Buffalo National River

1:00 p.m. on May 19, 2009 (EDT)
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Just got back from a float on the Buffalo River with my mom, dad, and little brother. Full report and pictures at www.geocities.com/east_stingray/index.html last link on the page.

9:50 p.m. on May 20, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm glad you had a good time, I'm very busy with work right now but will read your report this weekend.

Till then my friend!

11:34 a.m. on May 24, 2009 (EDT)
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Nice trip report my friend!

I like the format you use.

I'm glad you got to spend some time with family having fun on the river. One of my favorite backpacking destinations is full of coal mines and remnants of days gone by, so I thought those photos were cool! I even know where two old moonshine stills are that are not in any trail guide.

Raccoons are inquisitive, industrious critters that should not be underestimated I've found, I have two coolers I use for canoe trips full of bite marks and scratches from raccoons, who have no trouble figuring out how to open them. You need to install some type of latch that can be locked if using coolers.

Were you in the canoe & the rest of family in the skiff?

I see you did get the hammock in time to take along on this trip, good deal!

Great trip report and nice pics! Thanks for sharing East Stingray.

4:58 p.m. on May 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm sure the ozarks have plenty of old moonshine stills, though I haven't found any yet.

Camping with the family is a challenge for me, in a way. My style is very light and fast and LNT. Mom and dad's style is to pack a crapton of gear, move slow, and leave a bigger trace than I'm comfortable with. I've learned not to say much, because it usually precipitates a fight between me and dad.

They aren't huge issues, but dad insists on having a two-burner coleman stove, which probably weighs close to 15lbs instead of a single burner like my multifuel (1 lb). Have to have a full coffee pot, sodas, a cooler, folding camp chairs, etc. There's nothing wrong with any of those things, but the weight and bulk adds up very quickly. Dad also doesn't see anything wrong with sticking the end of a log (or 6) in the fire instead of cutting or breaking it to size, which ends up leaving a charred log for the next people, or using soap directly in the river (although I have converted him to Dr. Bronner's).

In keeping with the above, I warned them that raccoons would be a problem, but they waved me off. Dad ended up leaving a couple of beer cans in the trash sack (mesh bag they give you for trash on the river) overnight. I think that's what attracted the raccoons in the first place, but he waved me off when I told him we should hang it. The cooler has a latch on it which is hard even for me to get open, so I'm still not sure how the 'coons did it.

As far as the boats, dad insists that he's too old to do the float in a canoe these days, so he and mom rented the river boat with a motor. My brother and I were in the canoe, and even though my brother is inexperienced in a canoe and the river was up, we didn't have any problems. All three of us tried to talk dad into doing it in a canoe this year (we had the same setup last year and the boat/motor caused more problems than they solved), but sometimes you just can't win.

You have to tend to those stupid boats constantly because they're so long, and because the motor has to be pulled up in some of the rapids (which leaves you with a boat you essentially can't control). That's why you see pictures of me with nice fish, and no pictures of dad with fish. He spent most of his time messing with the boat. I stuck my inexperienced brother (who doesn't fish) in the back, and within 30 minutes he was guiding me to all the best fishing holes.

Mom does quite a bit of fishing from the front of the boat, and she caught a lot of fish too, although none of them were very big. For her it's more about being out there with the family than fishing.

I did get the hammock in time, and as you can see from the report, it was a LIFESAVER. My parents are experienced campers, and their tent was BLOWN COMPLETELY down both the second and third nights, with them losing the fly completely the third night and getting soaked. Part of that was because when they got the trusty old tent out about a week before the trip, one of the poles was broken and they had to borrow a tent last minute. The other part was because of the CRAZY weather! Dad has made this float every year for 18 years straight, and he was AWESTRUCK by the wind gusts and storms we had the second and third nights.

I had to hang in some less-than-stellar places since hammock friendly is usually not tent friendly, but it still made a big impression on me. I doubt I'll be sleeping on the ground ever again if I can help it!

7:55 p.m. on May 24, 2009 (EDT)
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HMMM....been there, been there, been there, and done that, so I understand completely about the whole family thing and different camping styles.

Some times all you can do is be a good example, and hold your head up high.

Family ties are very important to me, so is LNT, but you have to find a balance sometimes when in that situation I think.

I used to carry a Coleman two burner stove, and other car camping equipment all the time in my 4x4 truck in case I broke down or got stuck real bad. I remember a couple of my hiking buddies (who were way more experienced than me) snickering a bit one day at the trail head at the camping gear visible through my back glass. Now I understand, I would have been much better prepared with gear I could have traveled with in a backpack.

Oh well, live and learn.

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