Adventure Arkansas: Backpacking on the Buffalo River

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

With the cooler temperatures, conditions are right to spend the day in the outdoors. Our friends at a local church youth group take 5NEWS along for a back packing trip with tips on how to make a hike with your family and friends successful too! 

Starting off from the Buffalo River at Ponca, high school students with First Baptist Church in Van Buren embarked on an adventure on the Buffalo River Trail. Pepper Bourlon, their youth pastor, lead them on the 10 and a half mile journey to Kyles Landing. He says the experience was a first for most of them.

"It was very cold when we got there, so they had to set up their tents, set their sleeping bags, and get everything ready. We had to build campfires, and that's new to a lot of them as well."

Pepper met up with us again at Fort Smith Riverfront Park to explain the necessities to prepare for a backpacking trip like this.

"When you plan to hike, you need a good pack, a good lightweight pack. I look at 25 pounds being the comfortable packing weight."

One of the most important things you need is fresh water.

"There are great water filters where you can just walk up to any stream and you can have some of the best fresh, clean tasting water you will ever drink and it comes out of the streams."

As for food and fire, this jet boil stove can boil 2 cups of water in less that 2 minutes.  It's time to talk about the tent.

"A two person tent packs down and weighs about three pounds. So this and your poles will get you everything you need to survive on your hike for 2 to 3 days."

It took roughly 2 minutes for him to set that up. The key to comfort on cold nights Pepper says is to isolate yourself from the ground with a sleeping pad.

Above all, Pepper says the most comforting part of the backpacking trips is spending time with family and friends in nature.

"With my two sons as well as the kids at the church, we come together around the campfire and we can talk and just lay aside all the things of life and you can just have a conversation in ways you can't with the hustle and bustle."

For more tips and trails, head here or here.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.