Never heard of a National Scenic River before, and even if I had, Iâ€™m not sure that I would have looked for it in northern Arkansas, but that is where we have set up camp for the last stage of our summer escapade. Established as the first National Scenic River in 1972, Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states.
A LONG, LONG day of travel, over 400 miles, saw us leaving the foot hills of the Allegheny Mountains behind, and crossing some beautiful farm land.
We blew past the arch that commemorates the gateway to the west in St Louis, (been there and done that before), and soon found ourselves once again climbing and descending hills, this time in the beginnings of the Ozarks of Missouri.Â The Ozarks are a land of caves, rivers and springs hidden away in low mountains covered in green, but with many white limestone bluffs jutting out of the sea of green.
After a night in St Robert, Missouri, we completed the 200 miles to our destination, Buffalo Point Campground. This is an attractive campground that is right along the cliffs of the river.Â With lots of activities like hiking, swimming and bird-watching, this is a place that wonâ€™t ever let you get bored.
Many deer call it home and we knew we had picked a great place when we saw several even before setting up camp.
Birds abound in the trees, their various songs vying for attention.Â Hawks were flying high overhead. Of course there are an abundance of large flies, gnats, and enough mosquitoes to send us running for the repellent.
Wonderful isolation.Â Arriving on Tuesday evening, the week that Arkansas schools resumed for the fall, left the campground nearly deserted.Â We had our loop all to ourselves until Thursday. In order to get phone service we had to make the mile or so drive up to the ranger station where there was just barely enough service to complete calls.
No trip would have been complete without a hike down the bluff to the river.Â There was a large shingle of river rock, then deep sand and beautiful blue green river.Â At the point where we were the river is slow moving and languid.Â Higher up, toward the beginning it is characterized by white water and water falls.Â Perhaps we will return to explore that area another time.
We waded and coached Heidi out deep enough for her to swim.Â I think that it surprised her that she could.Â At first she was slapping the water, but soon leveled out and did a good dog paddle.Â Perhaps one day she will become a water dog after all.
Saturday morning so jacks up â€“ just one more night out before making it back to home.Â Canâ€™t wait to see the family.Â Even with all our fun, we have missed them all.