Today we did things a little differently. Instead of hiking to waterfalls, we decided to canoe to them. Last attempt at canoeing the Buffalo was an epic failure. We didn’t reserve a canoe and thought we could show up on a Saturday around 11 and one would be available. We were so wrong. Every rental place was PACKED with people and not an available canoe in sight. This time we planned ahead and decided to shoot for a Monday. People work on Mondays. It’d be dead….again, we were so wrong. Assuming since school just let out, the river was flooded with kids and parents. Hundreds. We were probably 20th in line just to launch. Originally we wanted to launch in Ponca but the water levels had significantly decreased in the last few days, so Steele Creek it was. This cut off about 2 miles of our trip but we still had 8 to go. Thankfully pops is a canoeing master, because we watched numerous people flip or take on water just launching. Not us. Haha.
On our journey downstream we saw Big Bluff and fought many groups of people. We watched many more boats flip on the “rapids” and lose their 5 gallon kegs and sacks of bread. Someone didn’t even bungee cord their stuff down because we recovered their bungee for them. What else did they think those were for?? One group looked to be a church group with no less than 100 people of all ages doing a 2 day trip. We would finally get around the masses to take a break only to get behind them again. Several miles later they pulled over to camp at a grotto.
After many stops on the river bank to take a swim break or eat or snack we came to the Arkansas famous waterfall, Hemmed In Hollow Falls. This is the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and the Rockies. Its definitely a hot spot on the river. We fought for a parking spot on the bank along with the dozens of other canoes and kayaks.
Again, here we had to fight people on the mile trail to the fall, as well as at the fall. I even had to position my tripod higher so not to get the people posing under it. We decided not to stay here long and head to a more secluded spot, Fishtrap Hollow Falls. We looked for what seemed like miles for the creek bed to meet the river, and finally found one. At first we were the only ones there and dad wanted to play it cool so not to attract people to our secret spot. After being nonchalant for a few minutes acting like we were taking a swim break, the masses found us. There was a small cascade that was pretty visible from the river which seemed to draw everyone in. We figured now was as good of a time as any so we headed up the creek bed in search of Fishtrap Hollow Falls. Nobody seemed to follow us back which was a relief. We came to a fall but it wasn’t as prominent as we thought it would be. I stayed back to take pictures of it, because let’s face it. I’m a waterfallaholic. If I see one, I HAVE to take a picture of it. That’s why I invested in my filters and lenses, right? Dad quickly came back down because once he reached the top he found a shady fellow presumably about to partake in some illegal substances. Pops saw needles, dude asked if anyone else was coming up, pops pretended to yell down to me and swiftly made his way back downhill. We packed up and headed back to the canoe. We definitely didn’t want to be near dude’s shenanigans. Come to find out we weren’t even in the correct creek bed. We had passed it and ended up in Bear Cave Hollow instead. I still managed to get some alright photos, but next time we WILL find Fishtrap Hollow. After our 8 mile crazy excursion, we docked at Kyle’s Landing and headed home. To say I was exhausted is an understatement.