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zmcc6

Buffalo River Trip (need Advice)

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I am planning a trip to float from rush creek to the white river. I was hoping that some of you that have done the float before could give me some advice on necessities for the trip. Right now the plan is to start the float on April 19th.  Any suggestions/Tips are helpful! 

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Have you made your logistical plans? I would strongly consider Shipp’s Ferry boat launch on the White river as your take out point.

Would definitely recommend getting a good map of the river in order to track your progress.

How much time are you planning to take for the float. This will make a big difference on what you need.

You also need to have a good idea of water levels and how the level can impact the trip.

I’ve done this trip over twenty times and would be happy to help you out with more info. I have a detailed list of items to take, meal plan ideas, etc. Would be easiest to send some of this stuff via email.

 

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Floated from Rush to Norfork back in the day.  Two things.  Take lots of ice.  Don't forget the White River goes up and down a lot.  For us, it was a five day trip including drive time.  Best tan I ever had.  Also we took on a little water and lost a frying pan at Clabber.  There was probably a reason for that.

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5 hours ago, zmcc6 said:

We plan on floating for 2.5- 3 days max. We're trying to pack a light as possible. If you want to send those, my email is zmccarty657@gmail.com

Take out at Shipps Ferry as others mentioned. There are two livery’s near Rush that will both shuttle your vehicle for about $80-100 (Wild Bills is who we used but they are selling the business). Assuming normal April weather, 3 days and 2 nights is doable while fishing but you might have to pass up some spots. 4 days and 3 nights will be what I do next time. Of course, if it rains, it may be a 1.5 day trip.

That is a box valley with little lowlands to “absorb” rain so water levels rise fast when it rains. For this reason, you should not camp on an island. I liked spots about 6-8’ above the water line with quick access to high ground if necessary. Don’t leave your kayak/canoe next to the water either. Carry up a ways and tie it to something.  

As far as necessities to bring, I like to pack light so I only brought one cooler and ate the cold stuff in the first 1.5 days. Had canned goods, Mountain house, and fresh fish the rest of the way. Simple one burner stove and an 8” folding handle pan will cook anything for two people. Frisbees make good cutting boards, plates, serving dishes, and...well...they work as frisbees. Bring a fillet knife if you want to eat fish (sunfish and rock bass are plentiful...let the bass go :) ). An inflatable thermarest style sleeping pad is a must. Don’t bother with foam because they do nothing for rocks. There are camping spots with sand which does help with the comfort of your sleeping area, but you may not be able to find one when you’re ready to stop for the night. If your watercraft does not have a removable seat that can be used at night, BRING A FOLDING CHAIR OF SOME TYPE. Both my friend and I had sore backs from paddling and fishing hard all day, and we had nowhere to sit with a backrest and night. This caused us to just lay down on our sleeping pads to get some relief instead of hanging out under the stars longer. Let’s see...what else: rain jacket,  super glue to close cuts that would otherwise need stitches, extra paddle, gorilla tape roll, and an ace bandage in case someone rolls an ankle on a rock or gets a bad cut. 

I feel like I’m rambling but could probably think of a million things.

 

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That's some excellent advice!  Anything else that I need to know before we make trip? I don't really want to get down there and realize that we're under prepared.

Also how does the shuttle service work? will they just take our vehicles down to Shipps Ferry and leave them for a few days?

We would be driving down mid afternoon on the 18th. Is camping permitted at rush landing?

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2 hours ago, zmcc6 said:

That's some excellent advice!  Anything else that I need to know before we make trip? I don't really want to get down there and realize that we're under prepared.

Also how does the shuttle service work? will they just take our vehicles down to Shipps Ferry and leave them for a few days?

We would be driving down mid afternoon on the 18th. Is camping permitted at rush landing?

The shuttle service will pick your car up from Rush the day you leave and bring your car down the morning you tell them your trip is ending. In between, they keep it in their lot. 

The Buffalo River, especially that section, is stunning scenery so bring a camera if that’s your thing. There will be zero cell reception. It is about the most middle of nowhere you can get in the Midwest. I recommend getting a map app that you can download areas in advance for use without cell service. Then using a different map with mile markers, roughly find each mile increment on the phone app and drop a pin. This will enable you to judge distance travelled and help decide when to stop to camp or when to paddle your posterior off for an hour. The park service also sells Buffalo River East maps that are nice and waterproof. 

Check the weather before you go and call the outfitter too to make sure water levels are safe. There is a big rapid just below Rush called Clabber Creek Shoal. In normal levels, it’s...interesting...but very passable. In high water, there are videos of jon boats almost sinking. Stay to the left. 

I am not sure about camping at Rush. Don’t recall seeing many open areas that weren’t parking lots, roads, or the launch. That said, there is an excellent gravel bar on the opposite shore just a few minute paddle away. 

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I have made this same trip a few times with friends and we used our kayaks and we used Buffalo River Float Service, they keep you vehicle at their place until the day you request it to be at you take out. They are right at the turn off for Rush Landing. Don't remember the exact cost, $80 maybe. We have took out at Shipps Ferry, about 5 miles down stream from the mouth of the Buffalo, and Riley's Station, which is just across from the mouth of the Buffalo but is slightly up stream. Hard to make it there if they are flowing much water. As for what to bring you need to have a water filter so you don't have to carry all your water. We use a jetboil stove for cooking, we eat mostly Mountain House food, Breakfast Skillet to make burritos in the morning and something for dinner. For lunch we got some of the Summer Sausage, that does not need to be kept cold, cheese and cracker and different kinds of trail mix.Any food we take that needs ice we eat the first night, steaks or something to grill. Use match light and a portable grill. Make sure you have a good tent and ground cover, we also have a tarp to hang for a cover in case it rained. We all have a cheap, $39,  low cot from Basspro that keeps you off the ground and is great even if you can only find a rocky beach to sleep on. My kayak has a seat I can pull out and use as a chair, only wish it was a little taller. We always carry some of those fire starter block, I think they are Pine Mountain from walmart.  Besides not camping on an island you shouldn't camp with a bluff to your back, you always want a way to escape rising water which sometimes happens when there is no rain in your area, could have happen 50 miles up stream. There was not much cell service along the way so don't count on it. There is a  campground at Rush but you have to cross the creek over a low water bridge to get there so if the water is high you might not be able to get there. Just a primitive camp with a pit toilet, but I haven't been there in a couple years to you need to check with park service.  I attached a picture of what I packed the first year and found I only used about 2/3 of the stuff and the next couple time I had a lot less on my kayak. I also have the Buffalo National River Guide Book, and it gives you a good break down of land marks, creeks and miles and gravel bars along the whole river. I got mine at the store in Gilbert for about $12 but I think you can get them at lots of places. We have never done it in the spring time only the fall so you will most likely have more water and won't drag as much as we did. It is a great trip and look forward to my next time. And we did have some good fishing.

 

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We did the Riley Station takeout. It was ok but I wouldn’t do it again. Buy a trout stamp and enjoy a quick 5-mile float to Shipps with some world class trout fishing.

If you want to have some non-processed, non-refrigerated food, a lot of veggies will do well if you keep them out of the sun: potatoes, onions, bell peppers, carrots, garlic, etc. Just bring some salt, pepper, and small bottle of oil.

Fried potatoes and onions with fried fresh fish and ketchup...freaking delicious after a long day on the river. 

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