Sorry to confuse anyone with a quick change of gears, but I’m gonna take a break from posting about our Raleigh trip for a moment because I just got back from my first visit to Moonshine Beach, and I want to talk about it!
Moonshine Beach is a public beach situated just over the dam on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, USA. I’ve wanted to visit Moonshine beach for FOREVER. Mostly because in the landlocked state of Missouri, sandy enjoyable beaches are few and far between, but also because it’s one of the only free/cheap things to do in touristy Branson.
(Admission is $5 per car, or free if you have a US National Parks pass)
The forecast predicted a 30% chance of rain for half of the time we were supposed to be there, but we determined that it was worth a shot, and that even if it did rain, we would be fine. And so we packed our cooler and umbrella, I dumped a gallon of sunscreen on my ghostly skin, and we drove to the beach.
Despite being uber-crowded, parking and finding a place to set up went off without a hitch, and we hit the water like a boxer hits a punching bag. the water itself was surprisingly clear, and you could see little fish swimming around on the bottom. I was glad that I’d read online to bring swimming shoes, because the sand barely extended off the shoreline before turning into a rocky lake bottom. The lake temperature here in Missouri finally becomes bearable in June and July, so it’s like floating around in a giant swimming pool. All was well and I am in heaven.
Surrounding the swimming area is a buoyant yellow barrier, and my mom and sister were in the process of swimming out to it when I decided join them. The swim to the barrier is a few hundred yards over deep water, but as an average person, I thought I could make it there by doggy paddling.
To make a long story short, I got tired and, worried I might drown, begged my mom and sister to stop paddling for a minute so I could exhaustedly throw myself aboard their raft.
You may have thought that was a dramatic but boring and pointless story, but it’s important to know how far from the shore we were for what is about to happen next.
As we were enjoying the lake, some gray clouds have started to roll in, but we didn’t care whether it rained or not, and when it started to rain, we still didn’t care. It was actually very pretty just floating out there in the middle of the lake, while the falling rain splashed on the lake’s surface, making it look like a bunch of little shark fins.
A few minutes later, the rain stopped, and I patted myself on the back for being so resilient. As my sister and I splashed around and argued over who was taking up more space on the float, we failed to notice and even grayer, more formidable storm rolling in from the Ozark Mountains. We did notice when we were all the sudden being pelted by fat, heavy raindrops and thrown around by big waves, and we decided to make a break for it.
As we paddled tragically and slowly all the way across the lake, the raindrops became even more ferocious, and it looked like we were swimming through a carbonated soda. Eventually, sunscreen ran into my eyes and my sunglasses fogged up, so I kicked my weak little legs, blindly, in the direction that I hoped was landward.
Just as soon as it began, that storm was over too, and my little sister and I had miraculously made our way to where the rocky lake bottom turned to sand. My family celebrated another storm-surviving victory.
After the second storm, an astounding number of people had left the beach, so we splooshed and splashed and floated and relaxed in peace.
Until lightning crackled right where everyone could see.
That time, we got out of the water and packed our things into the car, just in time for another downpour.
The three rain storms nonwithstanding, I really enjoyed the Moonshine Beach experience. The beach and water were clean, and only two or three kids were throwing rocks.
Plus I got to reenact my own version of Life of Pi, so what’s not to enjoy???
Okay, what I thought was going to be a general overview of Moonshine Beach became an epic poem about rain and frantic swimming, but nonetheless, it’s authentic, fresh-from-the-farm content.
I hope you enjoyed, and if you didn’t, that’s okay too.
Next up I’ll be finishing the Raleigh, NC posts, so keep a look out for that!
Love you. Miss you. ~WTB