Wow what a drop! May 9th, 2014. My son Marshall's 21st birthday. Temps mid 80 degrees and 61 for a low at night 0 percent of rain, so they said. Click on a picture for a larger view.
GPX File from Top down to Compton over look Rock GPX File from Compton Over Look Rock down to base of Hemmend in Hollow Falls then to Steel Creek Trail Head on the ORT.
At 9:30 am found out we could leave around 3:30 pm instead of 5:30 pm. I was glad as I knew what we were getting into. 2200 feet drop down to 1400 feet of elevation change in a little under a mile. I mean DOWN! The group of 8 Rob Batchman and I ran shuttle as we dropped off the other six of Marshall and his friends at the Compton trail head. Went over the trail and reminded them of the trail turn off. Rob and I drove about 11 miles over to Steel Creek and dropped my Truck off at the Steel Creek trail head where they launch all the canoes. We then made a quick trip back over to the Top of Compton and both of us were glad we had daylight for the backpack down to the Hemmed in Hollow over look rock. I mean DOWN! It took us about 45 minutes to make the backpack down the 800 foot drop and we found our group with hammocks hanging and oooooh the site to behold. Pictures don't do it justice.
We enjoyed the fire and cooking and eating and about 10 pm I hit my Hennessey hammock and could hear the group talking and laughing and carrying on. Pretty soon I heard Rob say there is a mouse that lives out here and he will be out soon enough... yup that mouse was about the size of a guinea pig and it was no mouse it was a country RAT! Ernie was roughing it with just a pad and no tent or sleeping bag. I could hear them talking about all the critters that were scurrying about as they were heading towards their up off the ground shelters or tents. Ernie was admiring the centipedes and the spiders and the Rat and visions were going through his mind as he laid there on his pad surrounded by all kinds of critters. Ernie is tough and a Patriot. He brought at US Flag and two six foot poles to hoist his pride and joy of the American Colors from the top of Hemmed in Hollow. I am sure that honor had never been done before. The flat was full size and Ernie was bound and determined he was hosting colors there.
About 12:30 pm I was awakened by the sound of 0 percent chance of rain and none of us had a fly up. So we scurried about in the dark in sleep clothes and put up our tarps. We had a good laugh the next day as we all got up and were laughing at our 0 percent chance and all being part of the no fly club we had been talking about the night before... HA we never learn. We would have been alright as it only sprinkled for about 2 minutes 2 times.
Saturday morning. 7:30 a.m. What a site. The Fog would move in and then disappear in seconds. The fog would swirl and twist and vanish. It was cool to watch. We had breakfast around the fire and were soon packed up and backpacking down the 200 foot drop from the overlook to the pool at hemmed in hollow falls. This was extreme backpacking as we several times had to lower packs staging folks up and down the drops. It was tough. I had a t-shirt under my shirt and got way to hot. When I say extreme. I mean it. I would rate it at about a 9 out of 10 as ten being the hardest. We did get to see Diamond Falls and walk right under it. It was cool as well. At the base of Hemmed in Hollow I sat on the ledge and was seeing spots and drank some water and laid down for a few seconds...no one really knew it but I almost never see spots. I shed my t-shirt and was fine the rest of the way. Note to self when it's 80 outside loose the t-shirt early.
Soon we were bounding down the trail to the Buffalo River enjoying a trail that not every step was hazardous. GRIN! Ok..every other step was hazardous but it was wonderful! Soon to our first river crossing of 9 river crossings. I had to take a dip and wash the sweat off of me and yup forgot about my glasses but with God's help I found them. We stopped at the jumping cliffs. There was over 500 canoes on the water and at many of the river crossings we had to dodge the floaters as they went by. We saw 2 snakes, turtle, frogs, all kinds of critters, birds and came across a rare site of two National park Rangers on horse back and enjoyed visiting with them for about 15 minutes.
The 6 miles of Old River Trail went fast and by 2:45 pm we were at my truck. A stop at the local Compton store checking out the backpacking gear there and buying sodas for everyone. Rob bought me a slice of pizza. Thanks!
Then home by 4:30 pm. A perfect birthday party and a great time. My wife pulled 4 seed ticks off of me before bedtime after me taking 2 baths. I almost never go backpacking in the summer months because of the bugs..but the river crossings make it all good! Blessings to all of Marshall's friends that made the trip extra special for us. You guys are just a bunch of noobs! GRIN!