Elderhostel White River Float Trip - Page 3 June 2005
View across the White River from Jack's Boat Dock
Marion introduced the staff and those who were helping with the rafts and gave everyone instructions about boarding the rafts.
We ate breakfast early (7:30) and I uploaded another page and had a cup of coffee. At 8:30 we boarded the bus. Since there are two too many for the bus, Ann and I rode with Marion and Grady Spann, the general manager of the park. We enjoyed the visit with them as we drove out into the hills to Jack’s Boat Dock on the White River. We had a break there and I took a picture of the bluffs above the road and the view across the river. Those are the two photos at the top of the page. When the river floods it reaches the house over on the other side. The bluffs and the dock roof will be visible again from the river at the end of our trip.
Some others joined our convoy and Ann and I rode in a van towing some of the rafts. We visited with a young woman from Louisiana, who was in Arkansas to visit her brother and do some of the tourist things with her family. We left the main road at Boswell and eventually go to a gravel road down to the river at Boswell Shoals. We loaded four to the raft. Ann and I rode with Ray and Martha. Our guide was Danny Thomas a retired math teacher, principal, and school superintendent. He makes dulcimers and other wooden musical instruments and has a shop at the Center. He is in his shop on Fridays and Saturdays. He also plays the part of a country musician from the 1820s.
We enjoyed telling stories and discussing the education system. We tracked our progress with the GPS and Danny was interested in getting one of those. We stopped for a break at the half way point and then went on. Soon a motor boat came from Jack’s to get us on back to the dock in time for lunch. We really weren’t that far away, but probably saved a half hour to an hour with the tow. These are the figures from the GPS: Total distance - 8.25 miles; Moving time - 2:25; Stopped time - 28 minutes; Moving average - 3.4 mph; Top speed - 7.6 mph. The top speed before the motorboat began the tow was about 4.5 mph.
We made sandwiches from supplies they brought from the Center and had lemonade and chips. There were no activities for the afternoon so we were able to nap or do sightseeing.
Carl King discusses a question from Ray.
Our Boat Guide
This evening, Carl King, of Creek (Muscogee) descent, presented a “living history” lecture about the native Americans from pre-historic times until the coming of the Europeans to Arkansas. He talked about hunting techniques and the move to farming. It is interesting to consider the list of all the vegetables that were being grown by the native Americans and then adopted by the Europeans. Potatoes, of course, are one of the major boons to the economies of some European nations.
Mr. King was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma but was brought to Arkansas by his father to be educated in the public schools. However, he was always interested in learning more of his ancestors’ ways and presenting that to the rest of the country. He now is a leader and involved with native activities all around the country and has opportunities to present this information to many groups.
As he became involved with his people, he received his Indian name, oh-nee-ka’-wah (He Keeps His Horse), from a medicine man who based it on a vision.
People are beginning to build nice vacation cabins and home along the banks of the river.
A view of the rafts back up the river. Ann and I helped row and we got ahead of most of the other rafts. There was a strong headwind for a while and we had to paddle just to move at a reasonable speed. We then got into some shallow areas and the current was swifter. The water was clearer than I expected and we could see the gravel river bottom when the depth was less than about five feet.
This rocky outcropping is visible from downstream in the next photos.
View upstream of the rafts approaching the landing for our midpoint stop. The outcropping in the previous photo is visible upstream in this photo.
Our raft was the second to arrive at the rest stop. The other raft passed us at a high speed and we weren't able to catch them. As can be seen in the other photos, the other rafts were much further behind. We were eating our snacks as they came ashore.
Many of our group had enough sense to move on into the shade. Our boat guide is on the left.
After about a 20 minute stop, we began boarding for the remainder of the trip.
View past some young fisherman toward the rafts that preceded us.
We hadn't gone far before a motorboat from the dock arrived to tow us on in to save time. He started with the ones farthest away and then came to the next in line. Thus the last were first and the first were last.
View back past Ray, Martha, and our guide to the string of rafts behind us.
When we got within view Jack's Boat Dock, we were turned loose to make our own way to shore. I don't know whether the others tried hard, but Ann and I paddled with all our might and so our raft got there first.
The cliff shown in the first photo is visible here on the mountain side above the dock. The road runs along the base of those cliffs. The roof of the dock is just visible at the edge of the water. The second photo at the beginning of the page was taken over that dock roof.
The other rafts gathering for the disembarcation. Since we were first to arrive, it gave everyone else the opportunity to see me slip backward over the back of the round inflated 'bench' into the water in the bottom of the boat! I feel onto our gallon plastic jug of water and that made the water even deeper. I couldn't even get up! There was nothing to grab hold of and I couldn't move backwards because I was wedged against Martha's legs and had her pinned against her bench! They all helped and I finally regained my feet, but I was soaked from thigh to mid-back.
Day 1 - Refreshments and Get Acquainted. Announcements and Introductions. Jimmy Driftwood Barn music show.
Day 2 - Folk Center history and Ozark Lifestyles. Blanchard Caverns and Springs Tour. "Charles Kelly, Sheriff of Indenpendence County"
Day 3 - Float trip down the White River from Boswell Shoals to Jack's Boat Dock. Evening program - Native American Influence with Carl King
Day 4 - "Long Walk Home" Jimmie Edwards relives an Arkansas Confederate Soldier's time in the Civil War. 1890s Parlor Party with the Brysons. Visit to the craft center. Ozark Folk Center country music program.
Day 5 - Tomahawk throw and history with Scott Reidy. Craft center visit. Signs and Superstitions with Deb Redden. Learning country games and dances with Mary Gillihan. The Herbin' League. More country music.
Day 6 - "This Ain't No Devil's Box" with Danny Thomas as "Gus Pike." Graduation. Then we visited Oil Trough, Arkansas, on the bank of the White River.