Sunday, July 20, 2014


It was mid July in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, and I had the wonderful blessing of spending a day outdoors!  Three other ladies and I had planned for the last two weeks, that July 19 would be our day to float a section of the White River that starts at Rim Shoals.  The morning of our departure, we could barely see the river, because the fog was so thick, but we had faith it was out there somewhere!

The Rim Shoals access point to the White River is maintained by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.  Besides the concrete loading ramp, there is paved parking, picnic tables, portable potties, and a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. 

Adjacent to the public area, you will find Rim Shoals Resort ( ).  This business offers waterfront cabin rentals, shuttle service, and a host of other amenities that would add to the enjoyment of anyone visiting the White River.  The railroad still runs along side the White River, but the trains that use it are infrequent.  The few times I have been on the river when a train went by, were usually an interesting chance to photograph this often forgotten means of transportation!

While my fellow kayakers were completing the car shuttle, my job was to stay and watch our kayaks and gear.  That task was made quite enjoyable when these three guys backed down the loading ramp, and started the seemingly unending process of unloading their kayaks and filling them with every kind of fishing gear imaginable!

They definitely did not have Southern accents, and they told me they were originally from the Czech Republic, and were currently living in Missouri.  They said they LOVED fishing in the White River, and I could not only quote them on that endorsement, but take their picture as well!

Shortly after they made their entrance into the water, my companions returned, and we too, launched into the gently flowing river.

As we paddled into the low lying fog, we could hear rushing water ahead of us, but because the fog was so thick, we could not see what it was we were about to encounter!  That is enough to make my heart beat rapidly, regardless of how rapidly the rapids in front of us turned out to be!

In a short time, the summer fog had melted under the sun's heat, and we once again could see the beautiful scenery around us, as well as the other folks out enjoying a day on the river!

When we stopped for our lunch break, one of the ladies used the opportunity to take a "power nap" in her kayak, snuggled under the warmth of her beach towel.  One has to remember that the air directly above the White River is somewhat cooler, and dress accordingly---especially at the beginning of a trip!

We passed dozens of beautiful homes along the river, and some of them even had "For Sale" signs!  My advice to someone interested in owning a home on the river, is to take a real estate tour by boat, as well as by car, to get the full effect of your future purchase!

Besides the private residences, we passed several commercial properties that rent overnight lodging, watercraft, fishing supplies, snacks and beverages.

were particularly glad to get to the Ranchette Access Area, maintained by the Game and Fish Department ( ), because we all were in need of a potty break by that time!

In "kayaking courtesy school", we are taught to not get too close to fishermen along the river.  In a wide river like the White River, this is usually easy to do.

After we passed the Ranchette area, we began to see very tall, limestone bluffs in the distance.  They were a different geological feature from the wooded shorelines that we had encountered for most of the trip, up to that point. 

scenery is so beautiful in this calm area of the White River, that it could be the "visual aid" for the poet's words in Psalm 46:4 that say "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God..."  Being able to soak in the majesty that surrounded me certainly made me glad!!

The tall limestone bluffs like the ones in the photo are prevalent along the Buffalo River, and so it is not surprising that we were approaching the area where the Buffalo River runs into the White River.

Hence, the access area at this location is called "Buffalo City", and is a popular place for swimming, fishing, picnicking, photography, and river strolls.  The location includes paved parking and portable potties.  It took our group about 5.5 hours to make the trip from Rim Shoals, down to Buffalo City, with the current defined as "Minimum Flow".  Your trip could vary, however, depending on how much water is being released from the dam. 

Our group started seeing more kayakers as we approached Buffalo City, as the river here is so wide, that some people bring their kayaks just to paddle around from this one location, instead of floating to a different takeout point.

I am thankful to be able to say that none of our group turned over during our day on the river!  However, we went through a few rapids that had such high waves, that we got lots of water inside our kayaks, but nothing that was unmanageable.  Also, some of the river guides based out of the Cotter Trout Dock ( ) were extremely helpful to us by showing us the passages through treacherous areas, where we were least likely to encounter rocks that would tumble us over.  We were very appreciative of their assistance!  I would heartily recommend a day of floating the White River.  It will give you "MILES OF SMILES"!