“…and there were also with them other little boats.” Mark 4:36
We spent the past four days day-tripping around the Ozarks, trying out the canoe, car-topping on our latest BMW, a 1987 325e. Found a set of vintage Thule brackets on eBay, made bars from a piece of locust, lashed her down with a couple of ropes, and hit the road. So far, aside from time and a tank of gas, we have ~$200 invested in this venture.
First stop, Beaver Lake. Matt Ross has always been supportive of my boatbuilding ventures, so we launched at his dock at La Rue, topped off with a bottle of French cider. A stiff breeze from the northeast made for some pretty strong swells, and she rode them easily. Chippy took his first boat ride, salty dog…he stayed pretty close, spent the rest of his time there running along the shore barking like mad.
Lake Leatherwood at Eureka Springs is a gem. Owned and operated by the city, it has rental cabins, a beautiful old CCC timber and stone pavilion, and doesn’t require a fee or permit to launch boats. They’re also dog-friendly, good news for Mr. Chips. She heads up beautifully into a slight NE breeze.
Saturday we drove to the Buffalo River, stopping at the Ponca launch area. A short carry, wade through a shoal, and a hundred yards or so upstream we had the river to ourselves for the afternoon. Far from the madding crowd. Chippy has gained his sea legs, and is now posing as figurehead, naturally.
Alice took a few turns ’round the pool, showing off the lines of this lovely little boat. Leaning back on the thwart puts your weight just a bit aft of center, raising the bow slightly.
Lake Wedington, off Hwy. 16 west of Fayetteville, belongs to the National Forest Service. I don’t know who actually runs the place. Doesn’t matter. Just don’t bother, you aren’t welcome, and there are better places to get on the water. Lake Fayetteville and Lake Sequoyah, both Fayetteville city property, are similarly over-regulated slime pits. Lincoln Reservoir, a few miles southwest of Wedington, is open to the public and has walking trails and rock climbing.