A school bus and a trailer of canoes brings thoughts of summer camp in the 1980s. Maybe I feel that way because I went to camp in the 80s, but the fact that I took this photo in 2018 shows that traveling back in time is possible if you visit one of the many rivers of Northern Arkansas.
Back in mid June, my son and I headed down to the Buffalo National River for a five day camping/canoeing trip with a few other fathers and sons. We arrived on a Monday and set up a base camp at Tyler Bend campground. This is where you find the Buffalo River visitors center, which is run by the National Park Service. The Buffalo was the first national river in the US, getting it's federal protection in 1972 after many people had fought the plans to dam the river and turn the area into a lake.
With crystal clear water, high cliffs, and abundant wildlife, it is easy to see why previous generations fought to preserve this river for my son and I to enjoy today and hopefully again in the years to come.
My son will be turning 11 next month and this was his first "high adventure" trip. For this outing we needed to upgrade some of our gear, such as our water filter and cooking stove for the back country camp site we would be setting up on the banks of the river. With this new gear our load was light and our camp was comfortable.
My watch is also part of my gear, and choosing to bring this Venture came down to the fact that I thought the orange dial looked great with my blue UV shirt. The Venture was also a good choice because of the overall matte finish and casual look of the watch. I was glad I took the orange Venture, I found myself enjoying it more and more as the days passed. The watch was a great partner on this trip and when I wear this watch in the future I will remember the time we had on the Buffalo.
Our gear was minimal on the river, just the basics, and in these situations "less is more"... if you don't need it, don't bring it. This philosophy is similar to how I design watches. I often say "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should", or "keep it simple". These excursions give me time to get away from the office and field test a watch. For this trip the orange dialed Venture seemed like it had been designed and produced just to be here this week. The Venture was calling out to me to go, like my dog waiting by the door to take a walk.
In the photo above you can see the peace and calmness of camping away from the busy campground back at Tyler Bend where our base camp was on the first day. When you camp in the back country you are more satisfied because you had to work harder to get there. You are far from the car and in this case we were out of cell range and roaming service.
Below you can see just how comfortable we made our camp as my son is still asleep at 6:00am even with the birds at full volume. He was worn down from the miles of paddling and playing in the water we had been doing over the last few days.
On the final day we needed to reach our exit point by 1:30pm for the outfitters to pick us up and drive us back to our cars. This day turned out to be the best day for seeing wildlife. As we paddled the last few miles we saw deer crossing the water, bald eagles flying overhead, and a family of 3 otters walk into the river and swim across. It was great and made me think about bringing my full frame camera and 200mm lens next time.
We made our exit point on time and got back to our cars soon after. Once we were at our vehicles, I spent some time organizing my gear and getting things situated for our 5 hour drive back home. As far as road trip distance, this is about perfect. It is far enough that culture and landscape has changed from our home town, but close enough that it can be driven in one day with a few stops along the way.
If you would like to write up a story about your own experience with your Raven watch, please let me know and I would be happy to publish your story here on our website. I can also help plan the write up, or give you suggestions on how to take the photos. Just contact me. Thanks! - Steve
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