Seeking Partners for two different trips in TN and AR, March 16-23 2022

Big South Fork TN area and Buffalo National River AR

I’m looking for partners for one or both of the following trips. You don’t need to be available during the entire timeframe. If you only have a couple days available on the weekend I’d be happy to have you accompany me for part of Trip 1 below, as it’s pretty flexible. I also have an extra boat and boating gear available for someone to use if you’re “packraft curious."

About Me:
I’m a firefighter/EMT from Indianapolis. I’ve been packrafting for about 8 years, mostly in MI, KY, & TN; but also a little in WA, MT, and AZ. I’ve made a few videos of some of my trips. I like exploratory trips and getting into the unknown using a packraft, but I always try to be as prepared as possible beforehand.

Trip 1:
March 16 - 20. Creek Scouting in the Big South Fork, TN area.

I’m going to run a series of creeks to evaluate their suitability for later, more in-depth trips in the area. I haven’t run any of these before, but they all look promising from the topo. I’m planning to run each of them as separate trips, returning to the car to resupply and reposition between each one. We can hike the return distance, or run a car shuttle together. I’m flexible on which creeks to run, and which order to run them in. They run the gamut from 4 miles of slow-ish Class II to 20 miles of bigger Class III, but we can make this trip work for a beginning rafter if you’re interested. You don’t need to be available during the whole timeframe, because we can coordinate to meet somewhere and run just one or two of the creeks together if you’ve only got the weekend available. These may be scrapey depending on water levels, but the scenery is guaranteed to be amazing. I should be clear that I’m not looking to run the actual Big South Fork here, as that’s runnable most of the year and I want to take advantage of spring flows to scout the smaller creeks.

Further details here.

Trip 2:
March 21-23. Run the Upper Buffalo River through the Upper Buffalo River Wilderness Area, AR.

This one isn’t a trip for a beginner. You’ll need a relatively light pack and pretty decent fitness to hike the 12 miles off-trail as we pick our way up the river’s edge. Then you’ll need good whitewater paddling skills as we make our way back down the Class III or III+ river that probably has never seen a packraft descent. I think the hike will take 1-1.5 days, and the paddle should be 1 day or less. You’ll need to be resilient and comfortable with the unknown for this one. I have the off-trail navigation skills necessary, and I’m used to running rivers that are unknown to me out in the wilderness, so if this trip is stretching things a little for you in those areas, that should be ok. I’m confident I can get us through it. Parts of the river canyon may not be portagable without a great deal of work, so bear that in mind. More info here.

Let me know if you’re interested in either or both of these trips. Thanks!