ARKANSAS—On May 29, 19 adventurous Philadelphia Church of God members, including visitors from the St. Louis, Missouri, and Edmond, Oklahoma, congregations, woke up early to canoe the Buffalo National River for the central Arkansas’ congregation’s long-standing annual Memorial Day weekend float trip.
Prior to the float, the area had received enough rain to cause concerns that the river would be too high to float safely, but God intervened and provided perfect weather and levels for a relaxing trip. The water was just swift enough that very little paddling was necessary, giving canoers and kayakers ample opportunity to enjoy the majestic vistas and sightings of turtles and butterflies.
Members set out on the river at about 8 a.m. and stopped mid-way to eat lunch together and spend time skipping rocks and dipping toes into the chilly but refreshing water. The six-hour float was full of sunshine, fresh air and the beauty of creation.
Arkansas member and float trip veteran Meredith Howard said, “Every year on the river, it’s a new experience. New people, new circumstances, new river conditions: It never gets old or ‘usual.’ We are always looking forward to the excitement of what this year’s float trip, with this group, on this river will bring. It never disappoints.”
Floating the river for the first time, Local Church Elder Darren Verbout and his wife, Kim, said they appreciated the years of Church history, commenting: “So many of God’s people over the last 50-plus years shared family-bonding experiences on the Buffalo River.”
The Buffalo River was the first national river to be designated in the United States and is known for its beautiful scenery including the towering bluffs of the Ozark Mountains.