State 22 of 50: Arkansas – Buffalo River

Scenic, small river with lots of character  
Date Paddled: May 16, 2017
Nearest City: Jasper
Put-In: Steel Creek
Take-Out: Kyle’s Landing
River Miles: 8
Shuttle: difficult gravel road to Kyle’s Landing
Weather: sunny 80
Difficulty:  class I, I+
Cfs: 250

The Buffalo is the definition of a perfect paddle. With clear waters morphing into emerald green right from the put in, my heart filled with expectation.  I was not disappointed. Even though the Buffalo is designated a Wild and Scenic River, there were regular access points.
DSCN5663The first class I rapid was causing some issues with less experienced paddlers, notably an elderly man who end up dumping and swimming while his wife on shore filled us in on the scratches and bruises he’d already sustained as she worriedly wrung her hands saying, “A man his age shouldn’t be doing dat!” in a soft German accent. We passed him and his son again further downstream bailing Dad’s boat yet again.
We came into a tight meander ending at a cliff wall sprouting from the cool green waters. It seemed as though we were in a miniature version of many of the western rivers we had run with shallow, clear to green water, steep cliffy areas, followed with a tumbling class I or II rapid and entry into a deep emerald pool. The difference here on the east coast is that our former Himalayan scaled mountains have eroded into the rounded Appalachian chain, settling into the landscape with grace.DSCN5620DSCN6430

DSCN6407It was a true joy to see a river so beautiful, tended and loved as the Buffalo.


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