Buffalo River trip for out of staters

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aotte
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Buffalo River trip for out of staters

Post by aotte » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:36 pm

Hi all,

I am Aaron, a midatlantic guy who paddles mostly the Atlantic side of the Appalachians. I've been eyeballing the Buffalo River (Arkansas) for years, and some of my Iowa friends plan to meet met there at the end of March.

The local outfitter wants us to take out at Grinder's Ferry, and we're all ears for that, but noticing that the upriver section of "ponca to pruitt" has more topography and might be canoeable at early spring levels? Thoughts on that? I'm not wanting to tell the local outfitter we insist on a trip further upstream (and be a total pain in the neck, as well as pay more for a shuttle), on the other hand, if ponca to pruitt is a lot more interesting, well....
anyway, wondering what arkansas paddlers think of this.

Also, I'm assuming there's no outfitters upstream of St. Joe, who could get us a quicker shuttle over there to the west?

We're looking to do three days and two nights on the river...

Aaron Otte
Canoe Cruisers (Virginia)

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rouble
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Re: Buffalo River trip for out of staters

Post by rouble » Sat Mar 03, 2018 12:30 am

There are a couple outfitters in the upper district. Check out Buffalo Outdoor Center and Lost Valley Canoe. The upper sections of the Buffalo are very rain dependent, so you might have to adjust which section you'll be doing if we haven't had much rain.

bash
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Re: Buffalo River trip for out of staters

Post by bash » Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:13 pm

Personally I prefer the upper section of Ponca to Pruitt a little more for scenery and hiking options .Keep in mind your group's experience level especially if the water is up and you are float camping w/ loaded canoes. Agree w/ rouble above-I've used both these outfitters ,they can help you plan your trip. Either way will be a good experience.

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paddledog
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Re: Buffalo River trip for out of staters

Post by paddledog » Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:24 am

Welcome to our little corner of the paddling world. You are bumping up against the both the ying and the yang of paddling in Arkansas. The East has dam release and the West has snow melt, both very dependable on water level predictions. Here we are strictly rain dependent. Although frustrating, we don't get the crowds that predictability brings. There is no way to tell if the upper section is going to have enough water to easily float this far ahead of time. As mentioned above, there are outfitters that are located on the upper section, but I think most of them anywhere on the river will service a trip almost anywhere on the river. Contact the outfitter and tell them you want to float as high up as possible depending on river levels at the time.

If you want to track the levels yourself here are a couple links.
USGS gauge at Ponca - you can set the data time limit for anywhere between a day or a year and see the past levels.

https://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwi ... 2018-03-05

Here is a site the locals watch for all river levels, the Buffalo is split between the upper and lower for float ability.
http://www.ozarkpages.com/cgi-bin/stages.pl?ST=name

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aotte
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Name: Aaron O

Re: Buffalo River trip for out of staters

Post by aotte » Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:21 am

OK, everybody- that's kind of what I expected; I'll check out the 2d outfitter you mentioned, and kind of "wait and see" how high those gauges are. I've been ogling pictures of that river for around 15 years! Thanks arkansas types!

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Deuce
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Re: Buffalo River trip for out of staters

Post by Deuce » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:40 am

The good news is the whole river is spectacular and you really don't have to nail down your route until a few hours before launch (unless you need to rent boats), so if nothing else you can easily make a game time decision once you've checked the gauges and weather forecast. Be sure to check back here and on our FB page when you make your plans. You might get last minute beta on things like downed trees, must sees and possibly even shuttle help if anyone else is going that way. Happy planning!
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