SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – December 1999

Holiday On Arkansas' Ouachita River

Let the masses shop till they drop: On Arkansas's Ouachita River the pace is slow and easy.

by: Gary Lantz

PAGE 1 2

What do outdoor lovers both naughty and nice wish for this holiday season? How about a 1.7 million-acre woodland present wrapped in solitude and tied together with a ribbon of river? If that sounds like your cup of holiday cheer, then try an early winter canoe trip on the Ouachita (pronounced wash-i-ta) River where it spills 70 miles through the Ouachita National Forest of western Arkansas.

The Ouachita is a popular summer playground for splash 'n' party folks, but by December the deer, turkey, mink, otter, and eagles have taken over. Floating from the Oden Public Access downstream to Fulton Branch near the upper end of Lake Ouachita is memorable any time of the year, but never so tranquil as in December. A few red and gold leaves still cling to tall hardwoods. Green pine boughs add a dark accent to the waning winter light, and 'tis the season to appreciate sculpted bluffs festooned with gnarled junipers draped with wispy strands of old man's beard lichen.

Expect daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s and nightly lows just above freezing at this time of year. Water temperatures should be in the 50s, so a dry change of clothes is a must, in case you get wet. For anyone who likes to drop a line overboard, October through March is peak fishing season for largemouth and spotted bass.

A lovely stretch of the river worth running in early winter begins at the Oden Access and meanders downstream 17 miles through sun-dappled riffles and waterfalls (Class I at normal river levels) to the Fulton Branch's canoe access/campground. A trailhead here connects to the Womble Trail, a 38-mile ramble atop riverside bluffs.

Some paddlers end their journey with a dayhike at Fulton Branch, while others stop about halfway and explore the Womble at Rocky Shoals, another canoe access/camp-ground. Many simply stick to the river for bluff viewing and wildlife watching or find a quiet campsite on a secluded gravel bar. Either way, it sure beats holiday shopping at the mall.


PAGE 1 2


Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Am I missing something here?
Posted On: Apr 17, 2014
Submitted By: Ecocentric
Trailhead Register
This is my 1000th post
Posted On: Apr 17, 2014
Submitted By: bigsilk
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions