Information on East Fork of the Little Buffalo
Rating: III-IV (V)
Location: Newton Co. Put in is reached from a county road 2 miles
southwest of Deer on Hwy 16. Turn north on this road and
follow it for approx. 4 miles to a house. ASK FOR PERMISSION
TO ACCESS THE CREEK. Drag your boat 1 mile down an old logging
road to the creek. Take out is reached by taking Shiloh
Rd. east of Hwy. 21 just south of Mossville. Drive for
2 miles and take the right fork. Descend a steep hill for
4 miles to a wide low-water slab across the creek.
Topo Quad(s): Swain, Murray
Length: 8 mi.
Gauge: Water should be flowing over the Buffalo R. low water
bridge at Ponca. Also, low water bridge at the take-out
should be under water for an optimal run.
LINK BUFFALO NATIONAL R. GAUGES (UPDATED HOURLY)
Hazards: strainers, Johnson's Squeeze (V)
Description: The upper section of the EFLB, as it is locally known,
is a classic Ozark creek run. At the confluence of Barberry
Cr. the EFLB is a very small steep creek, but it picks up
volume from three tributaries in the first mile and becomes
a sizable creek run. Half Moon (III) is the first
notable drop encountered followed by Johnson's Squeeze (V)
where the creek is severely choked down. Portage Johnson's
Squeeze on the left, and beware of entering the upper part
of the drop accidentally. You may be forced to fight for
your life in the Squeeze, as it's namesake, Jon Johnson, can
attest to. Although it certainly is not recommended, the
Squeeze has been a handfull of times with varying success.
The first runs were on the right at very high water
by Ryan Johnson (4/22/96), and then on the left crack side
(2/21/97) by Mr. Johnson as well. Don't try this
at home boys and girls. It's a definite hazard to life
and limb at any level. Numerous class III and III+ rapids are
encountered below the Squeeze and some of the best scenery
in the Ozarks surrounds padders in this stretch. After this
first gorge, the gradient relaxes a bit. When the creek
looks like a blind jumble of boulders again, you're at the
start of the class III-IV Second Gorge. It starts with
a mean hole with a twisting approach nicknamed "Obliterator"
- a name often deserved at high levels when the hole
tends to efficiently separate boaters and gear. A rope
here and a look at the lines are both good ideas. Drops
are continuous and blind for the next quarter mile,
and at high water the area is basically one long class IV+
rapid. It's fun, but it's serious fun - there are sieves
and hazards lurking in many places, so stay on your toes.
After the Second Gorge, the gradient again eases, but
class III drops keep appearing. Just after a driveway
crossing with a house and barn on the left, an easy class
III drop leads to a short pool above "Swinging Bridge Drop."
Just look for the old footbridge above the rapid. This
begins the Third Gorge, about the same intensity and length
as the Second, but with a very different personality.
The hardest drops come at the end, and don't relax too
soon, because a class III+ drop with a brusing landing
zone appears after you think the gorge is over (there
is a sneak to the left). There is a possible takeout
point at a low water bridge about a mile below the
Third Gorge, just past where Stepp Cr. enters from the
left, or you can continue down to the Murray takeout.
All boaters should have good creeking skills on
class III-IV water before attempting the EFLB. It's
one of the best runs around if you have the skills,
but it's a long a bruising day if you don't!
Thanks to Shelby Johnson for information on this run.
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