Wild Bill's Outfitter sell or rent gear and snacks and souvenirs and everything else you need to float the river. The building is set at an angle, behind two big shade trees that sit next to the road that leads down to Buffalo Point. Wild Bill's is not the only place to go for fun on the river, but their location and bright red-on-yellow signs drew us in.
We thought we might try tubing down the river, since there were three
of us, and
three's a crowd in a canoe. And when we drove up, we saw
a line of large, orange inner tubes tied up to one of the shade trees
in front. But the guy behind the counter suggested canoeing, since
the water was low and we'd be bumping bottom all they way in tubes.
That was good enough for us. So after some last minute searching around in the store for a few supplies to take down the river, we went back to fetch Ben, whom we had left slumped at the campsite in a folding chair with his nose in a book.
We packed our rented ice chest. (It hadn't occurred to us to bring a second ice chest for the river.)
We changed into canoeing clothes.
I grabbed my wide-brimmed hat, and Trudy got her flowerty one.
We hopped into the car and drove ourselves to the put-in point, where our canoe and kayak were waiting.
Then we dragged the boats down to the river, put the ice chest into the canoe (with its top bungied shut -- a state law), and slid into the stream.
The water was deep here and moving slowly. Trudy and I paddled out and across the river, and Ben spun around a bit in the still water getting the hang of paddling a kayak. He was thrilled with the freedom, and in minutes he was ready to turn downstream.
With that, our river journey was begun.
Buffalo National River, NW Arkansas
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