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12/8/2012
  Today I journeyed to a creek that I have never been to before. I had heard of the East Fork of the Little Buffalo from way back as a whitewater kayaking stream, but never had the privilege to paddle it during my main kayaking years in the late 80's, early 90's. After eating a hearty breakfast at the Waffle House in Russellville at 3:45 a.m., Highway 7 was traveled northward to Hwy 16 West. Just past the bustling burg of Nail I turned right onto CR 303 and drove north to Union Grove Rd and parked at about 1.3 miles in. At 6:00 the dark forest enveloped my ass as I stumbled down Buckner Hollow. Sunrise would not occur until 7:05, so it was still quite dark and foggy. my headlamp lit the mist just in front of my face making visibility even poorer. Earlier in the week this area got a decent hit infusion of rainfall and there was still some water flowing in this small creek named after Stubby Buckner...famed woodcarver circa 1846...whose work can still be found in museums in this area. I passed a nice 10 foot waterfall as my boots slipped along over the wet leaves and rocks...the forest was damp from all the fog, you see.
  By 7:00 the valley floor was achieved and the East Fork was in view. The sun was nowhere to be seen due to the lingering fog and cloudy sky. So I made my way downstream in a northerly direction and found this to be a fine Ozark stream with a very wild feel. Nice sized boulders and a wide mix of rock sizes were scattered in the stream bed along with occasional gravel bars and bedrock. There is a spot where bedrock forms a narrow opening that is further narrowed by a large boulder jammed in the slot. I have seen this referred to as Johnson Falls. At one point the flow of water went underground for about a quarter mile. Many small bluffs line the creek here and there. My plan was to go as far as Thomas Hollow and follow it back up, but instead followed the ridge the lies between Thomas and Lee Hollows. At the top of this is a nice bluff line with some tall overhanging bluffs. After hitting road I parked on I followed it back for about 1.3 miles to my outdoor transport unit....out by 2:20 and heading home. This was a remote an rugged feeling valley similar to any wilderness area I've been to. I did not encounter another human the entire time until just before arriving at my vehicle. A nice guy that lived in the area stopped and talked to me for a while...he lived without electricity. This was a great hike with temps 60-65 degrees. Total distance around 10 miles.

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