Backpacking Trip Report: Erbie Loop

State:

Arkansas

Location: Buffalo River
Type: Loop

Mileage: 4
Days: 1

Loop begins at the East end of the campground. It crosses the horse trail in a few places so a map is needed to keep track of where to go. There is a trail that drops down to the river and there are places to camp. From there back track up to the main trial and then continue on the loop. The trail makes an ascent to go along the river. There are several places where the trail intersects with the horse trail and the loop can be extended or shortened depending on the trails taken. The hike passes by some old homesteads. The main one is the Parker-Hickman homestead. The place was taken over by the government when the river became a National Park. On up past the house is an old cemetary dating back to the 1800’s. There’s a lot of history in the area. Also the trail winds through some fields where elk and deer can be seen as you come back into the campground. The trail can easily be done in one day, but we didn’t get there until about 10:30 at night so we packed in and made it a short overnighter. This trail also ties into the Buffalo River Trail that runs almost the length of the river. There are many other loops that can be done in conjunction with this one.

Backpacking Trip Report: Big Bluff

Area: Buffalo River

State: Arkansas

Mileage: 5

Days: 2

Type: In and Out

Month: January

This is not a very long hike, but one worth taking. There are also a lot of other trails to link up with to make this a lot longer trip. We parked at the Center Point trail head on this hike. It’s the shortest way down to the bluff. A lot of people make it a day trip but we had some time to kill so we made a couple days of it.

From the trail head the trail remains level with a slight decline. After about 1/2 mile the trail begins to get steeper and follow the old road that went to a home site called Granny Henderson’s. The trail to Big Bluff is well marked and off the the right. There is a large intersection with a large fire ring. This is a great campsite, but there is no water there so be sure to pack in plenty. The Bluff is not far down the trail from here. The bluff is around 350 – 400 foot high so it’s not a great place for small kids. It does go all the way through and there is another campsite on that end too. There are a lot of good pictures to be taken from here and some great views.

From the trail head to the bluff is only about 2 miles.

Backpacking Trip Report: Hemmed in Hollow/ Sneeds Creek Loop

Area: Buffalo River National Forrest

State: Arkansas

Mileage: 7

Days: 1

Type: Loop

This is one of the steepest loops on the river. You reach the trailhead by going to Compton, AR and tuning on the old Compton-Erbie Road. About 1/4 mile down the road there is a cross-roads. Turn right and go about 3/4 mile to the first right and you’ll see the parking area. There are also brown park signs on the Hwy. that say Compton Trailhead.At the parking area there are two trails. The left takes you down to Hemmed in Hollow which is a 300 foot water fall. This part of the loop is 2.6 miles. The trail starts with a gradual descent and comes to a place where the world falls off and you begin a 1200 ft descent in a little under a mile. At the bottom the trail takes you out the the river. After crossing the river the trail goes to the right. Within 1/2 a mile there is a junction. Stay straight and cross the river to one of the most awesome campsites on the river. It’s all sand and is across from a bluff and a huge swimming hole. Taking the left will take you up on top of the bluff and on towards Kyle’s Landing. There is great camping on top as well if you have a free standing tent.

From there you follow the ORT (Old River Trail)across Sneeds Creek and there is another great place to camp for large groups. On past that about 100 to 200 yards the junction for Sneed’s Creek trail heads right. Staying straight on the ORT will take you into Steel Creek Landing. 1/4 mile up the trail is Granny Henderson’s old homestead. There is another junction there. Stay to the right of the house and you’ll be on the Sneed’s Creek Trail. There are some awesome sights to see as you wind back up away from the river. On the trail you will cross Flat Rock. A open field that is one rock probably 100 yards wide and 300 yards long with the creek flowing through it. Passed that there are some small caves and some more old home sights. Waterfalls and just awesome scenery. About 2 miles into this 4.6 mile section you come back up the ridge. This side is about a 1200-1300 foot ascent.

There are plenty of places on this loop to filter water so you don’t have to pack in a lot. Just what you’ll drink on the hike. This loop is a moderate because of the elevation changes and the terrain on the descent into Hemmed-in-Hollow. The trail down to the falls is where most of the rescues are done on the River. So be in shape and expect some rugged terrain.

This is my favorite hike on the Buffalo. The views are great and the river sections are some the best places to fish and swim.

Backpacking Trip Report: Pruitt to Kyles Landing

Area: Buffalo River

State: Arkansas

Mileage: 17

Days: 3

Type: In and Out

We did this trip over Labor Day weekend. We started at Pruitt campground and headed back up river on the BRT (Buffalo River Trail) which is the trail that goes up and away from the river and is also limited to hikers only. There is a trail that stays on the river called the ORT (Old River Trail) that is for hikers and horses.As we started out we ascended a graudual climb up to an overlook. From there the trail passes several old homesteads and then winds up at Ozark campground. That leg of the trail is 2.6 miles. This is a great place to swim and relax. From there we headed on up river towards Erbie. We stopped about a mile short of Erbie to camp for the night. That was about 5 miles form Ozark and we dropped down onto the ORT to get to the river and filter some water.

There’s a great place to camp on down on the river here. It’s a gravel bar that has places where there are sand. We had to shrink the River’s snake population here by three so be careful when camping down on the river. There are some great holes here for fishing and swimming and just a great place to relax.

The next morning we set out for another day of hiking. We passed through Erbie and on to some of the coolest parts of the trail I’ve ever been on. There are several historical sites on this section of the trail. There’s the Parker-Hickman farm and an old cemetery just up the road from there with some stones that date back to 1796. From there we hiked along a ridge overlooking the river and saw some really great stuff. This is a pretty long span away from the river so if you go it make sure you take plenty of water. At this point we dropped back down to the river for some swimming and some lunch.

After lunch we decided to make it over to Camp Orr Boy Scout Camp to go through a cave there called Copper Head Cave. We got the cave and had to help get a guy out of the cave that couldn’t climb back out. This cave is a drop in and then goes for a nearly a mile. After getting the guy out of the cave we decided to head back down to the river set up camp. We ended up camping about .6 of a mile from our final destination on a gravel bar at Buzzard Bluff. It was awesome. The bluff walls here are over 300 feet tall and truly amazing. The swimming there is awesome too.

After a good night we headed the last .6 of a mile to Kyle’s landing and then over to the cave for the day. We were originally planning on making this a three day but ended up doing all but the last .6 of a mile in 2 days. We decided to stop there because of how awesome it was.

This was a great hike. I would highly recommend it! Be sure to check out the pictures.

Trip Report: Rattlesnake Lake

Location Econfina Section Florida Trail (Rattlesnake Lake Site)

State: Florida
Miles: 10
Days: 2
Type: In and Out

I just returned from an overnight backpacking trip to Rattlesnake Lake. This trip was an effort to reach other backpacking enthusiast in the area and get them together. I posted information about this trek and made some phone calls and ended up with three of us and K.C. along for the trip. The hiking was roughly five miles in and five miles out. The trip was a success.

I have scheduled another 18 mile trip for next weekend. At this point we have roughly six people tentatively signed up for the trek. This is a lot of fun and provides a venue for folks with similar interests and passions to get to know one another and gain experience. It also provides a venue for those with little to no experience to try out backpacking and to learn and gain experience by traveling with backpacking with some more experienced folks.

This past weekend’s trip did encompass some very cold temps. K.C. was not accustomed to the cold temps and I could feel him shivering in the tent next to me. I spent much of last night with my bag unzipped and my arm and a portion of my bag over K.C. I also took my fleece jacket and laid it across K.C. to give him as much warmth as possible. My bag is not very roomy and I spent a cold night myself with the bag unzipped trying to share warmth with my big ole shaggy red dog. My efforts seemed to help as he stopped shivering.

All in all the weekend was a great success. The two guys that accompanied me are both retired and seem to have both been seeking friends to backpack with. They both exchanged contact info and will probably be doing some extended hikes together as they are both retired and enjoy spending time on the trail.

The success and friendships garnered on this trip made it a rousing success for me. It is my goal to start a trekking/adventure club with open invitation trips of variable difficulties. I am hoping, and it looks like it is going to, that this thing will snowball with other members taking some intitiative to plan some trips too.