Sunday, June 24, 2007

Canoeing the Buffalo

Yesterday we went canoeing on the Buffalo River. My parents have inflatable kayaks and rafts that we float on the Rogue, but my canoeing experience had been strictly limited to lakes. I figured the experience would be sort of like the Rogue, except a little calmer.

We rented our canoes from a local outfitter. I was surprised to see quite as many people at the shop as we did, but I quickly learned this was a very popular section of the river. Rafting is social, but this was more like one giant floating party. This was the first difference from kayaking back home, where there is some congeniality but not nearly at this level.

The water was low, which is not a surprise since we are 10 inches behind on rain, and the canoes ran aground or scraped rocks frequently. That's the other big difference from my kayaking experience - a metal canoe can take abuse that inflated plastic can't. Taking an inflatable kayak on this stretch of the river would have meant a very short trip. I don't know what the river is like when the water is up, but this was definitely class I stuff, no rapids at all.

We grilled out on a small island - a nice call that got some envious comments from other canoers. We also stopped occasionally just to swim around. There are some bluffs that braver souls jump from. At one spot, there are two rope swings. These weren't as high as the bluffs, so I wanted to try. Unfortunately I couldn't reach the higher rope (you had to reel it in with a stick, but my arms were too short with the stick available), so I settled for the lower one.

By the end of the day, we hadn't worked too hard, and I wasn't too sunburned, but we were all pretty tired. It was fun, although I think next time I'd try to find a less popular part of the river.

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