Over Mother’s Day weekend we kayaked the Buffalo River from Ponca to Kyle’s Landing. I took a few videos along the way and put this together to remember the trip!
Someone’s GoPro captured the rapids but since I only had my iphone the footage is pretty tame. After I fell in on the third bend I wasn’t keeping my phone out very much.
The river was still a bit high, just down from flood stage the day before. The day before I was very uncertain on if I even wanted to go on the river. It was still listed as flood stage the night before we launched and a few weeks before someone had drowned on the river during a flood.
That morning when we arrived it was chilly and the river looked much more intense than what I was expecting. I was smiling but super nervous on the inside.
By that morning when we launched the water had dropped a lot to just “high, for experienced paddlers only” stage. I felt more comfortable with that since I feel confident in a kayak but I still had some reservations. We spent an hour at the put in spot waiting for the car drop off so we got to watch a lot of other people go first. Once I’d seen a few groups launch I felt more confident since we weren’t going to be the only people on the river.
We finally had everyone ready and got out on the water… and it was fine! Super fun and when the sun came out it felt really good even getting in the water.
By mid-day the water had dropped more and tons of people got on the river! It was actually crowded by that point and the rapids were more complicated because there was usually an informal line to go through. It definitely was a long and slow day for that reason and a few others.
First, people kept falling in. With a group of 9, 7 of us fell in at some point. Sometimes it was due to a tricky rapid, sometimes it was due to a mistake, sometimes it was due to the river being a little crowded.
Second, we had to keep stopping to empty kayaks and canoes. Our one canoe group kept taking on water and sinking. Two of the kayaks did the same thing and one had to stop fairly frequently to drain the water. Sit on top kayaks were the true winner of the day!
We also took a short hike off the river to see Hemmed-in-Hollow falls which is a huge 250 ft waterfall. It was very impressive and a lovely hike to get there!
All in all, itwas a super fun trip! I love a little taste of rapids, which we normally don’t get on any rivers around Memphis. Though it’s still a class 1 river having the higher water made it much more fun and a new challenge for us.
I’ll definitely be back to the Buffalo River in the future!