Buffalo River Float Trip Take 2.


May 14th -15th, 2010.  Kyle's Landing Buffalo River National Park. 

I had shared my vision of 47 Royal Rangers going floating on the Buffalo River and the Wednesday before the event we had 41 interested in going.

The River was 1" above not being floatable.  I was worried we wouldn't have enough water to float this beautiful section of the river and had prayed all week for enough rain to give us a great float.  Thursday morning the weather forecast bounced around between 40% to 60% chance of rain.  As the days rolled by the weather was checked often and phone calls were made to reassure many folk there was still a vision and I had cast that vision to be a great float.  Thursday mid day I got the call a group of 10 with canoes wouldn't be coming.  Then Thursday night another group of 8 was pulled out of the numbers. We were down to 21.  Then Friday morning the weather forecast was the same the calls came in again and we were down to 15.

Friday night 11 showed up as we drove over the Buffalo River in 4 vehicles and 12 canoes and 2 kayaks READY to float!  We looked at that ole River it was 1" from us not floating it.  I thought a thought as we went over the bridge..a little rain tonight would be a blessing. 

We arrived in good time.  The park host met us there and welcomed us and kept us from spending more money then we needed to and we were set.  Not a axe in sight but we did have plenty of fire starter fluid.   Camp was setup fast and we proceeded to cook all kinds of eats around the fire.

I was content to have Steak n Shake Chili out of the can heated up on my backpacking stove.  Others cooked sausage, hot dogs, burritos, baggie tacos and more.  We enjoyed the fellowship of the fire ring.  At about 9:45 pm we had council fire and David Jenkins from RRI delivered a interesting council fire and kept us intrigued with what was next.  We were blessed to share Christ and the Glory of the Lord in this place. 

At about 11:00 pm it started to rain.  It rained hard all night long.  I had a drip in my camper shell but I was high and dry and just moved over a bit to avoid the drip.  Others in the tents...close to I would say 200 folk didn't fare so well through the night.  At 5:45 am I couldn't sleep.  Justin a outdoors enthusiast that had come and joined our group (Baptist brother) was going out early to catch a water fall.  I invited myself while the others were asleep and we took out in his Jeep 2 miles by straight line and about 7 miles by road.   On our way there we saw 2 deer and lots of water flowing all kinds of places.

We parked at the entrance of Camp Orr (boy scout camp on the buffalo river) and headed down the trail towards twin falls.  The thundering of the falls was deafening well before you could see the falls due to the trees and foliage.  Justin pulled out his camera tripod umbrella and polarizing lens and started taking pictures.  This was worth the trip just to see this one waterfall I was thinking.   Heading back towards the jeep we encountered a group in 3 vehicles unloading cameras tripods and umbrellas heading towards the falls.  They said hi.

Justin said do you know who that man is?  I said what man.  The guy with the hat.  "They all had a hat on it was raining"  That guy.  "That is Tim Ernst"  your kidding. I have several of his books. I rolled down the window and said excuse me sir are you Tim Ernst?  He walked over to the vehicle and said yes I am and shook my hand.  I told him I had several of his books and really enjoyed his articles and really appreciated him sharing these locations of these neat places with all of us.  Justin had just finished looking him up the day before and reading up on him.  On the way back to the camp we passed a turkey and a long horn goat along the road. 

Back at camp we found out the river had come up 3 foot.  We all went down to look at the Raging Brown water that just 12 hours before was a mellow national river.  Yup.  It was out of the question.  Only a fool would float on that water in a canoe.

We went back to camp it was still pouring rain and cooked breakfast on propane stoves under the cover of our portable awnings.  At 9:30 Jared Pingleton showed up with his son and we all went for a hike up Indian Creek it was really rolling as well but it was crossable.  We did a 5 mile or so hike and then made it back to camp a little after noon and had lunch packed up was just about to pull out of the campground when a guy came walking up asking for a ride.  He was part of  a group that for the past 14 years had all floated this river and spent several nights and days floating and camping along the river.  The National Parks Service was on the river flagging folk that were coming down the river and pulling them off the river as it was too dangerous to be on this water.  These folk had stashed most of their gear up by Jim Bluff.. (the jumping cliffs) and had floated back to kyles with just themselves and a life vest with plans of coming back in a few days and picking their gear back up when the river was safe.  We gave him a ride up Sherman mountain and he got cell service up there and called his brother who met us on the road. 

One never knows just what is going to happen.  We had a great time.  I hauled those canoes some 300 miles and never once got them off the trailer.  We were blessed by the fellowship and enjoyed the challenge.  Some of the tents had 2 gallons of water in them.  Shinning Times for sure!

Click on a picture to get a larger view!


Wow.  What a blessed time and what a great group to share this time with.  These guys are great in Jesus Name!

Mark Jones