Monday, March 5, 2012

Richland Creek Wilderness

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Saturday morning, my friend Jon F. and I headed a few hours south to Richland Creek Wilderness, in NW Arkansas. Richland Creek is one of the rougher places to take a walk that I've come across. With little more than volunteer trails, getting from point A to points B and C and back are fairly strenuous. This was my fifth trip to the area, but Jon's first.

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Hiking was rough going in spots. We had all the intentions of making it to both Twin Falls and Richland Falls, but getting a slightly late start to our day and the dense undergrowth and felled trees conspired against us. We only managed to make Twin Falls before having to head back before nightfall.

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Small, early blooming flowers were abundant and the trees were beginning to bud out.

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Twin Falls had plenty of water running over it. I've seen it in the fall, nearly dry as a bone.

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Maggie, my nine-month-old border collie/beagle mix, did great on this trip. She went nearly the whole trip off of a leash and managed her first creek crossings better than expected. But, she had some motion sickness issues in the car on the way down. I had to put a tarp down and went through a roll and a half of paper towels. I hope she outgrows that soon.

IMG_3636_s Me (in the dark blue-grey shirt) and Jon F., in front of Twin Falls.

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We came across this scull and hip bone along the creek. I've not managed to find out what it is yet. But both were large enough to be an animal the size of my 24 lb. dog.

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Maggs, navigating the creek.

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I managed to start our fire on the third strike from my flint striker. I used a bird's nest shaped tuft of dry grass, twigs and dryer lint as my starter kindling. It worked brilliantly. A skill I picked up during a recent outdoor survival class.

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Sunday morning we did another short hike down to the creek. When the weather is warmer, it'd make a great swimming hole.

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Where we camped, the upper level at Richland Creek Campground. I had thought that the campground was closed, but there were other campers there and the pit toilets were unlocked and stocked with paper. We didn't hear the usual coyotes yipping, owls hooting or any other wildlife at night. Kind of surprising. Just some crows and woodpeckers later in the morning.

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The drive down and back was nearly as interesting as the hike.

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We had a roadrunner run across the road in front of us, then stop to check us out. I backed up and took his pic. Only the third one I've ever seen.

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Richland Creek is a great hiking area, but you better be in decent shape. It's not for couch potatoes. You don't cover a lot of miles, but you fight for what ground you do manage to make it over.

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UPDATE: Thinking the skull and pelvic bone were from a small deer.

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