Buffalo River 2016
From Gilbert, AR, 59 miles to Shipp’s Access on the White River
by Judy Norton
We spent the night prior to launch at the Gilbert RV campground. Jim, the owner, was very helpful in setting up our stay and shuttle. Buddy and Shirley Wise, led the Upper Buffalo trip the week before. They helped us have a smooth launch. The sun was hot at the gravel put-in, river-mile 99. It is amazing how much a canoe can hold.
We paddled about six miles before thunder and lightning forced us to seek shelter. We pulled over at mm 105.7 and found a smoldering campfire on the gravel bar with bunches of dry wood placed nearby. Normally, we would have poo-poohed someone leaving a fire, but this time we covered the embers with dry wood to enjoy after the storm passed. We quickly set up a pole and tarp shelter angled toward the prevailing wind. The storm was intense, but thankfully brief.
Seeking relief from the extreme heat was a common occurrence. It was a treat to watch folks play in the water. We planned campsites to have shade in the afternoon, opposite bluffs which offered morning shade. Some were way up the gravel bars; others made use of hammock trees.
Aside from the spectacular beauty, it was a treat to explore side hikes and creeks. We hiked Water Creek, Spring Creek, and Panther Creek up to the Indian Rock House. Indian Rock House has a spring fed creek running along inside the cave. We struggled up Cold Spring Creek to find the one-room school house constructed in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Our hike up Middle Creek was a first for all of us.
We saw a variety of wildlife. Henry caught fish every day, but much to his chagrin, agreed to release them. On four days we saw bald eagles. Four nights we were visited by raccoons. We saw fawns on numerous occasions. We saw hog tracks, and a copperhead passed through our breakfast location.
The great thing about TVCC trips is folks pitch-in together to make things run smoothly. I really appreciate all the help. Trip participants included Seth Rogers, Nita Dotson, Henry Cole, and Judy Norton.