River Beach Outfitters (RBO), open for business recently, certainly hopes so, and will gladly accommodate you. The definition here of paddling being “the act of moving a boat by means of a paddle.”
Owners Eric and Lea Ann Nolen offer kayak rentals on the Locust Fork River, with the put-in on county road 14 in Snead. “Many people think of kayaking as the dangerous whitewater kind, similar to the races at King’s Bend and Mulberry Fork,” says Lea Ann. “This part of the river is a wonderful, slow, easy float. There may be some rapids and shoals, but usually people are surprised at how easy it is to learn to navigate their boat.”
The Nolens, along with daughter Lyndsey and son Tanner, have been paddling for years. “We float the river almost every weekend during the summer until the water gets too low,” says Eric. “It is the best way for a family and kids to spend a day together – outdoors. Not inside playing a video game.”
When they purchased property upstream, it was a perfect put-in spot and the business idea was a nobrainer. “Our hope is that people who have not experienced the beauty of the Locust Fork River will see what we see,” Lea Ann continues. “And a bit of exercise doesn’t hurt, either.” Once cleared, a spot of land revealed a wide, sandy area, hence the company name.
The time it takes to float will vary due to water level and individual floaters. “A trip might take some people two hours, but another person or group four hours. There are plenty of places to stop and picnic, swim, and fish.” says Eric. “Usually by now, we have been kayaking for three months or more,” notes Lea Ann. “The rainy spring weather kept us from getting an early start.”
Kayak rentals are available until river levels dictate otherwise. The per person fee includes kayak, paddle, life jacket, put-in and pick-up. Camping is available Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. To make reservations or ask about group and special rates, phone 429-5455.
So, c’mon, take your paddling.