Monday, May 20, 2013

Buffalo River - Gilbert to Hwy 14 Bridge

On the first hot weekend of May, we took advantage of the perfect water levels, nice temperatures (warm during the day, still cool at night), and the clear water not yet full of summer algae; and went on an overnight float on the Buffalo.  Gilbert was packed and business was good for local boat rentals and restaurants.  Having a dog and looking to camp, we wanted to pick a stretch of river that might be less busy than the popular Tyler Bend to Gilbert and Hwy 14 Bridge to Buffalo Point floats, so we settled on Gilbert to Hwy. 14 (also called Dillards Ferry).

After leaving a car at Dillards Ferry, we departed Gilbert at about three in the afternoon.  With the river at about 4.5 ft. we made pretty good time and didn't have to drag boats anywhere.  Our plan to avoid crowds worked and paid major dividends.  Less than 2 miles downstream of Gilbert, near the old bridge piers (a spot also accessible by foot from Gilbert) we spotted a Bald Eagle on the shore!  We spooked him too quickly to get a close-up, but luckily he flew downstream and we got a second chance to take photos (see below) and a poorly focused video.  We also saw a lot of other wildlife including a beaver, green herons, great blue herons, kingfishers, and approximately 1.3 billion turtles primarily of the red-eared slider and false map varieties.

We spent the night on Cain's Island, just upstream of Maumee North.  The next day, after the fog cleared, we paddled to Maumee and picked up an additional paddler: my dad.  From there we floated downstream to Dillards Ferry, stopping along the way several times to drain and reinflate the inflatable kayak.  The bluffs along this stretch were spectacular and there were lots of good pools for swimming.  It was really interesting seeing this section from another point of view, after hiking it earlier this year.

Little Prince Needs His Camping Pad After Wearing Down His Pads
Rock Showing Some Serious Side-Crinoid

Fossil City

Spring Creek Bluff

World's Prettiest Turkey Vulture
Morning Mist at Cain Island

Bald Eagle Downstream of Gilbert

View Gilbert to Hwy. 14 Bridge in a larger map

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