When Can We Go Back?

We spent the holiday weekend at Buffalo River National Park.

Friday was a rush, the minute I left work till I went to bed pretty much. Once I got out of work Heath and I needed to get the van all packed with our stuff, get Pumpkin to my mom’s with her gear, pack the cooler, feed the Peanut and hit the road. KK and Jon joined in somewhere in there and we made a roughly 4.5 hour drive to the Center Point Trail head at the National Park. We pulled up alongside Tony and Felicia and began to unpack the van.
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Felicia and Tony got there about 30 minutes before us and had braved out along the trail looking for a flat spot. From this trail head there was was a huge slope down on one side and a rocky slope up on the other side for a long ways.

They had a tough time locating a spot in the dark but had found a reasonable spot. We carried all our stuff over and set up tents and a fire.  DSCF3017

All our tents were on a bit of a slope and the ground was rocky and covered in poison ivy but we made it a home.
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(just about everything green in this picture is poison ivy)
We had a few beers and talked around the fire before heading to bed. I was tired and slept okay but rolled and repositioned a lot on the rocky ground. Peanut ended up wiggling his way to the bottom of our tent.
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In the morning Tony built up the fire and we we started putting coals on top of a dutch oven full of deep dish breakfast pizza I had made beforehand.

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We took down tents, packed up camp, had our coffee and moved a vehicle to another trail head. Then it was time to open the dutch oven.

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From the bottom up it was a layer of homemade biscuits for the crust, then shredded cheese, salsa, ham, sausage, turkey, egg, more salsa, more cheese and then shredded hash brown potatoes. It was quite tasty and cooked perfectly and we had little trouble taking down the whole pot. Once we had full bellies we got ready to hit the trail and loaded unnecessary gear in the van.

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We had a lot of stuff that was convenient to have when near the van (big pans, beer, pillows) but we didn’t want to carry that stuff all the time so we varied the stuff in our packs depending on our plans. My pack was never this overloaded for more then a quick hike.

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Around 11am we were done getting ready and finally hit the trail for real. We hiked a ways then stopped for a lunch snack then took a little detour from our trial to check on some bluffs.

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The bluffs were the first really cool thing we saw and we spent some time exploring the caves below them

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and checking out the view from them.

Then we hiked back to our trail and hiked and hiked along it. We were loosing elevation the whole way.

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and eventually could see the river.

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It was hot and not long after finding the river we were ready to take off the packs and hop in.

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We cooled off in the cold water and had some snacks and watched all the canoes floating by.  DSCF3053

Then we got back on the trail.

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The rest of the afternoon was kind of crazy. We had hopped to find the largest waterfall in the area, then hike towards our second trailhead where a car was stashed. Then setup a campsite for the night. We made some wrong turns and took longer to hike then we planned and had to abandon the waterfall. It was a tough uphill hike all uphill but we saw some cool stuff and stopped to play some.

Like checking out random caves DSCF3064

and their inhabitants DSCF3063

We found some really weird areas.  DSCF3059

and played in some junk DSCF3069

plus took time to catch our breath and refill our waterbottles DSCF3075

and we had to cross a few streams
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Eventually we made it to the Compton Trail head and the truck.

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We all were tired but started to chip in by, finding a campsite, and firewood, and getting the van moved over to this site. Well before dark we had a great campsite set up.  DSCF3083

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We had the cars close by so were able to get food out of the coolers and make a nice meal.  DSCF3093

We ended up wrapping tortillas around deer burger, re fried beans, corn, peppers, onions, cheese, rice and chicken. It was good and filling. We had a fire and stayed up all the way till 9 pm before laying down for the night.

In the morning we slept in then had oatmeal and backpacking snacks then packed up camp and hit the road. We were tired of the steep up and down hill climbs to the river so drove to a new trail head at Kyles Landing.

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Where we parked there were lots of campers and canoers. We loaded our packs and looked for the best route to get away from the other people.

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Then hiked off into the woods.

We hiked to Indian creek then followed it upstream. It was pretty dry so we thought about heading somewhere else but decided to send a search party upstream a ways to test things out. The search party found water and fun but had a little mishap with loosing members and it took a bit to get the whole group back together. Eventually we did and got our packs to the water and then we climbed a big bluff to set up camp at the top.

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Our bluff was above a nice deep pool in the creek.

We stripped off our packs and ate lunch. Then changed into creek gear and only carried little loads for a day hike.

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The rest of the afternoon will easily be the most memorable part of the weekend. We barely followed any trail and just worked our way up the creek bed. The video at the top is bouncy but a good feel for how things were. We climbed over rocks,  IMG_2244

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walked though pools
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and checked out lots of waterfalls

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At the top there was a big waterfall and a crazy trail up into the bluffs.   DSCF3195

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We all safely made our way into the bluffs and did some more cave exploration.  IMG_2292

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Once we had the caves explored we carefully worked our way back down to the creek and then took a break for snacks and beers.

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Then we worked our way down the creek back towards our campsite. We took our time and enjoyed the walk back.

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When we got to good big pools we did more swimming and playing.

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Once at camp we set up tents and started a fire or two.

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Then we headed back to the water for a brisk swim, to pump some water and have the 3rd fire.
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After our swim we headed up to the campsite and cooked dinner.
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We had lots of rice and tuna and beans. We stayed up till it got dark but were in our tents shortly after 9. We slept in late then had oatmeal and snacks for breakfast. We ate and drank as much as we could then packed up camp and hit the trail.

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We climbed down from our bluff and followed the creek bed out.

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Eventually we got to the trail and followed it to the car.  DSCF3267

Right when we got to the parking lot I made everyone stop and take our after picture to a end a great weekend.

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One Response to When Can We Go Back?

  1. Courtney says:

    Your trip looks like fun! It brings back a lot of good memories for me- we used to go there for vacations all the time as a kid. I’ve done the Indian Creek trail before. I definitely want to go back someday.

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