Wilderness Preservation System

river
Arkansas Wilderness

About 5% of the United States, which is an area slightly larger than the state of California, is currently officially designated as “wilderness.” Of course, about half of that lies in Alaska, leaving a wilderness area approximately the size of Minnesota for the lower forty eight. In any event, since the Wilderness Act was passed in 1964, thirteen states have designated wilderness areas. I have explored many of them, and in preparation for my upcoming Arkansas canoe excursion, I have been in the process of updating my knowledge base before I travel through parts unknown.

As I stated in a prior post, my wife and I have been doing quite a bit of canoeing these days. Getting back into it, we are using muscles we had forgotten about years ago. Nevertheless, we are going through the training. Recently, we explored portions of the Matanzas River here in Florida that had been previously inaccessible. We learned quite a bit, especially how to prevent some of the swifter currents from washing us into the Atlantic in a tiny craft. That process alone had caused me to walk quite a few miles back to our Jeep before returning home. So far, my wife is still hanging in there.

When we hit the headwaters of the Buffalo National River, which flows down the center of the Arkansas Wilderness through a rough forested land of steep slopes that descend into deep valleys, she might get a little rattled. However, she has done these things before. The problem is the interior of the Buffalo is so remote, most people would freak out. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, black bears, and eagles abound. Smaller animals like foxes, raccoons, minks, beavers, and bobcats will make for some great photos.

When we portage the canoe, we will have to find our way through the area without the assistance of maintained trails. That is a little unnerving, but I love it. Whenever I return safely, I feel like I have the right to opine about the wonder of Nature for another year.

Anyway, that is what we are up to, and yes, I know I should probably do this myself. I will keep you posted on our progress.

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Comments

  1. I've never been canoeing. I bet it does use a ton of muscles when the water is rough.
    While the weather is cool, go out and enjoy!

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    1. Alex: Will do. Everybody has his or her thing. This is mine

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  2. Alex: Will do. Everybody has his or her thing. This is mine.

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  3. Eyes open for an Ivory Billed Woodpecker. If they still exist, you will be in their habitat.

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    1. joeh: I thought they went the way of the Dodo, but I'll keep looking.

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  4. Oh, yay, I can comment here! This was blocked to me for some reason.

    Oh, your travels sound wonderful. Canoeing! I think I prefer to hike, but long ago enjoyed canoeing the Peace River.

    Are your trips for the day only? Do you camp out there?

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    1. A-M: I also like to hike. Carol and I have done a ton of it. Yes, we camp too. On the Arkansas trip, we will have no choice but to camp.

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  5. I admire your wife for being such a trooper! It must be tough keeping up with you. Enjoy your adventure!

    Julie

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    1. Thank you, Julie. My wife is a trooper. She is really making this trip for me. We did a ton of this stuff when our kids were growing up, but now, it will be quite an adventure.

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  6. Canoeing should be quite an experience. I never tried it. It is not very popular here (but there are always some people doing it).

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    1. Fanático_Um: It will be a good one. I used to do a lot of this by myself, as well as many canoe trips with my wife, but this should be different.

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  7. In the northwest we are certainly familiar with canoeing. However, the idea of such a long and wild trip is far beyond what most people will ever do. I love when people find something that they are so into, that they will sacrifice much to achieve their goals within their interests. Pushing yourself hard is such a healthy thing. It seems you have had this experience many times in your life and have reaped the benefits of it.

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    1. Jasmine: The Pacific Northwest is actually what got us started on canoeing years ago. We did long stretches of the Snake River, including some Class IV rapids. When our kids were growing up, camping, hiking, fishing, and canoeing were regular activities.

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  8. I am blown away by your chutzpah--Yiddish meaning nerve. Having been carried away by a little squall on our lake, I take my hat off to you. I was scared to death and decided maybe I didn't need a kayak after all. Build those muscles brother! And do take along survival equipment like flares.

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    1. Linda: Nah. I spent a great deal of time when I was younger on wilderness survival trips. I used to trek into parts unknown and explore. I learned a great deal. When our kids were growing up, we took less strenuous trips with them, but the whole family is used to it. Today, it will be a wee bit more strenuous, but we will have fun.

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  9. Replies
    1. Robin: What good is being nuts if your friends don't appreciate it?

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  10. Hi JJ .. enjoy the time - brave lady wife too! Cheers and hope all goes really well - Hilary

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