Lee Creek, a spectacular Class II to III whitewater playground near the Oklahoma State Line, forms south of West Fork in Washington County, then flows to the southwest and its Arkansas River confluence near Van Buren and Fort Smith in Crawford County. It is a typical western Ozark stream with boulder garden rapids, banks lined with willow trees, small waterfall drops, a very narrow channel, steep banks covered with elm, oak and pecan trees and the classic Creme de Menthe colored water found only in northern Arkansas streams. It is also very remote and unspoiled, sitting within the boundries of Ozark National Forest. Lee Creek is fed by runoff into Fall Creek, Mountain Fork Creek, Cove Creek and Blackburn Creek. It is a very tight and technically demanding run that is well-suited for paddlers with at least strong intermediate level whitewater skills in creekboat canoes with flotation (spray covers are also nice) and kayaks. Tripper XL’s and expedition kayaks won’t cut the mustard on Lee Creek
Swift Water Rescues
Often times, especially on fast-moving water, a paddler finds himself or herself swimming in a river while their boat goes on without them. In such situations it is very important to know what to do and what not to do. It is also important to know how to assist another paddler who is in trouble without jeopardizing your own life or safety. Swiftwater Rescue Training is vital for all who paddle moving water, and hand-in-hand with that training is having the right type and amount of gear to effect a rescue if and when it becomes vital.
By far, the worst problem that can happen to a paddler, other than being pinned underwater, is hypothermia. Whenever a body becomes hypothermic it loses the ability to rewarm itself, and the brain loses the ability to think clearly and send signals to the body telling it what to do to protect itself. Left untreated, or treated improperly, hypothermia can and will lead to death. Modern medical science and technology provide adequate means of preventing death and reducing after-effects for persons rescued in a hypothermic state. Death occurs from one of two causes; (1) a hypothermia victim is not treated for their condition, or (2) a hypothermia victim is improperly treat for their condition. There are effective field measures that can be taken to save a person from severe cold condition if others know the signs of hypothermia, know the actions to take, and take those quickly.