Information on Boen Gulf Cr.

Boen Gulf Cr.

	Rating: IV-V
	TDCR: ????
	Location: Newton Co.; To reach the put-in, follow Hwy 21 south from 
	    Boxley toward Mossville. After you pass Mossville, look for a 
	    bermed road on your right that has a large turnout area where 
	    several cars can be parked near the highway. This is the access 
	    for Paradise Falls described in Tim Ernst's Arkansas Waterfalls
	    book.  Park and drag over the berm and down the old logging road.  
	    The hike to the creek is about a half mile total, but it's not 
	    too bad a brushwhack if you can manage to stay on the old roads.  
	    Pass the first road trace that turns to the right and continue 
	    as the main road bears to the left (south). Take the next old 
	    road trace downhill on the right and follow it as it heads down 
	    and back to the northwest. The next turn is very hard to find. 
	    You'll pass one road trace going downhill toward the creek on your 
	    left, but keep going a bit further and take the second one. This 
	    one barely looks like a road anymore, and it's easy to get lost in 
	    the woods on the way down. If you follow it correctly, you'll 
	    intersect the creek very high up in the watershed at an elevation 
	    of about 1980 feet,just above a 5-foot ledge where the old road 
	    crosses the creek. Ernst's book and a good GPS and compass are 
	    very helpful. It's a good idea to hike down this trail before 
	    you have a chance to run the creek, just to make sure you can find 
	Topo Quad(s): Fallsville, Boxley
	Gradient: 230 fpm (300 fpm max)
	Length: 10.25 mi. (2.75 miles on Boen Gulf plus 7.5 miles on Hailstone Cr.)
	Season: FLOOD
	Gauge: The USGS Buffalo at Boxley should be very high - 8+ feet is a good 
	    indicator. However, if you wait for the gauge to update, you may have 
	    missed the water. Look for 2.5+ inches of rain in just a few hours on 
	    the Buffalo Tower and Swain rain gauges and get there when the rain 
	    stops to catch the creek. Smith Cr. is a good indicator - look at 
	    Smith from the Hwy 21 bridge. If it's muddy and running high, you 
	    probably will have enough water on Boen Gulf.  The only way to be 
	    sure is to jog down to the creek and climb back out to either boat 
	    or drive on - not an easy task, but one that can avert the unpleasant 
	    experience of dragging a boat back up the hill if the water level 
	    is in doubt.
	Hazards: strainers, severely undercut rocks, severe rapids, hydraulics, 
        waterfalls, etc.
	Description: Boen Gulf sheds more total gradient than just about any 
	    other Ozark steep creek. Dropping 650 feet in just under three miles, 
	    it falls from the top of the Ozark plateau down to the Buffalo River 
	    valley through three distinct gorges. The put-in elevation of 1980 
	    feet is probably the highest anywhere in the Ozarks; you're still in 
	    the nosebleed section when you launch your boat. The rapids range 
	    from fairly tame to some of the wildest drops yet attempted in 
	    Arkansas. If you can find the put-in (no small feat), the creek 
	    starts by dropping over a small ledge with a punchy hole into a 
	    large eddy on the right in a shallow cave. This starts the first 
	    gorge of the creek, but the rapids are relatively tame class III 
	    for the next 1/4 mile. You probably should be scraping some rocks 
	    here, or the level downstream may be more than you want in places! 
	    The first big drop presents a large horizon line and warrants a scout. 
	    "Dog Barf Falls" is a fairly straightforward ledge, but it foreshadows 
	    bigger things to come! After Dog Barf are two very rocky drops 
	    back-to-back. At all but the highest water levels, these will need 
	    to be portaged down to the next confluence. A creek merging from the 
	    left doubles the flow - a common occurrence on the way down Boen Gulf. 
	    There are always trees to contend with in the next couple of miles, 
	    and the current doesn't slow down very often, so be alert. Just after 
	    a small drop into a creek-wide hole, get out at the top of a low-angle 
	    slide to scout "Paradise Falls" on the left bank. It's hard to see 
	    the bottom from the top - a rope to rappel down somewhere on the left 
	    side of the gorge is an excellent idea. Paradise is about as impressive 
	    as it gets in the Ozarks: a fast slide with some tricky diagonal 
	    holes feeds a near-vertical fall that is 25+ feet high. The water 
	    explodes off of rifts in the rock face on the way down creating ominous 
	    looking rooster tails before it all crashes into a big hole at the 
	    bottom. The fall has been run several times, but high-volume creek 
	    boats with blunt, rockered bows are essential gear. A feasible line 
	    is down the middle of the drop, hopefully maintaining an upright 
	    attitude all the way down. This is class V creekin at its finest, and 
	    the portage on the left may be nastier than running the drop! After 
	    leaving Paradise, the creek settles down as it emerges from the first 
	    gorge. Dozens of class III drops, and at least one tougher rapid are on 
	    the agenda until the creek seems to disappear into a big pile of rocks. 
	    Get out on the left to scout or on the right to portage the next 1/8 
	    mile. This is the second gorge consisting of large drops with many 
	    hazardous undercuts and sieves. A large siphon under the rock in 
	    the last drop awaits any swimmers, forming a deadly, hidden trap. 
	    This is nasty, class V+ water that most boaters will want to portage 
	    in its entirety. At the end of the ugly gradient is a small pool 
	    leading into a jumbled drop on the right that feeds onto a low-angle 
	    slide. Catch an eddy at the end of the slide where rocks push the creek 
	    to the far left into a slot. This is "Smack Yer Bottom", a ten-foot 
	    spout landing on a bedrock slide. The impact at the bottom will hit 
	    you very hard with a landing that is too flat or too steep. A screw 
	    up in the churning slot above could result in very serious injuries. 
	    The portage on the right side is simple. The slide continues down 
	    to another creek confluence that marks the end of the second gorge. 
	    The rapids mellow out for a short while, but a third gorge awaits! 
	    You'll suddenly find yourself looking for eddies among the rocks. 
	    The creek twists and drops constantly for the next 1/3 mile. Some 
	    drops that might be singled out are "Huck & Duck," where a huge dead 
	    tree on the first descent forced everyone to duck while running a 
	    slot drop into an undercut rock, "Splat To Hell," where a relatively 
	    easy looking drop bends sharply right, pushing into a boiling pile 
	    that will trap wayward boaters in a sieve on the left, and
	    "Double Crack," which presents two interesting ways to vertically 
	    pin at the same spot in the midle and a potentially nasty surf 
	    on the sneak route on the far right.  This section presents dozens 
	    of opportunities for pins and is basically one long class IV+ rapid 
	    when the water is up good. Just before reaching the Hailstone, the 
	    rapids ease up and the gorge recedes. The Hailstone will no doubt 
	    be in flood, with lots of huge waves and big holes to deal with. On 
	    the first descent, the group made it down Boen Gulf in good shape, 
	    but had multiple swimmers in the willow jungles on the Hailstone 
	    just above Boxley. Don't let your guard down! The first known descent 
	    was made on 5/16/2003 by Bill "Fish" Herring, Noah Fraiser, Lance 
	    "Lazer" Jones, Ray Skinner, Billy Williams, Mike Oglesby, and 
	    Kyle Bogard. Obviously Boen Gulf is only suitable for boaters 
	    comfortable on steep, class IV+ water who have their helmets 
	    strapped on tight!	

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