This past Sunday was a good day! At the urging of my daughter and son-in-law we traveled to the Buffalo River National Park and spent the day. Our destination was Tyler Bend. This is a great area for canoeing and rafting but not a real great place for fishing. However, it was a very entertaining day.
Not being of the type that relish the heat too much, my wife and I were wanting to do something with the kids but not necessarily something out in the heat. The trip was about a two hour travel from the house. We loaded up about 7:30 and reached our destination at about 9:30.
It was a short walk from a very nice parking and visitor facilities to the high and far reaching bluffs of the river. After this short walk, it felt as if you were hundreds of miles into the wilderness. This idea was short lived however. After we had pulled out our chairs and preceded to make a small "day camp" on the edge of the river, along came a four wheel drive down the river with two Park Rangers.
They immediately asked for our fishing licenses since we had our poles with us. We were proud to present the license that were purchased over the internet the night before. Everything was ok. The preceded to tell us what we had already expected. This area was an outlet for the first leg of any canoe trips that were coming down the river. Their projection was that on this beautiful weekend that we would see hundreds of canoes.
They were right. After about two hours the canoes began to come. There were all kinds of people. All nationalities. All social status from the "just barely could afford to be here" to the "look at me, I have the best equipment and look good doing it"
What the canoers as well as us did not expect was that the Park Rangers were setting up camp just about 100 yards from us. There purpose was to make the day a "safe day" They were checking for glass bottles which were outlawed on the river as well as for proper life jackets and for fishing licenses if there were fishing gear in the boat.
We immediately began to watch what was to be the entertainment of the day. As people would round the bend in the river and see the Rangers, you could hear all kinds of exclamations echo off of the canyon walls. The rangers would stop each canoe and check for the contraband items or the safety equipment. It was obvious that glass liquor bottles were in many of the boats and we could hear the patrons exclaim as they found that they were being ticketed $125 for each of the glass bottles. The only reprieve from this was the couple whose only transgrission was chips and a glass jar of Picante sauce. The only got a "hot" Warning.
As the day went on the Rangers lined the bank with the bottles that either they or the canoers had emptied. It was a site to see as the Rangers continually confiscated and emptied the bottles.
It was very difficult, being just past the Rangers and in the line of traffic of the canoers, to not exclaim in conversation as they would pass by, knowing full well that they had just received a ticket, "Having a nice day". Well we only said it once and a few expletives were released about the nice day that they were having.
The only thing that was extremely during the day was to here the loud shriek of a young lady as she rounded the bend to see the Rangers. We could not see her boat but her seemingly drunken voice echoed an expletive of "OH! S*** across the river. The Rangers proceeded to give the couple a ticket which appeared to be for something other than the glass bottles of past canoers.
The couple continued down the river to our location with laughter, still appearing to be too enebriated to understand their fate. When we asked what they were ticked for the girl exclaimed that they simply were trying to get a little extra sun and had removed their clothing to take it in a little better. The Rangers felt that this was public waters and that nudity was prohibited ---$250 please!
Well the day ended with a drive back to the house, a few laughs about the Rangers and then everyone asleep except for the driver.
A good day on the River with the kids was certainly better than a day at work.