Great weather and moderate river levels have kept the "floatin" bug in me. After a visit with my mom for a week and a family float from Rim Shoals to here I really wanted to float Buffalo again. Call me crazy, but I wanted to do this with my teenage daughter!!
We ended up loading equipment on the 22nd for our voyage the next morning. My crew would consist of 3 teen girls and Amy (friend, office/domestic goddess, partner in crime). Two of the girls had never placed their buns in a kayak before, much less did they know how to paddle/camp. Challenges were abound, but I was determined to overcome. Mountain Momma pride was outpouring!
We were close to loaded that morning and set off for WALMART in Flippin before launching. You know.....teenager necessities, food and lots of it. Rigged with 3 small coolers and 1 "fridge" cooler we were ready. After it quit raining!!
Finally loaded (while Mr. Russel wondered where it would all go) we launched by noon, we were off. Paddle instructions first, obedience training second and LOTS of FUN the rest of the way. Clabber Creek shoals were fun and the girls loved it. Our first challenge conquered. I then knew we would make it? I was loaded heavy as the commissary and paddled our tandem kayak while the teen girls had the mini-x's and Amy paddled the x-factor. Amy carried all the other supplies and while each girl had one bag plus their personal bags.
After about 3 miles we were well into our trip. Going thru a quick, shallow run Cate (who had the bedding bag) got hung on a submerged limb and off went the bedding. Nice one Cate! After a quick save and re-adjust we were back on. We ended up paddling 6 miles total and set camp on a gravel bar just above Horseshoe Bend. First agenda was to dry the bedding. These girls had never really "river" camped so it was up to Emory and I to get them going. They all set up tent and bed pads and I worked on the "changing room". My bed sheet was sacrificed as the screen for the potty area and I ended up in flames because I slept in the sleeping bag. That won't happen again!
Everyone survived 1st nights camp and I arose to make fruit strudels for breakfast. Started the day out right....sweets & grease! Re-adjusted the bedding bag so the tump factor wouldn't cause any damage. Everyone remembered where things went in the kayaks and we left Horseshoe Bend without a trace! The previous days rain gave us an advantage for river riding. We paddled hard all day and our goal was to see Elephant Head.We stopped to have our lunch at 1 p.m. and everyone wanted to wash their hair since we weren't in the colored water anymore. I could not convince the girls that moss was good for your hair. Oh well. We did enjoy many bluffs, shoals and deer the rest of our day.
Final arrival and many times Pocahontas spoke from me......."just around the river bend" to finally get those girls to our desired camp spot of Elephant Head (12.2 miles later). Arriving we encountered a human and it was of the "DAD" species. Emily's dad, Brian was checking on her accomplishments (and my ability...whatever!) We played it off like he wasn't there. We made it this far....right? Hey Dad, Bye Dad!
Camp setup was a cinch. Dressing room/potty area was a slight challenge, but thanks to the "navy" in my marriage I rigged up something half-rear for that area. Great supper with all done & put away by dark with an eagle flying over at sunset. The adult and semi-adult conversation was marvelous. Let alone the "river" margarita that Amy had rigged up for us.
Great times.....until.......THE COON! I warned the girls of camping in a "populated" area. Who listens to the guide anyhow? Well Mrs. Spotlight here had one in sight early on. Amy was the one to convince and it took several encounters. The last thing I heard was "let me know when you are gonna shoot"..........BOOM. He had to go. I wasn't going to spend my last night on the river babysittin vermin. Luckily, none of the girls got a pic of me keepin a tail for Amy's keepsake. Memories, Memories! What happens with a Riley.....stays with a Riley! hehe.
All in all, it was a great girl campin trip. I can't wait to take them again, even if the competitions kid goes along. Maybe the WB maw can go alongside next trip?
BTW...emory made it out alive along with the customer kid. Amy is still recovering from "CKC syndrome"(coon killin @ camp). I've researched slightly and the only cure is to revisit the experience.....Let me know if Riley's can help you with this syndrome!