Bowers Hollow Falls April 8th -9th, 2011 Two and a half hours drive south of Springfield, Missouri. 21 folk head out for a overnight backpack and day hike into the Buffalo River National Park. 5 vehicles loaded 3 were 4-wheel drive. 12% chance of rain and lows in the 60 degree and highs in the upper 80 degrees. It was warm for a backpack yet with the water filter we had plenty of water. I am the dork with the helmet and head cam. Click on a picture to get a larger view.
The outing started with calls coming in Wed, Thursday and Then on Friday. Numbers always change and we had 21 going. Ages ranged from 60 to 13 years old. Four years earlier 4 of us visited this fall in February and it was icy and cold yet it was still awesome. This trip we just visited this one fall. It was so beautiful that we spent 2 hours hanging out around it exploring and enjoying the paradise we had hiked into. If you can imagine a paradise dream this was it.
Friday evening we left right on time. and met 2 other vehicles along the way and after a 2.5 hour drive we parked the 2 wheel drive vehicles and shuttled the rest of the 1/4 mile to the trail head. Headlamps and packs and walking sticks. The trail was a muddy mess. We were surprised to see the trails muddy and water running down them. After a short 1/4 to 1/2 mile backpack in we setup base camp and settled in for the evening. All kinds of things were cooked on stoves and steaks were cooked on the fire.
Rob brought the evening council fire service and stirred our hearts with good Godly Wisdom. Most of the group headed off to bed around 11pm and a few night owls stayed around the fire and talked. I was only about 20 feet from the fire so I got a ear full on the issues that face boys and young men today. After a hour or so a copperhead snake crawled over the top of my sons boot and the 5 night owls were on a snake hunt with me saying... leave the snake alone. It will be a long painful ride to the hospital if you get snake bit. I heard the usual stuff you hear from boys. Let's kill it. Nah leave it alone. Hold it I want to grab it...no. Praise God there was some wisdom in the night owl crowd. Soon they were back to the campfire and then somewhere in all that it got quiet and the next thing I remember was the Sun coming up.
The morning was busy at 7:30 with folks cooking breakfast or having their coffee or eating a trail bar or a peanut butter sandwich. Nothing in my opinion beats cooking around the campfire on a backpack. It's the best! Right after the morning devotion we packed our day packs and headed out for a hike of hikes. 9:20 we were on our way with many warnings to the boys to bring plenty of water....no promise of water down there.
The trail 4 years earlier was pretty much a easy hike. This time. It was covered by fallen trees from the ice storm of a century in Arkansas 2 years earlier. I would guess we climbed over
50 trees that 4 miles to the falls. At the turn off to the falls we really started a bush whack down a stream that ran to the falls. It was tough at places. Other places it was just purdy.
At the top of the falls the oooh's and awaahs were a constant. We enjoyed the view from up top for about a hour and then most of the group went down into the gorge by the fall pool. If you can imagine paradise this place would have been in that picture. The warm sunshine and the cool mist of the falls and the babbling brook and the sound of the water fall was way past what I can describe. My son told me. Dad this is the best place ever. Everyone just wanted to hang out and explore or enjoy this place. We did have to use a French Bowline and rescue one 13 year old that like a kitten had climbed up to a point where he needed help getting out of there. After some scolding of don't be climbing he scampered off. He was the boy in the waterfall...go figure. If God wasn't in this Royal Ranger program it would be safer to stay home. Statistically more accidents happen at home. So come packing with us.
At about 1:00 pm we hiked back to base camp and it was a close 89 degrees with a little breeze. Fresh filtered water from the fall pool was consumed by the gallon on the way back to base camp. Back at base camp we quickly broke camp and backpacked out to the 3 four-wheel drive vehicles and filled them to the brim and then drove back to our parked vehicles to a ice chest full of ice cold CHEAP sodas. They razz me about buying the cheap stuff but after a backpack nothing beats a ice cold CHEAP soda!
We then stopped at McDonalds for snacks and food or treat and then returned back to Ozark by 5:30 pm. We had a great time. Click on a picture to get a larger view. Video link at end of pictures.
3 minute video of us down at the Bowers Hollow Falls.