Drove from Memphis to Kyles Landing primitive camping in the Buffalo River in AR. Turing off 74, The 'road' into the camp was almost scary, dirt road with quite a steep grade. nice campground right on the river. I arrived around 2:30, but I came to hike so off I went. Headed towards the west end of the camp to find the trail and did so with little problem and heasee off towards Erby campground to the east. The hike started up hill almost instantly upon hitting the buffalo river trail (see profile starting at 7 mile mark going down). A little much to start. Had to stop a number of times on that climb, but the trail did level off and the hiking got easier.
Stopped at what I think was Shop Creek for water and a break. Found my first tick while pumping water....oops annother and annother (think it ended up being 5 in all), but none attached.
Stopped hiking at around 5:30. Think I did 4.5 miles...guess a half mile shy of the road the cherry Grove cemetery. Dinner was velveta Mac & cheese cups (x2) with tuna. With trail mix as an appitizer and Ritz crackers as desert.
Ticks are the biggest problem so far....too many to count. but only one attached, a wood tick left inner thigh.
The weather PERFECT! Mid 70s, light breeze from the north, no clouds.
Stove clogged once while cooking dinner, but worked after a pumping and poping sound.
Think I will hike to far side of Erby Campground then loop back on the old river trail instead of hiking back the way I came...but will see how I feel in the morning. I also need to see what condition the trail is in since it is accessible to horses.
May 6 2016 - 11:10 AM
Night got colder than I expected and colder than the sleeping bag could handle since it could not be sinched up. On top of that, the bag and mattress formed a slip and slide and, since the tent was on a slope, it as slip and slide all night. Did get sleep but was up multiple times to pull myself up from the bottom of the tent. New bag and mattress might be in order.
A number of times when I was up, pulling myself up from the slip and slide, I heard either coyotes or wild dogs howling. It sounded like a wolf pack when the pack is gathering for a hunt. Luckly they were quite far away, but a real "wild" sound - right up with the loons in Canada.
With a cold morning I ate packed and started moving pretty quick. I thing I stared hiking at around 7:30. After taking my first 'selfie'. I was probably off by a couple of tens of a mile because I hit the road to the cemetery pretty quick, but I was camped pretty much where I thought.
Stopped at Parker-Hickman Farmstead for water and a look around. Then off to Erbie which only had one person camping...not even a host was resident. nice crapper though!
Took the road back to the Farmstead and did the .3 to the trail intersection right before the cemetery then decided to take the "road" to the Old River Trail. Did the ford of the Buffalo River and back and am now sitting here eating lunch. First time fording a river that big...took some time planing a path each time. First Ford got to the bottom of my shorts, 2nd not as deep water felt good on the feet let me tell you!
One more tick attached, but came off without issues.
Starting to stiffen up...time to get the boots on and start moving.
May 6 2016 - 6:13 PM
Had to ford the Buffalo two more times to get back to Kyle's landing. Got there and had a big lunch of spaghetti, sause, pepperoni and Parmesan cheese. Stove acted up again but started to work with you that same pop. Resupplied at the car, decided to hike on since the place was filling up fast with weekenders. Made a bunch of false starts, thought I would take the Old River Trail and form a loop for tomarrow, but lost the trail at the river crossing, couldn't see the other side's trail. So gave up and hiked back and thought I would try the loop shown here (in black):
But in hindsite I took Indian Creek, which the guidebook said had "no official trail" which was true since I got up it quite a ways but lost the trail, so turned around and ended up at a campsite by a dry Creek (again in hindsite this was 'Indian Creek') but no water at camp again. Got here around 3:30, set up camp and took a nap.
Had stove top, gravy and chicken combo for dinner....ate too much
Still getting ticks, ticks and more ticks. Just pulled one off my neck while typing. Almost no mosquitos though.
Feel exhausted and feeling the day's hike. Fitbit says 15.89 miles...pushed too hard. Everything hurts, shoulders back and legs mostly. IBU don't fail me now!
Feet OK, but a few blisters mostly due to stream crossings softening feet and the on and off of the socks stretching them in all the wrong places. Did one blister puncture on left foot. Also got a touch of poison ivy on my left hand...not too bad.
Still enjoyed the day. Got a kick out of hiking though Camp Orr, a BSA camp on my way back to Kyle's landing. The old river trail goes right through it. Saw their campfire circle and the scout oath signs on the road....does every camp do that?
On the animal report...saw a big deer and a blue heron in flight.
Hope it is a touch warmer tonight, but seems to be cooling off fast, at least the tent it level tonight so less of the slip and slide!
May 7 2016 - 8:50 AM
Slept much better without the slip and slide but still a little cool for the bag. Also wish I would have brought my balaclava to keep my head warm...just wrapped a shirt around my head instead. Was woken a few times by a big animal strolling though camp. Not sure what they were, but they did not disturb anything..guess deer but who knows.
Here watching the tent dry...plan to pack up dry gear, hike to the car, DUMP the pack and do a day hike, get back to the car, take a swim, change and drive part way home tonight....but might change my mind when the pack hits my back, pretty sore and stiff this morning.
Had to do yet another tick removal this morning. right arm bicept.
May 7 2016 - 9:35 AM
Just got water up Indian Creek and still watching the tent dry.
May 7 2016 - 12:21 AM
At car, bathed in river, changed, ate lunch about to leave. Cell phone battery at 45% after hike.
More on hike later...but now it is time to leave this hot , crowded campground.
May 7 2016 - 4:13 PM
Drove to Maumelle, AR and had a snack of Kentucky fried chicken while watching the Kentucky Derby...but I get ahead of myself.
To fill in the day....I hiked from the camp back to the BRT intersection. Followed the trail off to the right first which lead to a campsite on the opposite side of the rock formation I camped at....nice campsite too. Spooked a big deer, answering the question 'what was walking though camp last night'. Then went back to the last trail intersection, felt better than expected so decided to do the next part of the Buffalo River Trail to test myself with full pack. (see elevation profile between mile 7 and 6) since it would be a big uphill.
Got to the top and stopped at both overlooks then went a bit further to a nice rock bench. Took a break there before going back down. Probably hiked 2.2 miles or so but up then down then on to Kyles Landing and to the car.
Now sitting on a nice bed at a hotel. Sore, but OK. (and back to were this entry started...Eating KFC while watching the Kentucky Derby.
May 9 2016
Fell asleep shortly after the Derby. Woke up, took a shower then went to Jim's Razorback Pizza for a pizza and a beer (or two). The dinner of hikers while in town. Ate too much but it was good! Next day I woke up, at breakfast in the hotel and headed home.
Notes from hike:
Already commentted on the sleeping bag / air mattress slip and slide issue. Need to think about this and mybe replacing one or both.
Water filter a little slower and harder to pump then my old pure, but worked well.
Even if you do not think you need it bring balaclava for sleeping.
Wish I had the polar fleese for cool mornings, but survived without it (this trip).
Need to thoroughly clean stove (due to issues on this trip).
New stuff sacks ('evac drysack by sea to summit') worked well for cloths and doubled nicely as a pillow.
Merrell Isotherm 6 boots did well with few issues.
Keen sandles did well for stream crossings and around camp.
Food was ok. Diffinitly do the 'Jack Links All American Beef & Cheese' again. Probably will go with the Velveta Cheese Sause and use my own pasta instead of breaking down the Velveta Shells and Cheese cups (had weird, messing powerder with the shells - powered milk was my guess but no proof). Wasn't really cheesy enough with the small cheese packet.
Consider new pack....hard to adjust, will not stand by itself, no built in hydration system.