Shoal Creek Trip Report Spring 1994

Courtesy of Shelby Johnson. Original author strongly suspected to be Ol' Man Lewis.


Tom Lewis (the Great One), Goober Chadbourne, Herr Hoffmann, Chuck "Skoal" Chevalier, Bruce Somebody, Fat Bob, Paul ("Fig Factor") Newton and another unknown descended unto Mt. Magazine SW of Russellville to run the much bally-hooed Shoal Creek. Flow appeared optimum at the take-out. Group size exceeded the "six-boater limit" proposed in Dr. Lewis's book "Chaos Theory and Shuttle Dynamics", and much putzing around occurred before getting on the crik. An interesting sandstone gorge with good gradient (about 70 FPM) was encountered, with a basically ledgey river bottom begetting good surfing waves and holes. Presently, however, the gorge walls receded and paddlers were presented with alluvial boulder pile rapids and beaucoups of "tree problems" to solve. The gradient continued, leading this participant to proclaim lower Shoal Creek as the pre-eminent "tree run" in Arkansas. Minor pins occurred with some regularity. Only one pool of any size was seen. Some idiot has a bull-dozer IN THE CREEK leaking diesel fuel about two miles above the take-out. According to locals, he is "looking for treasure".

Shuttle directions: Take Ark 22 west from Dardanelle. Go through New Blaine, cross Little Shoal and Shoal Creeks, and turn left (South) at the rock-slab business. Take-out is two miles upstream. For the put-in, return to Ark 22, go back toward New Blaine, cross Shoal Creek but not Little Shoal Creek. Turn right (South) at the country store, and stay on main roads basically bearing right except for the last right. Cross a large, new bridge on Shoal Creek, and put-in above the bridge. Fun on the creek is consistent, but there are no stand-out rapids. Higher water would increase fun and danger.