Our first visit to Ponca and the BOC was in 2007. As we did that year, this year we rented Cabin #4 at the BOC, which is right in the "downtown" area of Ponca. I'm not sure of the exact population of Ponca, but you could probably fit them all on a school bus. It's a great town with great people, especially Mike, Dakota and all of the BOC staff. Their cabins are a terrific value and provide easy access to the beautiful
This year, we spent 4 nights there. One of the great things about Ponca, is time moves at a slower pace. There's no rush to do anything, and it's better to do whatever you want to do at a more leisurely pace. This allows you to enjoy this wonderful piece of
On our first full day there, I got a little bit ambitious and attempted to get to one of the places along the
- A 5+ mile roundtrip hike with a dramatic 1300 foot elevation loss and subsequent gain on the way back. With 2 small kids, the hike down doesn't sound too bad, but coming back up could be a challenge.
- Canoe down the river and hike in about a mile, then continue paddling down river and shuttle back. Again, with the 2 small kids plus 2 older kids and my wife, we'd be pushing it to get us all in 2 canoes, and none of us are experienced paddlers, so it's a dicey proposition.
- Make a 9 mile roundtrip with significant elevation gains and losses plus a river crossing using the
trail from Kyle's Landing to Horseshoe Bend and back into Hemmed-in-Hollow. Buffalo River
- A 4+ mile roundtrip, level hike in the river bottom along the Old River Trail from Kyle's Landing. The catch... 5 river crossings.
Now, having been to the
We departed Kyle's Landing around 10am and headed down the short .2 mile trek to our first river crossing. The river was moving fairly swiftly, but it seemed shallow enough. I tested it out and made it across easily, so I retrieved my two "young'uns" and carried them across, then helped my wife and my 12-year-old daughter across. My 13-year-old son was on his own. The crossing was exhilarating due to the 55 degree, knee-deep water. We made it all safely across and arrived at our first landmark, the Arbaugh House. We only stopped shortly, as we were burning up time. After debating the first river crossing and shuttling kids across, we were already 1 hour in.
In order to get to the "Glory Hole" trailhead, I was given the following directions. These are not atypical of directions in Ponca.