see if Big Spring RV Camp, a smaller rental company, which was further away, could pick us up. Fortunately, Big Springs was less busy and offered to pick us up right outside our cabin! They even had upgraded tubes with backrests and cupholders!

We ran back to pack the coolers and get everything ready for an 1100 pick up time. The bus picked us up and drove us several miles upriver on the curviest roads. Hello, motion sickness! We finally made it to the drop site, unloaded all of our things, and elbowed our way to the riverbank. The cold river water felt incredible after sitting on the hot bus.

Finally hitting the water

Because the river was flooded after all the rain, the water was flowing really quickly. The trip, which was supposed to take six hours, only took about five with a couple stops. Despite this, we had a fantastic day floating, laughing, making new friends, snacking (and low carb lunch because we forgot the tortillas for our wraps! haha), and soaking up the sun. We had a few close calls with trees and sticks that were sticking out of the water but managed to get everybody safely to the end. Dave and another one of the floaters, Logan, even managed to save a woman who got separated from her group and almost floated by the spot where we were supposed to get out.

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Wrap-less wraps for lunch!
Our new friend, George!

Big Springs shuttled us back right back to our cabin at the end. We all showered and then headed directly across the road to Jim’s Pitt Stop, a bar, for food and entertainment. Breanne even convinced us to try out the mechanical bull. Holy embarrassing! But here you go…

Afterward, we went back to the cabin to play more games and relax. It was at this point that I realized the 4-5 layers of sunscreen that I had put on were not enough. Or that maybe I was just horrible at putting it on. Ouch!

The next morning, we packed up and headed home after another AWESOME weekend!

All photo credit goes to Lauren Siegert with her waterproof phone! 🙂