Where to Overnight Float?

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Pate
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Where to Overnight Float?

Post by Pate » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:24 am

I'm wanting to take a group on an overnight float trip. Problem is we are out of Texarkana and want to stay within 3 hours of home. I'm wanting to camp on the river (not a developed camp site). Any recommendations? first thoughts are Ouachita, Little mo below HWY 84, Caddo? My concerns are property owners. We have done an overnight trip on the Ouachita and had a farmer tell us it was his gravel bar. He let us camp there and we left the spot cleaner than we found it. I'm just not sure all land owners are as friendly. Trip will be April 11th if conditions are right. Thanks for the help

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Eric Esche
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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by Eric Esche » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:44 pm

I would recommend the Buffalo River even if it winds up being just a hair farther then 3 hours from Texarkana. Watch the weather forecasts closely for the ENTIRE drainage area and camp high up from the water if it is raining or forecast to be raining up stream. You do NOT want to have to break camp to move to higher ground in the dark if the river is rising and it can rise fast if it rains hard up stream even when it does not rain where you are camping. Look at the river level forecast sight to see which section you want to paddle and camp on. The gauge sites have recommended commercial cutoffs/closures which should be good for most experienced paddlers to also follow, and if it is high, you might want to pick another section with less water if you have beginners. Reading the Buffalo River Handbook by Ken Smith is recommended to enhance the enjoyment of your trip with river knowledge about history and mileages. Remember that with varying spring air temperatures that the water temperatures combine to make hypothermia a serious risk and to dress in synthetics (NOT COTTON) particularly if you do not have drysuits. The Buffalo is a remote river that does not have a road beside it and it is in a steep sided canyon for much of it's length. Always be prepared for mishaps and have a map of where you are going. National Geographic makes 2 waterproof maps of the western and eastern sections of the river that are fairly good.

Ask more questions and I am sure others with answer them.

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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by Pate » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:33 am

Thanks for the response Eric! The thing is we do an overnight trip twice a year on the Buffalo. (One of my favorite places!) I was hoping I could find something different that will be as accommodating as the Buffalo? I know thats a tall order :wht: Thanks, for the info!

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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by Deuce » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:51 am

The Caddo and Ouachita are both viable options and should meet your geographic requirement. I've never float camped them so I can't give you specific beta but Jim Krueger can. The Ouachita is on my list. Just haven't gotten around to it yet, mainly because I can't seem to get enough of the Buff. Also, it's not a river but don't overlook lake Ouachita. It's a gorgeous lake with many hundreds of prime paddle up camping spots available for the taking. Between now and May woud be optimal weather permitting. If you don't mind additional company be sure to post up your plans when you make them.
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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by hdh » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:14 am

put in on the upper upper upper upper .. cossatot
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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by Pate » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:27 pm

Thanks Deuce, The Ouachita is climbing the list fast! thinking about putting in above Dragover and taking out at the lake? We Did the upper part 2 or 3 years ago and it was pretty good other than the Private Property thing. HDH, the upper upper... tot sounds really good, above Vandervoort? I have not thought of that. Is it class I and II that direction? Do you have a min. flow recommendation?

Once I have my plans finalized Ill be sure to post up for anyone that wants to join Thanks!

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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by hdh » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:40 pm

we did the upper and all the way to ed banks it is class 2 picks up after that 4.9 or so....

when the tot is big the upper parts are still class 2 2+ go as hige as you can ..Brushy or up by shady... watch out for low water bridges and trees ... there are camp pads on river right just above at ed banks


or go high up the Ouachita ... there is a bridge in sims or go higher.. been years
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Re: Where to Overnight Float?

Post by BEubanks » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:35 am

I've paddled upper Cossatot from up near Shady all the way down. Beautiful stretch and no more than class II, but you'd need a 4 ft level or more on the gauge to do it. Most is in Forest Service, no gravel bar camping shouldn't be an issue.

The upper Ouachita is nice, too. Large watershed, so easier to plan and expect you'll have water. Mostly flat above hwy 270 but pretty scenery and good fishing. Some parts are in National Forest, some private. There are several old Forest Service campgrounds that are officially closed to overnight camping, but I suspect they don't get patrolled very often.

Little Mo has such a small watershed that it's hard to plan on. Even below hwy 84, it can get too shallow for a good float. I made that mistake once--not a good way to treat your feet and shins!

Caddo has indeed gotten more houses close to river, especially between Glenwood and Amity. It would be hard to find a gravel bar not in sight of a house. Below the Amity bridge, however, there are fewer houses. I camped just below the 2nd (downstream) Amity bridge two years ago in May and floated on down to Runyan bridge at the upper end of DeGray. Nice float and some good fishing, especially the last couple of pools above the lake.

If I were you, I'd watch the gauges. If the Cossatot happens to be 4' or above, that would be my first choice. Ouachita will likely be available and would be my fall back. Caddo would be 3rd on my list. Little MO only if you happen on a good level.

At least in April you have good odds of catching a good level. Just watch the forecast and flash flood potential.

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