Keelboat's annual Ouachita journey on tap
posted Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 @ 1:56 pm
The annual journey of the Aux Arc keelboat, which is used to recreate the Dunbar-Hunter exploration of the Ouachita River of 1804-1805, is slated for late December.
This year's 75-mile journey will begin on Dec. 27 at Locust Creek Access between Camden and Hampton, Ark., and conclude at Crossett Harbor, Ark., on Dec. 30.
In addition to replicating the Dunbar-Hunter expedition the keelboat Aux Arc has floated the Black and Arkansas Rivers in Arkansas, the Cane River in Louisiana, and was showcased in the 200th anniversary of Catahoula Parish at Jonesville.
The vessel is a 38-ft. replica of the type of boat that traveled the Ouachita and other rivers in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the past eight years, the Aux Arc, pronounced "Ozark," has traveled down the Ouachita River from Camden, Ark. to the Mississippi River.
The crew consists of 13 men and women, young and old, who enjoy the river and history. They are members of the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association (EARA).
The Aux Arc was built by EARA was launched in 2004. Funding for this project came primarily from private donations and the Little Rock Rotary Club. The primary purpose for constructing the Aux Arc and floating the Ouachita River was to replicate the downstream travels of the Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804 and 1805.
The William Dunbar and George Hunter expedition explored and officially documented the Ouachita River from the confluence of the Ouachita, Black, Little and Tensas rivers to the hot springs located in present day Hot Springs, Ark. The Dunbar-Hunter expedition left St Catherine's landing south of Natchez in mid-October 1804 and by mid-November had arrived at current day Monroe. There, the original vessel was stored and a vessel with a shallower draft was leased.
The expedition arrived near the hot springs in early December 1804, spent the next four weeks making scientific studies and notations, and left the first week of January 1805. The expedition exchanged boats at Monroe and arrived back at Natchez by early February 1805. Official reports of this expedition were the first look at the Louisiana Purchase.
The primary propulsion for the Aux Arc are six rowing stations which can be supplemented, if conditions are right, by a sailing, poling, or towing by rope & foot power on land. During this trip the crew will setup and sleep in replica canvas tents of the early 1800's.
For additional information go to the EARA web page at www.arkansasw.us or contact Ed Williams at 501-944-0736 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.