Monday, August 20, 2012

Buffalo River Low!

Some friends and I had a very interesting trip to the Buffalo this weekend.  I can now say from experience that 3.3' on the St. Joe gage means the water is too low to comfortably paddle in the Tyler Bend/Gilbert area (4 to 6 or 8 feet is typically considered ideal).  It would have been a nightmare in a canoe and we saw one family turn back after about two miles.  We were all in kayaks and still had to walk more than a few times.  On the plus side, Buddy swam and ran most of the way from Tyler Bend to Gilbert and since the river wasn't crowded with paddlers, we saw lots of great wildlife including: a river otter, a mink, and a bald eagle in addition to the usual turtles, kingfishers, and green and great blue herons.

On the day after our float, we went upstream to checkout Woolum and were confused to find the river had some flow upstream of the put-in but was BONE DRY downstream of the bluffs there for a mile or more!  So after swimming briefly in the chilly pool by the bluffs and in the warmer, shallower pool just upstream of there, we took a unique hike down the dry channel of the Buffalo River.  To my disbelief, we didn't find any hidden treasure, but we did find bones, bleached crawdads, a few cans, and lots of interesting rocks and rock formations.

You can access the Buffalo River Trail and some other trails from Woolum.  We started on one but due to its overgrown condition and my paranoia of ticks and chiggers in August, we opted for the wide open dry channel of the Buffalo instead.

The following pages have more information on finding ideal water levels for floating the Buffalo:

Buffalo River at Gilbert

Near Woolum

Swimming Hole at Woolum 

View Woolum Hike along Buffalo in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. That is wild! Thanks for posting the pictures. Its so surreal! Hopefully that should change some after Issac.