Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kings River Float Trip Report

The sparkling clear Kings River in Eureka Springs, Arkansas welcomed The sparkling clear Kings River in Eureka Springs, Arkansas welcomed Dianne, Dylan and myself this weekend. Since this was our first visit to the Kings River, we decided to leave our boats at home and try a local paddling outfitter. Also, my little four-cylinder car struggles to climb some of those steep and curvy Ozark roads even without our kayak trailer in tow.

Dylan picked up a summer cold this week, so we opted for a light-paddling trip only about 3 hours in length. In fact, we probably would have cut it shorter had we not been blessed with an overcast morning. Although not as scenic as the Buffalo River (in my opinion), the Kings River offer more solitude and what appeared to us to be a bit stronger current. The riverbed and shores are mostly gravel and we saw many schools of fish from our boats.

Paddle This River Soon!

Like the Illinois River, the main obstacles are fallen trees. However, since it isn't paddled as heavily as the Illinois River and the Buffalo River you are a little less likely to be warned before you run in to one. We did have to portage around one tree that completely blocked the river channel, but that simply provided an opportunity for some swimming and rock skipping fun.

The rivers current was strong enough to allow you to float most of the way effortlessly. The water is so clear that you can see fish swimming several feet below. We paddled past about four men fly-fishing and other than that we had the river to ourselves. Local paddlers said that although the White River is usually considered more scenic, the water temperature is so incredibly cold… that beginners often prefer the Kings River.

Lodging at Riverside Resort

The night before we paddled the Kings River, we spent the night in one of the cabins at Riverside Resort. The owners are real nice and their facility was extremely clean, comfortable and interesting. We recommend it highly. Dylan was disappointed to find out that there was no cable TV in the cabin, but he found an old Monopoly game in the room and it proved to be more fun for us than TV anyway!

Canoes and Kayaks at Riverside Resort

Dylan and I paddled off in a rented ABS plastic Buffalo canoe, that performed superbly. Dianne's rented craft was an Old Town (apparently the favorite kayak brand for all canoe liveries in the Ozarks) Sandpiper Sit-On-Top kayak. Dianne described its less than stellar tracking like this:

It was like paddling a piece of plywood down the river! -- Dianne
Riverside Resort located at the Hwy 62 Bridge on the Kings River does offer some shuttle services, so we will probably return to this beautiful river with our boats in the future. Hopefully, on our next trip we will have time to paddle the White River also. Interestingly enough the Kings River Outfitter we used was called Riverside Resort on Hwy 62 East and the White River outfitter is called Riverview Resort on Hwy 62 West. Try not getting THAT confused!

In late breaking news, the kayak spray skirt we ordered for our Perception Swifty finally arrived. I hope to have a performance report for you soon, however I fear that Memorial Day weekend may be a little too crowded for a paddling trip to Broken Bow.

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