The U.S. Presidential election of 1840 is probably best remembered for the Whig campaign song, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too. And today I found myself downstream from Tyler Bend on the Buffalo National River, where I had hiked a year ago, having spent the night just a few miles from Buffalo Point and Rush. Little did I expect, watching folks launch their canoes at Rush last year, that I would be in a canoe floating down the Buffalo a year later.
I’d never been in a canoe before, so Tippecanoe was on my mind, not because it means “buffalo fish” in Miami-Illinois, but because I well remembered my father coming home from a float trip when I was a child and watching him empty his soggy wallet, laying out each item to dry. I did not want to tip a canoe.
I was in good hands, however, with a group of friends from work who had experience with canoes. We had rented a cabin overnight near Buffalo Point. It slept 16 and there were only six of us. A couple took one bedroom and the others scattered, with me the only person bedding down in a dark basement filled with five beds – I took one in the far corner, which previous visitors to the cabin called the “lonely bed” in a memory book. No, that bed is not shown on the website. The quiet creaks above me when my companions visited the facilities in the night kept me from feeling too lonely, however. It was a great place for our stay.
This morning we secured three canoes for a 9-mile float trip from Maumee North to Dillard’s Ferry. We parked at the ferry and a school bus hauled us upstream to Maumee North where we split into pairs for the float downstream. The water level was fine and it was fun to paddle our way down the gentle river, saved in 1972 from the Corps of Engineers’ plans to dam it by its designation as the first National River.
Hardly any photos from this adventure, both out of respect for the privacy of my friends and because I have no waterproof floating case for my camera – I floated with only my car key on a bobber. But fear not, for I am spending two nights in Harrison so I can work in a few day hikes before heading back to Bartlesville for a two-day workshop.
I had originally planned to stay at a historic hotel, but it was fully booked, as was the Super 8 and other low-budget facilities. So I was forced to upgrade to the Hampton Inn, and I must admit it sure is nice to have good furnishings, spotless carpeting, and a comfortable bath. I’d take advantage of the pool, but I floated in the river multiple times today and don’t need more time in the water. Dinner was at Roma Italian restaurant nearby and quite good, although I’ve been spoiled by a great dinner yesterday and breakfast and lunch with friends.
Tomorrow I’m planning to hike to the falls at Hemmed-In Hollow and up Lost Valley, and hope to hike Sunday at Sam’s Throne and Round Top Mountain.