Upstream Kayaking from Buffalo City to Elephant Head Rock and Back
  The end of the Buffalo....probably not seen by a lot of canoeists. It runs through the Lower Buffalo Wilderness and Leatherwood Wilderness Area. It sounds kind of remote, right? Well...kind of. There is no take out there...sounds even better...but not really. It was supposed to be really hot this day...but it was not. The sun was forecast to be out...but no. All theses factors were not problematic in the end, for this voyage turned out pretty well. I was forced to eat breakfast in Conway at 2:30 a.m, at Waffle House. Nothing is opened early in north-central Arkansas so this was my best option. It was tasty nevertheless. Hoodlum to me ratio was low for this time of night.
  By 5:30 the sprawling town of Buffalo City was before me. The White River was running and the temp there was 72°. The sound of the flow was all I could make out for sunrise was nearly an hour away. My 25 year old Perception Corsica S whitewater kayak was loaded up with gear and all was made ready. At 6:15 my boat was pointed to the opposite bank and ferried across. Visibility was still marginal due to a lack of light and a goodly layer of fog floating just above the water. This river was unfamiliar to me and the sound of aerated water could be heard somewhere downstream. The map showed some islands and gravel bars near the confluence with the Buffalo on river left, but was about a half mile away. This water sounded close and I could see nothing. I was sore afraid. My boat stayed close to the bank and before long it was evident that the obstacles were well to the left. When the Buffalo River opened up on the right the fog cleared and the temp went up immediately. This was all to be expected and my way was now made in a squiggly fashion up the river.
  The Buffalo is quite wide down here and the current was not much to work against. Eventually some minor riffles made navigation more difficult but progress was still good and by 10:15 I was 5.5 miles in. An impressive bluff on the east bank with a large cave stood before me as my boat slid into the minimal water of the gravel bar directly across from it. This would prove to be Elephant Head Rock, by the map. It did look as described. Two canoes slowly passed by as a snack unit was placed between cheek and gum. This was surprising for so far all the boats seen were motorized johnny style craft. Seeing these in the middle of a national river within two wilderness areas just does not seem right. So far at least six such boats were passed on my way up river. Oh well...most were friendly and their presence was not terribly intrusive. Each did receive a burlap bag with two skunks a piece. 
  After a time of rest it was back in the direction of origin. Going downstream should be a bit easier. Of course at this time the still air changed to a five mph breeze right in my face. The day still remained mostly cloudy and the temp could not have gone above 85°. 101° was predicted for the central Arkansas area, so this was quite lovely. The same flat bottom dwellers were passed again with a few more added here and there. The biggest challenge was paddling back up the White River with around 20,00 cfs of flow trying to carry you downstream. Some strategic maneuvers had me back to my car around 12:45 without too much difficulty. The total miles paddled were right at eleven. There was still fog on the river. It felt good to be alive...for death was marginally avoided on several occasions.

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