When I was in high school, sometime after floating the Buffalo River with the BSA, we took a winter float trip.
Frank Hart (I could use both names because he has not touched a computer since they first came out with them and it is highly unlikely to ever view this post) called me up and asked if I wanted to float Cadron Creek.
The question wouldn’t have been so amazing except that it was like January or February and even in Arkansas it was cold. I couldn’t imagine taking the risk of swamping a canoe in frigid waters. Of course now that I’m a Hoosier I know that waters in Arkansas in February is comparable to Lake Michigan in July!
I agreed that it would be fun and we scheduled a weekend. I showed up at Frank’s and there was not a canoe in sight. Instead there were two flat bottom boat type crafts. They looked just like a Ouachita flat bottom boat. The only difference was the bow and stern was pointed like a canoe.
This type of craft would best be called a pirogue, like “Jambalya filet gumbo, me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou”. Of course we had paddles and the water was colder and deeper than the bayou.
The trip, as float trips go, was pretty uneventful in terms of rapids. It was neat seeing some icicles hanging from the bluffs, albeit small bluffs like the ones you can see in the Ozark foothills just north of Toadsuck. For those unfamiliar with Arkansas that would be near Conway, but why say Conway when you can say Toad Suck?
Toad Suck is the site of a ferry crossing on the Arkansas River near Conway. I am a little fuzzy if it is a real place or not, but I do know that they have a little celebration called Toad Suck Daze -Frank sent me a hat and T-shirt from the celebration.
I think the whole thing is related to the fact that ferry operators took most of their pay for the crossing in trade – corn liquor. The way I figure the ferry operators are related to the inventors of the personal PC. I mean really! Who comes up with the mouse and it’s associated roller ball that must be cleaned. “Excuse me, I must clean my mouse balls!” Or the SCIS – small computer interface system- commonly referred to as the scuzzy cable. Yep, not such great leap from ferry operator to geek!
Of course I am bird walking! This float trip was unique because of the time of year. It was a bit of a risk because of the temperature and beautiful as a result. That pirogue thing was neat too for a non-cajun kid. Which makes me think of a different story on the Lake Ouachita. I tell it later.