On my first and second full days in the area, I rented a kayak and paddled the ten mile stretch of river from Ponca to Kyles Landing. Heavy rains the prior week had sent the upper Buffalo into flood stage for a few days, but by Monday the water levels had receded enough to offer an ideal float.
In this stretch, the river's turquoise waters flowed through forested valleys, past steep limestone bluffs, and through of a series of moderate rapids.
One other thing I found as I floated along is a collection of really friendly people. Other paddlers were eager to tell me about their favorite sections of the river, their favorite trails and waterfalls, and some of them, their life stories. And on the couple of occasions where a rapids got the better of someone, they were also eager to help gather up lost possessions before they floated away.
On my fourth full day I returned to hike the Buffalo River Trail from Ponca to a bit beyond Steel Creek and back. The trail wound along the hillsides and bluffs, giving me a chance to enjoy the Buffalo from a slightly different perspective.
More Pictures from the Buffalo National River