Paddling Down the Buffalo River

I think it was back in 2012 when the idea first hit me that we should float the Buffalo River.  We’ve passed over this river many a time on one of our numerous trips to Nashville, and have known a few people that have done it themselves.  At the time we first thought about it though, we had just gotten a new puppy and we were pretty sure she would be more trouble to take with, and she was not yet old enough to leave home alone for that long.  Years and years passed and we never did anything about it.  Finally, 6 years later, we floated the Buffalo River, but in reality there was a lot less floating and a lot more paddling.

The day started early, we were just over an hour away from the place we would launch.  We had plans to meet our group at 9 a.m. and is usually the case, some of us were running late.  Not a problem, this was new to all of us and that just meant plenty of time to get on sunscreen, check out the facilities, and figure out what was going to happen.  The trip we picked started with a bus ride up river, I think for all the children it was their first school bus ride ever.

A ways off the main road the bus driver unloaded us and all the kayaks and canoes that were needed for the day.  We were on our own from here.  All we knew was we were to float down river about 8 miles back to the place we had our cars parked.  And so off we went.

The river was shallow almost everywhere we checked.  This was good and bad.  Good because if need be, you could just stand up and flip your kayak back over.  (Not something I ever needed to do, mind you, but there was a kayak tipped a time or two in our group.)  The bad to this was that the highlight of the trip for the boy was to jump off and do flips into the water from rock bluffs.  I saw someone we knew on Facebook doing this the weekend before, so we were all anxious about the jumping place.

We took a few breaks here and there to eat snacks and cool off in the cold water.  The day was very hot so the swims were much needed.

At first stop we figured we hadn’t even made it a mile down and we were an hour and a half in, so we got going and kept a pretty good pace, all the while on the lookout for bluffs.  Even paddling along, it was quite relaxing.  The views were beautiful and everyone seemed to be having fun.

The river wasn’t crowed which I was worried about since it was the Sunday before the 4th of July.  There were plenty of people at the visitor center where we checked in, but they all dispersed pretty well.  I think maybe the most of them took trip 2 which was supposed to be the most popular.  After we got done we decided that we would be back again and trip 2 will be the plan for next time.

We all made it back, and it only took us about 3 1/2 hours.  The usual time for this trip is 4-5 hours, so we definitely did a lot less floating than we could have.  Next time we’ll be sure to float more.  And there will be a next time in the near future.  We’re planning for August.  🙂

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