Seven Boats on the Buffalo

We thought that Monkey ought to be able to paddle her new boat the day after she bought it, and we thought that her dad might like to go with her. The Buffalo River wouldn’t challenge the girls much and it certainly wasn’t the ‘funnest’ place for a new playboat, but it was a place where Mitch and Jarion and Kathy could paddle comfortably. And who doesn’t love a trip to the Buffalo? No matter who you are or what you’re paddling, the Buffalo is beautiful.


We met at eight and loaded up Jarion’s trailer with all seven of the boats. We headed off, disorganized and inefficient as usual, with stops to buy groceries and gas and to pee and to run shuttle. We managed to get on the water at the crack of 2pm. Continue reading “Seven Boats on the Buffalo”

Winter on the Water

It’s been cold, but thanks to drysuits and neoprene and excellent long johns, we’ve been paddling anyway. Late in January, we were invited to join a small group to paddle on the quiet water of Bayou DeView, from Hickson Lake to Apple Lake. It was a gray day and my mood matched the weather, but it was still good to be outside. We ate lunch on Whiskey Island, and Debo ‘adopted’ a too-thin, sad little snake, packing it carefully in a dry box for the trip back to the truck. (Note: A month later, the little snake’s eating goldfish like they’re going out of style. He’s fat and healthy now and he’ll go back home to Whiskey Island sometime in the spring.)

Blog Swamp Painting

The more we thought about creek paddling, the more Bryan and I thought we should get Crash a helmet with more face protection. She’s never had the least little problem with wearing helmets, and agreed that she’d appreciate headgear that might help her keep all her teeth and jawbones in the same place. We asked around and did a little research, and just when we’d decided on a ShredReady, and Bryan found one on sale. The new helmet arrived on our doorstep right beside a nice big rainstorm that brought the creeks up. But Mandy’s grades weren’t great, and we wouldn’t let her skip school. She was stuck at home, wearing her new helmet in the kitchen, watching videos, while her friends paddled Richland Creek. Continue reading “Winter on the Water”

Inlaw Inspection 2010

Bryan’s mom is off work for Spring Break, and his dad took a week’s vacation to match. They came up to visit for part of the week, and asked for a good long weekend of camping near the Buffalo River.

On Saturday, on the way to Jasper, we showed them some of our favorite near-the-road waterfalls. At Falling Water Falls we got an extra treat — kayakers dropping off the falls into the water below.

Kayakers going off Falling Water Fall

Due to recent local rain, the water was up in Falling Water Creek. Six Finger Falls was flowing hard. We’ve spent lots of time in the creek here, playing in the clear water and sitting in the little hot-tub pockets that form at the edges of the six fingers, and downstream from here. Not today, though; the water’s rushing so hard I’m not sure we could even have waded across, much less relaxed in a quiet pool.

We tried to camp at Kyle’s Landing but the sign said it was full so we headed down the road to Steel Creek and set up camp for the night.

HDR photo of Six Finger Falls

On Sunday we rented canoes from Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca, AR and floated the Buffalo, from Steel Creek to Kyle’s Landing. Bryan and I are in a canoe together exactly often enough to be bad at it, so we always take a few minutes to remember how to pilot the thing. This time, though, we didn’t get that chance. Within ten feet of starting our trip, we went off some sort of stupid ledge and tipped our canoe RIGHT IN FRONT OF about ten other people who hadn’t pushed into the water yet. It was completely ridiculous. We were soaked all day, and I never warmed up.

Apart from that, the day was great. As a surprise for Mandy, Bryan rented her a kayak, and she adores having her own kayak. She happily paddled along with us most of the time, and traded spots with me only when her arms tired out. Bryan’s parents declined the trip up Big Bluff but did take the short hike to see Hemmed-In-Hollow waterfall (his dad is staring up at the 200+ foot waterfall in the photo below). We ate supper at the Ozark Cafe for the second night in a row, and Mandy and I headed back to Little Rock.

Bryan stayed another night at Steel Creek with his parents, and on Monday they went to see the Pedestal Rocks. His dad can’t hike a lot because of issues with his feet, so this trail was my pick for them — short and easy, with a great payoff.

I love the Pedestal Rocks. They don’t look like something that should be in Arkansas; they belong out west, or in Mexico, or as part of some alien landscape. And underneath, they’re like caves that aren’t.

HDR image of the underside of a pedestal