Conditions Weather and trail. 03-14-2015 Compton Trail Head 6 miles but 10 by difficulty.  Temps high of 65 low of 45.  Saturday overcast and Sunday perfect weather and sunny.

The backpack started out as any normal pack.  Lots of interested people and spring break with the schools was underway.  Weather forecast went from 20% chance of rain to 100% chance with 3" forecasted for the area we were to backpack.  Friday morning our group went from 18 to 9 due to sickness and the weather.  So after making a few phone calls we moved the leave time from 5:30 Friday night to 8:00 am on Saturday morning bypassing 100% chance of a extra 1.5 inches of rain. 

 A lot more pictures at the end of this report!


Part of our group was on spring break and they went down early Tuesday morning and returned back to Springfield and then back down on Thursday morning.  I got a text of see you guys there.  Then cell signal where they were at.

At around 9:30 am we were just 20 miles from the trail head and I got a text from our Spring break group, "After 2 days of rain we are leaving the trail head.  We had a fire waiting for you guys up at the cabin and you never showed."  (Thanks guys I would have been there if it was just me).  It was amazing they got a fire going in that wet of a condition. 

We left Ozark at 8:00  am sharp and made good time to Compton Arkansas.  A quick 1.5 hour drive.  It was still raining so we stopped at the JB outfitter store there in Compton and looked around and picked up a few snacks.  Then on to the Buffalo River to check out the flood stage over Ponca low water bridge.  Yup you could just barely see the top of the curbs of the low water bridge.  Water was up after 3" of rain!

Then a quick trip back to the trail head at 11:00 am and it was blowing rain and everyone was thinking...what happened to the rain stopping by 10:30 am?  So down the trail we went.  300 feet drop in elevation over 1 mile is a pretty good hill and then a quick left at the trail crossing down to the cabin and the rain stopped for a bit.  The trail was so muddy our foot wear was all wet and muddy on the outside. That Gore-Tex sure makes us happy with dry feet inside those boots and shoes. 

At the cabin we found base camp just past the cabin 100 feet and found a couple of higher flat spots where no water was settling.  Soon 5 tents went up and Rob in his hammock.  We had everything stowed and ate a quick lunch and at 12:40 pm we headed back west to the Compton trail down to the Bottom of Hemmed in Hollow Falls.  (before the rain hit we had planned on walking along the top of the falls but with slick and muddy not a chance.  We chose to stay on the main trails they were muddy and slick enough as it was. 

No matter how you stack it.  2300 feet down to 1100 feet and back up is 1200 feet of elevation change both ways.  This was a work out trip.  This is a very tough trail just day hiking.  We saw many folks carry backpacks up and down this trail.  We also saw more people under prepared for this journey than those that were prepared.  They would soon learn a lesson on hiking sometimes it easy...sometimes it's HARD!    All along the way down into the valley we would get glimpses of the Highest Waterfall between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains as it shot a 8 foot wide wall of water down the 200 plus drop into the canyon.  You could hear it from half a mile away.  When we got with in 200 feet of the base of the falls the wind whipped our rain gear.  We got soaking wet.  The temps dropped by 10 degrees and my glasses could not be made to see out of.  We visited the falls for a short while and then made the climb back up 2 miles 900 feet up in elevation to base camp. It was around 4:30 pm and Rob with Garrett, Jackson, Jon, Brent's help with me overseeing it to make sure it would work of course.   GRIN!  Even after all that work it took us a hour to baton some dry hardwood into tooth pick size and scraped the bark off of some cedar branches to get the fire where it would have a chance.   Rob and the crew came through and by 5:30 we had a raging fire.

Normal great time around the fire.  Talking, cooking, eating, sharing, sampling, learning and great fellowship.  At just before dark Rob brought the council fire service and we soon enjoyed the dark and the quiet of the night settling in.  At around 9:00 pm a man came walking down the trail with his head lamp on and his dog with him.  Is this the way the parking lot?  I heard Rob laugh and said no...if you go that way you will be gone for a while.  The turn off is back that way at the trail marker.  The guy said he couldn't figure out the trail marker.  Soon he was on his way and not long after a HOOT Owl came a calling.  Dave was calling out to it and it would call back to him.  A little while later I was told Karen, David's wife sat up quickly and said David did you hear that.. do they have bears here?  I hear something grunting....Dave listened for a minute and said...that's just Rob over in his hammock grunting.  Fun stories to tell around the fire the next morning.

I came climbing out of my tent after hearing some stirring around and saw David kindling a fire and soon we had a warm fire roaring and all kinds of great food's were being cooked.  At 10:30 am we backpacked out and up the 300 feet climb of the 1 mile return trip to the vehicles.  A quick trip back to Ozark by 1:00 pm and all where heading home.  A lot of fun and a lot of exercise and it was good to get out in God's creation and be blessed by it all.  

Mark Jones

GPX file of the track for your gps.

Click on a Picture for a larger view.  Special thanks to Rob, David, Jon, Brent and Mark for the pictures.