Compton Trail head to the top of Hemmened in Hollow Falls. Click on a picture for a larger view.
March 7th and 8th, 2014 Temps for a low 37 and a high of 57. Forecast was clear while we were there with rain coming in as we were leaving.
It was a Friday morning around 9:00 am. I was working outside for at&t and the sun was shining and the birds were singing and it struck me that it was a perfect day to be outside and I needed to be out on some trail somewhere enjoying all of this.
Made a call to my 20 year old son and said I want to go backpacking tonight do you? So he said yes and he would make some calls. Pretty soon we had 4 going at the spur of a moment. Then around 1pm I read a Face book email that said Joshua and some of his friends were going to the same place they had been planning it for a few days.
I had Marshall drive while I navigated with the GPS. The computer had us going a different route this time. The fields still had some lingering snow and I wondered what the trail would be like. Snow covered, muddy, slick? I cautioned the group that if the trail was dangerous I would be camping up top.
At the trail head we arrived with in 10 minutes of each others group and were soon packing down the trail in the dark. Last fall we found a short cut to the top of the Falls and I had it in my mind which stump to turn off at. Along the way in the dark there was only a couple of times they wanted to take a wrong turn but NAH..keep going as I remembered Si Robertson's funny antics... Soon down we went... down, down, down. 600 feet down over 3/8 of a mile. Did I say it was STEEP!!!! Did I say it was dark? Did I say it was a little muddy in spots... as the senior member of the group I was trailing...these youngins' they just keep going even when they slip and bounce..us older ones know not to do that... so I was a little behind navigating the trail. I was thinking during most of it... if I slip it will hurt. So from tree to tree down the trail I looked each step over looking for a place that wouldn't take me rolling down the steep hill. After about 30 minutes of INTENSE backpacking we arrived at the bluff face. GLORY, Glory Glory! This was my son's Marshall's first backpacking trip 10 years ago. We camped at this same spot. It was tough back then and it's been 10 years since we had camped here.
I followed for a bit and then asked... the rock over look is back that way. GRIN! We turned around and and made base camp. The weather was so nice and the forecast had 10% chance of rain so our group camped with out tents. Just pads and sleeping bags under the stars. Now I was on a incline and spent all night trying to stay under my tarp.. in the morning the only thing under my tarp was my head...I might as well had left my pad at home as I didn't get to sleep on it much..next time (LAY ON A FLAT SPOT) I picked that spot because I had 2 trees to hang a tarp over.. it was a bad choice. I paid for it with little to no sleep. BUT it was worth it.
Saturday morning the sun came over the hills and by 7:00 am we were all up and sitting around the campfire enjoying the view and the comforts of the rock ledge over hang.
We all laughed at our antics through the night.. those that snored got a good kick from their buddies and those that didn't snore got to do the kicking...GRIN! They said I didn't snore at all..I know why.. I spent the whole night crawling back up under my tarp and onto my sleeping pad.
I had some hot chocolate in my backpacking thermos and warmed that back up with my esbit alcohol stove and pot. I had 2 cups of it and added that as my water for my oatmeal with strawberries and it was delicious. Kind of like a warm no bake oatmeal chocolate cookie breakfast. Had some applesauce and a cinnamon trail bar and coffee. Sitting there with a warm fire 7 of us with a over look over the Buffalo River Valley 200 feet up on a cliff face. Wow it was spectacular.
After breakfast our group packed up our gear and then walked over to the top of the tallest waterfall between the Rocky mountains and the Application mountains. The youngins' did some climbing around down into the pools above the falls. There was a lot of water there and we were going to attempt a lost knife rescue but to much water and too cold to attempt it this time.
Returned back to base camp after talking to 2 other backpackers camped there. Joshua and Davis and Alex had spent the time gathering wood and hanging a tarp and preparing for rain keeping most of the wood stashed under a rock overhang. They did a great job. Marshall, Sam and Cody climbed down just to the right of our Rock outcrop down some 40 feet to a scramble along the cliffs over to the bottom of the Hemmended in Hollow falls. While they were doing that. I just sat by the fire and enjoyed the sunshine, the smell of the campfire just barely smoldering there adding one or two twigs every now and then for a little flame on the coals. It was one of those Wow God moments.
After about 45 minutes our group returned back with the laughter and antics that make it all fun and memories.
They said this hike from the bottom of the falls to base camp was about the same as what we were about to go up with packs on. YUP 600 feet of up for 3/8' of a mile. To me it was exhausting but going up it was not as much worry of falling down it as I had the night before. I use a trekking pole..that 3rd point of balance is a god send when things are tricky. It took about 30 minutes to get back up that section..I must have rested about 20 times up it.
After about 800 foot of elevation change and a few miles we were back at the vehicles in about a hours time.
We headed back to Harrison Arkansas for a lunch at McDonalds and at 11:45 we got our first shot of rain showers as we were leaving Harrison.
Got home and it rained most of the rest of the afternoon. My thoughts were on Joshua, Davis and Alex and I knew they were enjoying life and the colder rain because they were READY for ANYTHING!
Mark Jones Click on a picture for a larger view.