Floating The Buffalo River - Ponca Access
As mentioned in the last issue, spring has arrived in the Ozarks and with it color! Red and green and blue and yellow and orange and white are bursting forth everywhere. Plus every conceivable shade of green. Although the rains have been somewhat disappointing so far this year we have had periods of rain. It was March 30th and we just finished a decent deluge. We decided to take a trip over to the Ponca Access and see who was floating the river and how high it was.
The drive from Harrison to Ponca on Highway 43 is quite picturesque. Dropping down into the Ponca area always requires a bit of caution as you can get going too fast easily. Arriving at the access area there were many vehicles and plenty of folks getting ready to enjoy a day of floating The Buffalo River. We decided to watch a large group of kayaks launch and make their way down river.
It was a large group and took some time to get them all suited up and into their boats. Another bunch of people, mostly younger kids crossed the bridge. Not sure if they were actually floating the river or on a hike. One by one the adventurers made ready and then slipped into the current of the Buffalo River. There was no need to really paddle as the river was at 0 inches of air space, which meant that the ride would be an exciting one. As we were standing there a man came up and asked us if we wanted to go rafting today. His other crew member could not go and they needed a substitute. We had to decline. Perhaps half an hour later the last of the group made ready. I think they were the ones to make sure no one got left behind.
We watched a few more kayaks and a couple canoes head down river then headed back to the truck. We ran into some friends of ours who were also down checking out the river and we exchanged happenings and promised a walk together. They mentioned that the elk herd was in the field at Ponca. A rare event, usually you can find them there only at sunrise and sunset.
As we left the access area we could see vehicels parked on both sides of the highway by the field where the elk gather. We pulled over and joined the crowd watching. The elk were moving slowly towards the tree line, grazing as they went. Magnificent animals. Once we finished elk watching we decided that with the river at such high levels the Twin Falls at Camp Orr would be really flowing, so we headed up Highway 74 and turned down the Kyles Access road. We were right, the waterfalls were beautiful and really flowing. It was a windy morning and the sun was exactly in the wrong spot for taking great pictures but we managed to get a few decent ones.
Even though we go to the scenic spots here in the Ozarks over and over we never tire of their beauty and majesty. Nature has created a wonderland here in Northwest Arkansas and our state has had the good sense over the years to preserve much of it. Along with the national forests we have many wonderful state parks to enjoy. Grab the family or friends or both, and take a walk on the wild side of the Ozark Mountains.