Solo Buffalo River Headwaters to Gulf

I’m laying groundwork / gathering info for a Solo Buffalo River Headwaters to Mississippi Mile 0 / Gulf of Mexico trip.


Hello All!!!

I’m a photographer by trade and I don’t know / can’t find anyone who has made this trip before, so I’m looking for input on a variety of issues, and reaching out to y’all. (Been checking the archives, web sites, books, lurking and what-have-you.)

Solo. (Said that once already.)

Photo Trip!!!

New Canoe!!! (considering We-no-nah Prism, Nova Craft Supernova, or Swift Shearwater) ~ throw your considered opinion or other choice into the ring.

Some class II/III (.5) with greater than II/III consequences (no way to get help) at the beginning (Hailstone Headwaters / Upper Buffalo) to Tracking and Tow Boat / Supertanker wake. (White/Big Muddy to the Gulf)

Any and All kind advice and input welcome for gear, logistics, provisioning, what to do / see, photo-ops, timing, and what-have-you.

Never made a long solo trip like this before. (Weeks vs. Months) Never put a canoe through a class III canyon run before. (Hailstone)

6’1” Solid 220. Intermediate to advanced water / boat / camping skills.

Will be buying new (camping, boat, photo) gear for this trip. (But, keep in mind, I will be keeping it all on the Buffalo River when I get back.)

Current Primary Concern(s): Can a solo long trip boat go from a Hailstone run to the Gulf (3 different types of rivers along the way) and do this reasonably well / which one? (And) Properly gearing up for this type of trip.

So maybe I’m over-thinking the trip, (if that’s possible), but I sure do appreciate learning from those that have paddled before me.

Thanks in advance and kindest regards,

~ David

Prism + Hailstone?

I’ve only paddled sections of the Buffalo near Kyle’s, but I don’t think I’d be looking at the Prism for the Hailstone section. (I don’t think I’d want to paddle a WW boat in the lower reaches either ;^)

Of the boats listed I’m guessing the Novacraft Supernova is gonna have the safest ride of the three in the upper reaches of the run and still progress through the rest, but a lot of that depends on ones skill level and strength, eh? I see staying with a single canoe model throughout the trip as a challenge you’ll feel most every day out there…


Maybe a Sea Wind (Kruger)
Good to hear from you!!!

I think you are right about the Prism.

I (basically) live on the Buffalo River, out my front door and in the water w/ canoe or kayak in 5 minutes tops, (walking), ~ pretty much as close to the river as anyone who lives here can get.

(I’ve always kayaked the hailstone run.)

Since I live here and I get to see it at it’s best, but that is what has me stumped for planning my trip, getting through the short, (and intense) hailstone run in a loaded canoe, something I’ve never done, and in a boat that will do it fine but when hailstone is all said and done most everything below that run is going to be a way different paddle.

Plus, (btw), living here it would be against my religion to forfeit a hailstone run to start a trip like this.

Someone suggested a Sea Wind to me today. (Maybe because one was paddled up the Grand Canyon by Kruger himself.)

Anybody out there that has one (a Sea Wind) feel free to chime in and/or anything else to add to the stew.


~ David

Buffalo to Gulf

It’s certainly been awhile since I frequently paddled the Hailstone solo in an old Blue Hole canoe(similar in design to the Buffalo canoes built in Jasper). I turned it around and paddled it from the bow seat and it worked quite well. I later used the same boat in my first forrays to the Boundary Waters. Bottom line, while there may be better flatwater boats around…something like the Buffalo boat might serve you as a good all-around choice. As for running the Hailstone in a fully loaded boat…do you really want to do that? Why not stash most of your gear down by Boxley, fill your canoe with floatation…run the Hailstone, and pick up the rest of your gear at the bottom?

I think you’d want something of an all around hull, maybe a 15’ or 16’Prospector. The choice has a lot to do with how much weight you need to carry - how often you can resupply. And, probably, you’ll want a spray cover set up to keep the water out.