Next Meeting: January 15, 2014
Program: Biking the Berlin Wall Trail in Germany and
Hiking in the Sachsische Schweiz National Park
By Chris and Margit Krato
The Vulcan Trail Association
A Buffalo Float
The Buffalo River in Arkansas has a variety of trips to offer. A group of us decided to do a leisurely paddle on the Lower portion from Dillard’s Ferry to the White River the first week in June of 2005. Our goals were easy paddling, lot’s of fun, good food, and time with friends. We achieved it all.
James, Anne, Paul, Earl, Ann, and Patrick, Teague, Allen, Tom, Vivian, Murray, and Kelly gathered on Saturday to spend the night in the Buffalo Point campground. We had 2 spots reserved (max reservations allowed) but the tents weren’t too crowded. Anne and James had spotted a Wonderful Cajun restaurant in Bald Knob and brought crawfish to pass around. We also had Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale Floats to get us in the mood for the trip.
Sunday we dropped our gear at Dillard’s Ferry Hiway 14 Bridge and found our canoes ready for packing. Drivers delivered cars to Dillard’s Outfitters, hitched a ride back, and we were ready to roll.
We paddled about 6.5 miles and camped below the cliffs at Bice Bend. Cocktails and light hors d'oeuvre were served.
Each morning we got up and planned our day. Which was easy. 1. take our time getting on the water. 2. Float a couple of hours (with many dips to cool off). 3. Eat/drink lunch. 3. Float a couple of hours (with many dips to cool off). 4. Set up camp. 5. Float, play, eat, drink, take it easy. Our scout was Murray, in his kayak. He found good spots to lunch and camp. We were lucky to have sand every night upon which to lay our heads.
Monday we lunched after 3 or 4 miles of paddling to Rush and then went another 4 miles to our camp site which was in actuality just over the hill (But a HIGH hill, actually, a small mountain) from the previous night’s stay. A portage had been considered that morning, but we all agreed that we came to paddle and mountain climbing had not been on the agenda.
Tuesday we went about 6 miles to the big bend. This was our 2 night spot. Although we had brought topos of this area for a day hike to find the Cold Springs School House, the cool water beckoned and no one made it. Especially after Murray got a work gang going and build a levee so we could sit in the water without washing downstream.
Thursday was a longer day – 11 or so miles to Hudson Bend. We made good progress and wanted to have it easy crossing the White river the next day. The White can be treacherous and we were concerned about having to cross it and go upstream a bit. The crossing wasn’t too bad, although everyone, even the kayaks had to get out and walk the last bit - Strong current and shallow water.
Food was, of course, wonderful and even though Wednesday was the only group cook night (spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, appetizers, and cobbler), everyone one got tastes of most of the rest of the fun foods. The Tom, et al win the prize for cooking and made excellent use of his new Dutch oven with a variety of Cobblers, stuffed roasted Cornish Hens, gourmet pizzas, and umm, I can’t even remember it all. There was smoked salmon on toast. Mac & cheese w/peas, stuffed grape leaves, salad, quesadillas, and good solid breakfasts. As usual, no one went hungry and I think everyone took home a bit that never made it to the menu. The beer was tight, but held out. Bailey’s, Martini’s, Gentleman Jack and a few other concoctions rounded out the bar menu.
Everyone but Allen headed toward a B&B in Mountain View for Friday and Saturday night. Cool beds and hot showers were WONDERFUL. Mountain View is the home of the Ozark Folk Center and a very interesting little town. We were right on the square and walked over to hear the musicians each night. They set up wherever they can find a place and play blue grass and religious folk music until late in the night.
Saturday was spent in various ways: A trip to the dulcimer factory, a cave, the Ozark folk center, and other activities. That night we had our own ‘dueling lap harps’ as Tom and Earl played the ones bought by Anne and Patrick.
Click this link to view Anne’s pics. Buffalo Float
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