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Bluff Landing: Two Weeks On A Creepy River

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Bluff Landing is a Federal Recreation Area in Broken Arrow Oklahoma located on the Arkansas River of Death (ROD). Great campground with spacious sites. And $9.00 a night with a National Parks Access Pass.
Last Modified: January 11, 2023

Two Weeks Next to a creepy River

Ok, so, Bluff Landing is next to a cool creepy river. Why? Slow, deep river in the south wig me all the way out. They always have. I have spent time by the Connecticut River. Not creepy. I have spent time by the Nile River. Also not creepy. But slow deep southern USA rivers with greenish water. Yup. 

Didn’t help when my dear friend Lesley, who is sensitive to such things, saw the pictures she said: “Dude, that is the River of Death. It just sucks death to it. No kayaking.”

Not a problem. A quick trip to my buddy Google verified that that stretch of water does indeed eat people rather frequently.

In this case the slow and creepy ROD is the Arkansas River, which winds down from Colorado and through Kansas and the eastern corner of Oklahoma before going into Arkansas. Where I assume it stays slow deep and absolutely creepy. I grew up with a traumatizing painting in my Great Grandmother Lillie Barrow’s living room. A waterfall on a slow, deep southern river. Painting used to freak me out.

Enough on the River. I didn’t drown, get bit by a water moccasin or endure anything else unfortunate. Creepy or not it was beautiful and photo-worthy. But not once did I so much as touch its water.


The Campground on the River of Death

We landed at this campground on Sunday, October 24, 2021 late in the evening. The Campground Host checked us in and welcomed us. Most of the sites were empty for the whole time we were there. 

The campground itself was built by the Army Corps of Engineers and it one of several such campgrounds in the area. Outside of deep scary rivers of death I have no complaints at all about the campground or any of its facilities. Some of the fellow humans using the place were disgusting pigs (shit and piss all over toilet seats.) 

No respect or care for others. An all-too-common experience in these United States of the twenty-first century.  No reflection on the campground though, just the sign of an asshole in attendance. The campground and its hosts were great. And it did get cleaned. Eventually.

The sites were all waterfront, spacious. Most had 30A electrical service. There were a couple with 50A service for people with bigger RV’s. With my National Parks All-Access Pass the sites, which were normally $18.00 a night, are half off via https://recreation.gov. It had enough roads running around the various part that I was able to get my steps in everyday. 

Bluff Landing also has a boat launch that seemed pretty popular with the local fishermen who daily braved the River of Death.

Like all federally run campgrounds, Bluff Landing has a two-week limit and we were there for that. The only hiccup was we drove the RV into town one night and the host thought we had left and checked us out. Yeah. And I lost the dog. More on that 30-minute run of awful later.

Long story short I would definitely stay there again and recommend it to others. Maybe bring your own bathroom. We did.

The Dogs of Bluff Landing

People in Oklahoma seem to just let their dogs run about willie-nillie all over. Or maybe things like fenced yards and leashes haven’t made it to this part of the world yet. At any rate, there were three dogs that didn’t seem to have a place. Or maybe their place was a farm nearby. Whatever, they were all good dogs and I could count on either the bonded pair or the one walking around with me. And they were friendly and non-aggressive.  I enjoyed their company.

Losing Aby, Finding Aby

Aby is Margaret’s dog.She likes me well enough, but when Margaret isn’t there. She whines. And when a dumbass leaves the screen door open, she goes looking for mom.

And so that happened. I looked, yelled, recruited other campers. Wandered around in growing panic. Searched the RV again. after a while after calling Margaret in a state. I went back to the RV and there was Aby.

That was awful. I had the following visions such as her being taken by an owl, or a snake, or just eaten by the River of Death. But there she was. Looking me like “What’s up dude? Where’s dinner?” 

And there was a baby

Not at the Bluff Landing campground, but that was the whole reason for Oklahoma. The birth of Margaret’s grandson, Hudson. The original plan was to go to Florida to a town named Cedar Key on the gulf coast. I still have to work up my Florida love. I see the place as a foetid snake-and-alligator infested swamp whose destiny is to become sea floor. I still am not sure that I like OK much better. But the experience of this great campground on the River of Death, the people in Margaret’s family I met, and connecting with a friend of my daughter for dinner was grand as could be. 

Next Stop: Schulenburg Texas, which will consume about the next five posts!

Until next time…. Cheerio!

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