Maybe you’ve heard of #OptOutside. It’s a brilliant campaign REI launched five years ago wherein they close all their stores, including the one online, and pay their people to enjoy the outdoors instead of succumbing to the craven insanity that is Black Friday. The Arkansas Adventuregram crew doesn’t work at REI, but opting out seemed like a great idea to us, so we borrowed it! We didn’t figure they’d mind (no blowback from REI’s legal department to date).

We had long planned to spend Black Friday (and the rest of the weekend) outside, but we were staring down the barrel of December and a sketchy forecast had us wondering what our options might be. Still, we held out hope that those puckish weather gods would favor our quest, and by Wednesday things were shaping up for a shot at a beautiful day on the upper Buffalo. Favor indeed! So, we decided to load up the company truck, hook up the raft trailer and make our way to Erbie. You can learn more about Erbie and other Buffalo River campgrounds on our Camp page.

Erbie, Buffalo National River, Camp

The Road to the Campsites

Erbie is just a hop, skip and a jump from Ozark, another campground on the upper Buff. However, unlike Ozark there are no services (except TP in the vault toilets which I very much appreciate). This means there’s no running water, no electricity and no trash service. It also means fewer visitors and no fees! Those are two advantages that well outweigh the disadvantages as far as the Arkansas Adventuregram crew is concerned, but hike your own hike. Speaking of hiking, Erbie is also a splendid base of operations for anyone interested in the Cecil Cove loop, Goat Bluff Overlook, Hideout Hollow and even Buffalo River Trails.

Buffalo River Trail, Erbie, Cedar Glade Overlook

Cedar Glade Picnic Area and Overlook, Buffalo River Trail

We weren’t there to hike, though. We were there to boat and sit by the fire. Who knows? Perhaps we were still in the clutches of a Tryptophan hangover, but I digress. We arrived at Erbie before dark Friday (a major accomplishment for us) and chose our home for the weekend. As we stared at the fire that night we discussed the feasibility of getting on the river. Our plan had been Steel Creek to Kyles Landing on Sunday, but that was based on Weather Underground’s prediction that Sunday would be the nicest day. However, just prior to our departure Saturday had begun to show remorse for its choices and present itself as the better option for a river day. We already knew water levels would be optimal, so we resolved to drive just far enough from camp Saturday morning to find cell service and check the weather.

Erbie Campground, Buffalo National River

Decisions Decisions

Saturday dawned cool and cloudy, but after breakfast we set out as planned in search of a forecast and were elated to learn there was indeed an outstanding river day in store with mild temps and abundant sunshine. We arranged a shuttle and headed back to camp to drink more coffee and prepare Blue Steel for his day on the Buff. In addition to launching Saturday instead of Sunday we decided to put in above Steel Creek at Ponca.

Ponca, Buffalo National River, Aire Tributary

Two Visitors at Ponca Interested in Blue Steel

This proved to be a very good decision. Stay tuned…

See you out there!





CAO (Chief Adventure Officer) at Arkansas Adventuregram
Luke "Deuce" Coop is a lover of adventure and the written word. He's paddled, rowed, camped, fished and hiked across the map but his favorite outdoor adventure playground is his own back yard. Whether he's fishing and camping on the White, float camping or running the entire Buffalo, paddling the Mulberry, Little Missouri or Big Piney creek or hiking the Ouachita or Buffalo River trails he's right at home adventuring in Arkansas, and he created Arkansas Adventuregram so you can join him. He looks forward to seeing you out there!

Latest posts by Deuce (see all)