Monday, July 19, 2010

Oklahoma Summer Kayaking on the LMF River

LMF Cypress Tree
Originally uploaded by FreeWine

This Sunday, I dropped my son off at Hale Boy Scout Reservation in Talihina, Oklahoma. Since he didn't have to be there until 1pm, I decided to sneak in a paddling trip on the Lower Mt. Fork River in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. These days, I rarely find an opportunity to break out the Sprayskirt and ride the current. The LMF is typically the only whitewater paddling to be found in the Oklahoma summertime. Don't be surprised if you AT&T phone doesn't work anywhere in Broken Bow, mind didn't. Luckily Ambush Adventures is right at the take-out and they shuttled me and my boat back to the put-in for a mere five dollars!

While my Wife & Son slept in, I hit the LMF River at about 6:30am and practically had the river to myself for a few hours of pure serenity. At this time of day on the Lower Mt Fork, the river is misty and quiet. The herons hold court as the morning light slowly changes from gray to green to golden. As the sky cleared, the heat & humidity rose too late to spoil a perfect morning of paddling. More of our LMF kayaking pictures in this Flickr photoset.

The water flow was nice at around 35-400 cfs, so the Rock Garden section was a bit bumpy, but loaded with great eddys to 'park' the kayak in and take pictures. The narrow bit before the falls is the most exciting part of the paddling. The current is strong here and the rocks and snags are many. However, if you go with the flow and only use your paddle to keep your bow pointed downriver and to brace when you bump something, you should get through it fine. If you want to avoid the falls, you can cut hard to the right at the end of the narrow section. This will allow you to 'park in an eddy' and take pictures or pick the best spot to go over the falls.

The one downside of paddling the LMF River so early in the day is that I didn't get to photograph the usual fleet of strangers picking their own way down the three-foot Presbyterian Falls. You can capture some very honest emotion on the faces of folks when that ice cold water hits them in the lap as the go over Presb. Falls. On my way home, at the end of my latest Mt. Fork River float trip, I saw loads of people lining up to enjoy the ride. I think Broken Bow offers the 'most fun four miles in Oklahoma' - Kayaking The Lower Mountain Fork River. Don't miss it this summer.

As usual, no kayaking t-shirts were available for purchase. So, I bought myself this kayaking t-shirt online.

There were two major problems on this trip. I hesitate to bring them up, because I prefer to keep my trip reports positive. However, I must warn you that my AT&T cell phone had no signal anywhere in or around Broken Bow, deadzone. All the local folks apparently use Verizon. This caused me some issues. I had gotten a kind offer of shuttling from the folks at Broken Bow Canoes

Also, upon arrival at MicroTel in Broken Bow, OK I was informed that despite my so-called "Reservation" and "Confirmation Number", they were full up. The clerk seemed pretty amused by the whole thing. She had they same wry expression on my previous visit to this very flophouse, where they failed to honor the deal we had reserved online. Luckily, someone built a brand new hotel right next door. I did not waste more than a couple minutes in the Microtel and next time I will waste even less.