Saturday, May 20, 2017

Middle Cow Creek (Center and Southwest Prongs), Ozarks near Limestone, Arkansas

5/20/2017 -  Center and southwest upper prongs of the Middle Cow Creek valley

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location #4 (today's location):  35.70573   -93.30781, 1755 ft.
  Falls #27:  35.70861   -93.30734, 
  Falls #28:  35.70942   -93.30806
  Falls #29:  35.70998   -93.30863
  Falls #30:  35.71016   -93.30879
  Bluffline Break (Falls #31):  35.71121   -93.30860
  Falls #31:  35.71111   -93.30887
  Bluffline Break (Falls #32):  35.71233  -93.30925
  Falls #32:  35.71179   -93.30919
  Falls #20:  35.71030   -93.31327, 1393 ft.
  Falls #19:  35.70933   -93.31329, 1440 ft.
  Falls #18:  35.70888   -93.31323, 1472 ft.
  Bluffline Break (Falls #18):  35.70956   -93.31347, 1442 ft.
  Falls #17:  35.70866   -93.31325, 1491 ft.
  Falls #16:  35.70823   -93.31368, 1522 ft. 
  Falls #15:  35.70749   -93.31440, 1581 ft.
  Falls #33:  35.70639   -93.31501

Pet Friendly: Dogs off leash should be OK.  If your dog needs to be on a leash, it is doable but difficult because this is all bushwhacking.  Boomer had no problems scrambling up and down through the bluffline breaks, although some of them are fairly steep.

Motorcycle Friendly: No, not at all friendly to your big bike.  The parking locations are several miles down dirt roads.

Hiking Statistics:  The Middle Cow Creek valley is only about 800 feet from top to bottom.  On today's hike, we had a highest-to-lowest elevation change of 500 feet.  Boomer and I hiked a total of only 3.65 miles on this loop.  The terrain varied from relatively open, with a low slope along Middle Cow Creek itself, to very rugged and very steep in the prongs.  I would rate this a moderately difficult bushwhack.

GPS files (.gpx format) - See maps at the bottom of this blog post
  Cow Creek Basin Waypoints
  Middle Cow Creek center and southwest upper prongs - today's hike track
  Jeep road track from Pine Ridge Road to Parking Location #4

Links to blog posts for other sections of Middle Cow Creek:
Falls #18
I had just hiked the center and southwest upper prongs of Middle Cow Creek on Tuesday, just 4 days ago.  Why was I back to hike it again so soon?  Because I had found some great waterfalls on Tuesday that unfortunately did not have much flow at all.  In other words, a fantastic instant polyfoss area, just add water.  Well, as it turns out, we got water yesterday and last night.  At our home north of Dover, we got about three inches of rain.  According to the closest networked weather station, I could find, in the Baskerville area near Jasper, they had received about the same amount.  My bet was that it wasn't just localized rainfall and the Cow Creek basin area, roughly in between, had at least got a good soaking even if it didn't get a full three inches.  So Boomer (our German Shepherd) and I loaded up in the FJ and headed north.


Falls #32 - with Boomer (20 feet)
Middle Cow Creek is a large valley, the entirety of which is all public land.  To date, I have found 33 'photo worthy' waterfalls there, many smaller water features, and some of the nicest country for hiking you will find anywhere.  That being said, the key word is "large".  If you want to try to hike everything in one day, good luck.  If you are into backpack camping, this would be a great place to spend two or three days.  If you are like me, however, and prefer day trips, where you park will have everything to do with what areas in this valley you want to see.  See my post on March 9 for a description of how to get to the first three parking locations and details of the hikes for those areas.  To avoid redundancy, I'll limit this blog post to just the hike Boomer and I did today.


Falls #29
To get there, From the community of Pelsor (Sand Gap), go 16.2 miles south on Highway 123, then turn right onto FR-1003 (aka Johnson County CR-5741).  This is 3.3 miles past the Haw Creek Campground.  If you are coming from the other direction on Highway 123, this junction is 10.5 miles north of Hagerville  
- Go north on CR-5741 for 5.7 miles, then 
- Turn right on CR-5680, also known as Pine Ridge Road.   
- Go only about a quarter mile on Pine Ridge Road, and turn left (north) onto an old logging road, what I refer to as a Jeep road.  If you don't have a good 4WD vehicle with good ground clearance, park here off Pine Ridge Road and hike the rest of the way.  This Jeep road has not been used as a logging road for many, many, years, and even if you don't get stuck you will pick up what we refer to locally as "Arkansas pin-striping" from the brush and trees you have to plow through.
Falls #18 - view from the top
The top of Falls #17 is at top center-left
  This is the kind of old track that I got the FJ Cruiser for, and the winch and tires I have on it give me a little more confidence on this kind of trail.  There were a couple of logs and holes we were able to roll over, but still only got about a quarter mile down the Jeep road before coming to a log across the old road that I didn't want to take on.   We turned around and parked here, and this is the location I have marked above as parking location #4.  


Falls #31 (28 feet)
Am I ever going to bring a chainsaw with me to take care of this log?  Probably not.  This happens to be pretty close to the top of the center prong anyway, and on future hikes if I do a loop, it will probably start with going down the center prong and probably come back on the southeast prong, which we didn't hike today but may be my favorite of the upper prongs here.  The southeast prong has a couple of the only waterfalls I have as yet given a name to.  Except for Middle Cow Falls, a couple of miles downstream, all the waterfalls in the Middle Cow Creek Valley are new finds and so far I have only had time to give them a number as an 'Unnamed Falls' and move on.  Boomer and I set off down the Jeep road and after a short distance veered off into the center prong and down to the creek there.  My initial impression of this trip?  Wow!  What a lot of water, everywhere.  This is a kind of remote area, and there probably isn't a rain gauge within many miles, but I'm betting the Cow Creek basin area got at least an inch or two, maybe more.  


Falls #28 (background)
Whirlpool Spray Water Feature (foreground)
We quickly got to Falls #27 and #28, and they were much different than they had been four days ago.  Downstream of Falls #28 a short distance was a water feature that didn't exist before, with the much lower flow conditions.  Water swirls around rocks like a funnel, dropping down and fanning out in a big cone.  This wasn't big enough or pretty enough or cool enough to be 'photo worthy' before, so it didn't get a number as an 'unnamed falls'.  But it was pretty cool today.  I have seen hundreds of waterfalls, but this one is unique.  I still won't give it a number and classify it as photo-worthy, because it is only going to happen under high flow conditions, but look for it if you come here after a good rain.


Falls #29 (left) and
Falls #30 (upper right)
We hiked down to Falls #29 and Falls #30, both in the same grotto.  Falls #30 is a little shorter, and a little less flow, being fed from a separate feeder creek.  Both are pretty good sized waterfalls, in the 26-foot range, and both are just beautiful.  if you go from the top of Falls #29 along the top of the bluff to the right (east), there is a bluffline break in just a few yards that you can descend through down to creek level.  From the top of the bluff, there is a point where you can see both Falls #29 and Falls #30, even with all the spring greenery.  Of course, once you are at creek level, you can easily see both from the confluence of the tributary stream coming from Falls #30.  Each of these waterfalls was impressive today, and the combination of the two was just spectacular.  

Falls #20
Continuing downstream, one of the things I started noticing is that with the increasing flow in the center prong creek, it became increasingly difficult to hike downstream.  As far as bushwhacking conditions, there still is not much undergrowth, one of the things I really like about the upper prongs of Middle Cow Creek.  But with the much higher water level, there was much less room to hike along the creek without getting a boot full of water.  On my hike here Tuesday, I could just splash down the creek itself, and just aim my feet at places where I could see that the water was only a couple inches deep, not enough to get over the top of my waterproof Vasquez boots.  Today, that was no easy feat for my feet, and by the time I made it down the center prong, my boots and socks were soaked.  I finally just said "heck with it" (or some words to that effect), and hiked on with wet feet.  At least it wasn't freezing temperatures.


Falls #31 (28 feet)
Boomer and I soon came to Falls #31, another fairly good-sized waterfall.  On the way down the base of the bluff after descending through the bluffline break, we passed an extended area of the bluff that had water pouring over it like a curtain.  The last visit, I had taken a photo on the camera's timer of myself perpendicular to the waterfall base so I could scale it at home.  Falls #31 is just over 28-feet tall.  We had to go quite a way down the bluff on the right to find a bluffline break, which I marked and recorded coordinates for.  What a difference a creek full of water makes for a large waterfall like this one. 

Falls #32 (20 feet)
Like Falls #31, Falls #32 downstream had the same extended bluffline and we had to hike a good distance along the top of it before finding an access break.  That seems to be a characteristic of most of the larger waterfalls I have found in the Middle Cow Creek upper prongs.  It makes for a lot of doubling back and hiking the same length of creek three times, but those tall, unbroken blufflines are exactly the topology that gives us these nice, tall waterfalls.  When you go below the bluffline, you want to make sure you get entirely below the bluff, but stick to the base of the bluff as well as you can.  If you end up down at the creek level this far downstream, it is a rugged and wet hike up the creek.  


Some of the cascades downstream from Falls #32
After leaving Falls #32, it was less than a couple hundred yards to the junction of the upper prongs.  Remember what I said about it being rough, rugged, and wet?  The creek is basically one cascade and small waterfall after another,  all the way from the Falls #32 grotto to the confluence of the upper prongs.  That makes it a little rough hiking next to the creek, because of the narrowing embankments next to the creek in this area.  You could hike closer up to the bluff and around the spur into the next prong, but you would miss quite a show.  The cascading creek here is spectacular.  This hike took us a lot longer than the exact same route we took on Tuesday, not only because it was a little harder getting around with the higher water, but because there was so much more in the way of water features like this that I wanted to stop and photograph.


Falls #19
Boomer and I turned up the southwest prong, which I had hiked about six weeks ago while we were still in 'leaves off' season, and again four days ago in greener but much dryer conditions.  Hiking down the center prong along the creek had been pleasant, without a lot of briars and other vegetation that can make hiking this time of year very aggravating.  You get the same experience in the southeast prong, where it is also not noticeably worse hiking than a 'leaves off' season hike.  This southwest prong is similar in that respect to the other two prongs, but higher water and a narrower creek channel make it a little more challenging.  My boots were already soaked, so that part didn't bother me so much at this point.  The other nice thing about hiking all three of the upper prongs of Middle Cow Creek is that you don't go very far between waterfalls.  Instead of just a long slog of a bushwhack, there will be a waterfall every hundred yards or so to break up the hike and give you an excuse to stop and shoot some photos.  The longest stretch between waterfalls is the section we were now on, between the confluence of the upper prongs and where the southwest prong forks.  That extra time spent at every waterfall slows the overall pace enough that I'm not really even tired when I get back to where we parked.  I need to learn to pace myself better on every hike.


Falls #7 (center prong creek in upper right)
I see Falls #7 on a lot of my hikes in the Middle Cow Creek valley because it is just below the confluence of the center and southwest prongs, and just upstream of the confluence with the southeast prong.  So I see it on every trip here except when I only go see Middle Cow Falls far downstream.  Today, it had more flow than I have ever seen.  The southwest prong had even more flow than the center prong did.  Even though I didn't care about getting my boots any wetter, it was difficult at times moving upstream.  Not far upstream, the southwest prong splits into two forks, and we took the left fork again.   First, we went over and grabbed some shots of Falls #21.    


Falls #21
From where the southwest prong forks, you can easily see Falls #21, just a few yards upstream on the right (west) fork.  It is a smaller waterfall in the 10-foot range, with a big tree trunk exactly in the wrong place to get a good shot of it.  From there, we came around the bluff back into the left fork and continued our hike upstream.  Falls #20 is a short distance upstream from where this prong forks, and looked fantastic.  Upstream from Falls #20 was a long cascade that I didn't even notice on my previous trips here with a lower flow in the creek.  Further upstream, Falls #19 spills over the large bluff on the left.  


Falls #18
From Falls #19, you can see Falls #18 just ahead, around the bluff on the left.  Hiking along the base of the bluff behind Falls #19 I noted there was an abnormally large number of deer tracks.  Either they like going behind the waterfall for some reason, or there is salt in the rocks here that they come to get.  Hiking along the base of the bluff will take you right to Falls #18, at a location where you can see it plunge over the high bluffline and also see the huge cascade that is Falls #17 above it.  Falls #18 is the gem of this prong, in my opinion, and Boomer and I spent some time here.  The only rough spot hiking-wise is climbing above the bluff after visiting Falls #18.  I had marked a bluffline break on our previous hike, and I knew it was a steep one, but today, the steepness and wetness combined to make it even more iffy than normal.  This bluffline break is already a good deal downstream from Falls #18, but I may look even further downstream for a better one on my next hike here.


Falls #17
Getting above the bluffline for Falls #18 finally, Boomer and I headed up to see Falls #17 in its hidden box canyon above Falls #18.  This one reminds me of Vic's Hidden Falls in the Rock Creek area in that it is pretty hard to get down into the canyon.  The best slope going down into it is also the most dangerous, right next to where the bluffline cliff runs at the top of Falls #18.  There are some small maple trees on the slope that I used to help me NOT slide right down into the canyon.  Falls #17 was also spectacular today, with such an amazing difference from the small trickle it was earlier this week.  


Falls #16 (left) and Southwest Prong Creek
The pool the flow into is at the top of Falls #17
Climbing back out of the box canyon again, we spent some time at the top of Falls #17 as well.  The creek is itself a long cascade as it goes into a small pool at the top of Falls #17 which looks stunning when viewed from the top as well.  Adding to the beauty of the location, Falls #16 falls from the large bluffline on the left (east), right at the top of Falls #17.  This is one awesome and very photogenic spot.  If I was more into backpack camping, this is where I would hang my hammock.  I spent some time taking photos while Boomer played in the cascades, then we continued our hike out.


Falls #16
Boomer and I walked right up along the creek bed and out the top of this prong to the old trace road that wraps around the top of the upper prongs.  Falls #15 is about a hundred yards upstream, and Falls #33 is about another hundred yards beyond that.  Directly above Falls #33 is the old trace road leading back to the parking location.  The top of the creek is very overgrown, including where the old road crosses it at the top of Falls #33.  From this little waterfall, it is best to leave the creek to the left and bushwhack back up to the old trace road on that side.  Once you hit the old trace road, it is just a simple hike back along the old road to our parking location.  It has a little up-and-down to it, but is mostly on the level and makes a great hiking trail.  There are a few downed trees, but they can easily be bypassed.  


Falls #15
I finally got the concept of human height across to Boomer.  When I give him the 'lead' command, he knows he is to lead ahead of me a short distance and find the best hiking path.  He has always done a good job at this but tended to forget that he is quite a bit shorter than I am and he would simply go under and through a downed tree that I could neither go under nor through.  After constant feedback and reinforcement, I think he has it now.  I have noticed that he will now find the best path around these trees now instead of simply going through them, which he easily could.  Boomer is an incredibly bright dog.  He can also be a little full of himself, which is why he insists I call him 'TMMD'.  He's a great hiking companion, so the least I can do is humor him on that.


More cascades downstream from Falls #32
All in all, it was another great day to be out in the woods.  I can take this one off my 'wet weather go-to' list, but it's a fantastic area with waterfalls that no one else sees.  I'll be back, definitely.  I would rate this a moderate bushwhack and highly recommended for anyone.  I wouldn't take small children, because it is a rugged area with a lot of high drop offs, and if you take older children, keep an eye on them around the high points and especially coming out of the canyons for Falls #17 and Falls #18.  The center prong is clearly a wet weather creek, so it is best to visit after a rain.
Upper Prongs of Middle Cow Creek
Green - old trace road
Yellow - today's hike
Blue - 4/1/2017 hike of Southwest Prongs
Red - 3/9/2017 hike of East Prongs and Middle Cow Creek
The Greater Cow Creek Basin
Cow Creek(left and top), Middle Cow Creek (middle, of course) and Little Cow Creek (right)
Orange - Forest Service Roads
Green - old trace roads ("Jeep roads")
Red/Blue/Yellow - Hiking tracks


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gulf Hollow, Ozarks west of Highway 7 near Freeman Springs, Arkansas

5/18/2017 - Gulf Hollow waterfalls

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location:  35.61515   -93.08704, 1507 ft.
  Falls #1, #2, and #3:  35.61431   -93.08086
  Falls #4:  35.61390   -93.08062
  Falls #5:  35.61316   -93.07995
  Falls #6:  35.61294   -93.07983
  Falls #7:  35.61404   -93.07763
  Falls #8:  35.61307   -93.07509
  Falls #9:  35.61481   -93.07766
  Falls #10:  35.62184   -93.07306
  Falls #11:  35.62082   -93.07081
  Back on ATV trail:  35.62485   -93.07243

Pet Friendly:  Dogs off leash may be okay, but there are some areas they may have difficulty getting into and out of, and lots of undergrowth that will no nothing but keep a leash tangled up all day.  This is a mostly bushwhack hiking.  If you think your dog needs to be on a leash, I would leave it at home.  

Motorcycle Friendly:  Not 'friendly', but do-able.  You will be going just 2.5 miles down Dare Mine Road from where you turn off Highway 7.  This is a dirt road, and not too bad at this point.  Your big bike, your decision.  I have driven a Harley Electraglide on worse roads for much longer distances.


Hiking Statistics:  From top to bottom, Gulf Hollow is over 1000 feet of
elevation change before it runs into Page Hollow.  Today, we hiked a total of 5.81 miles, with a minimum-to-maximum elevation change of 482 feet.  As with most areas in the Ozarks, getting to waterfalls means repeated climbs and descents into the waterfall grottoes.  We hiked in several different drainages of Gulf Hollow, so we had ascents and descents for each.  This is a difficult bushwhack, because of the duration of the hike and repetitive climbs. Undergrowth was certainly present but was not a big factor for the route we hiked.

GPS files (.gpx format) - Maps of the GPS track are at the bottom of this post.
  Waypoints for Gulf Hollow, Still Hollow, and Elmer Page Hollow

Falls #11
My friend Dan Frew and I had planned to hike Mike's Creek, near Ozone, today.  However, we had both hiked in areas the past couple of days that were already drying up, and Mike's looked like it would be in the same state.  Still Hollow was practically in flood stage last Saturday due to a good deal of localized rain, so we surmised that Gunter Branch just north of it might have benefitted from the same rainfall.  We set out to hike in from the lower part of Gunter Branch, but as we crossed Indian Creek we noticed something you normally don't see.  The junction of Mocassin Creek and Indian Creek is just upstream of the low water bridge we crossed, and looking upstream, it appeared as though Mocassin Creek actually had more water than Indian Creek, which amongst other drainages had the combined flow of Gunter Branch and Still Hollow as well.  Hmmm.  Taking this into account, we surmised that Gulf Hollow and maybe Page Hollow had received some of that big rainfall that Still Hollow did, and still had a lot of that water keeping the creek levels up.  So, just like that, we changed course for Gulf Hollow, fording Mocassin Creek and heading up Dare Mine Road toward Highway 7.    

Falls #2
Falls #1 in the background
Driving directions to Gulf Hollow are fairly easy, and you don't need to drive all the country back roads that we did to get there.  From the Dover
 Supermarket (intersection of Highways 7 and 27), go north on Highway 7 for 21.2 miles.  This will take you to the small community of Freeman Springs.  Like many of the older communities in northwest Arkansas, don't expect a bunch of houses or a sign or anything.  It's more like an area that used to have a group families living the , and now has one or two.  Turn left (southwest) on Dare Mine Road (aka CR-1806).  Go 2.5 miles on Dare Mine Road and turn left onto a Jeep road.  If you don't have a good 4wd vehicle, park here.  If you have a good 4WD but are proud of its nice paint job, you'll also want to park here and hike.  A Jeep Wrangler will fit on the Jeep road (my FJ Cruiser did), but the growth on each side will likely give it some 'Arkansas pin-striping'.  Aggie, our FJ, probably picked up some more Arkansas pin-striping, but it's hard to tell what is new and what was already there.  At any rate, this is the trail.  Either drive down it or hike down it.  I drove a little over a half mile and parked.  This is the parking location I marked with the GPS coordinates above.


Gulf Hollow Creek
This Jeep road is really more of an ATV trail, but since I could drive down it, I elevated it to the 'Jeep road' status.  It's what you call a little rough, with some mud holes that are deeper than they look.  I bottomed out a little going through one of them.  I would have liked to have driven another half mile or so to get more toward the center of the hollows we hiked, but there was a very large oak tree down on the trail, so that became our parking location and we hiked from there.  This ATV trail winds its way around the three drainages on the northwest side of Gulf Hollow and makes a good hiking trail between the tops of the drainages.  We had driven above the top of the first prong in Gulf Hollow, but the Forset Service maps didn't even show it as having an intermittent stream, so we chose to move on the next drainage and start our hike there.  From our parking location, we only hiked a couple of hundred yards further down the ATV trail before turning right and starting our hike down the drainage.


Falls #3
Falls #2 in the background
Like most drainages in the Ozark hollows, this one was fairly rough and overgrown at the top but soon became easier bushwhacking terrain.  While there were some areas in Gulf Hollow that were quite dense with brush and undergrowth, for the most part, we could hike through it without much difficulty.  The creek rapidly picked up an appreciable amount of flow, but we hiked most of the way down the drainage, about a half mile, before we found the first small waterfall.  We also noted that there were three waterfalls here, spaced about 20 yards apart.  The coordinates I listed above for Falls #1, Falls #2, and Falls #3 was actually taken at the base of Falls #2, but you can easily see all three from one spot.  All three of these waterfalls are what I put into the 'small but pretty' category.  Not big, impressive waterfalls, but ones that are very picturesque.


Add caption
Downstream of those first three waterfalls, the stream flow seemed to decrease.  That happens a lot in the Ozarks, and it is not unusual to see creeks go completely dry when the water flow goes underground, only to have it reappear downstream.  From Falls #1, Falls #2, and Falls #3, it was only a couple hundred yards to the confluence of this creek with Gulf Hollow Creek, and we found Falls #4, Falls #5, and Falls #6 in that section of the drainage.  All six of the waterfalls in this drainage were nice, but not what I would want to come back to see more than once.
  
Falls #7
We hiked upstream along Gulf Hollow Creek to our next drainage to explore, this time on the east side of the hollow, a short distance up the creek.  We found Falls #7, a beautiful cascading waterfall, barely into the drainage.  On the maps, you can see where this prong of Gulf Hollow is fed from a pond or small lake at its top, very near Highway 7.  The hydrology of the Ozarks is pretty weird, but if a spring is pushing water up into a pool feeding this prong, that would explain why it had more flow than any other part of Gulf Hollow.  It would also mean this feeder creek would keep a good amount of water in it later in the summer when other creeks are drying up.  Hiking further up into this drainage, we came to Falls #8 about a fifth of a mile upstream.  Falls #8 is a nice two-tiered waterfall with a steep embankment and large rock formations on both sides that added to its beauty but made it difficult to get a good photo that shows the whole waterfall.


Falls #8
Leaving Falls #8, we thought there was probably at least one more good waterfall higher up, and started hiking upstream.  This drainage closed in and the terrain became much more rugged the higher we climbed.  When the vegetation became so dense we could barely move in it, we finally decided further exploration could wait for cooler weather and 'leaves off' season.  We started heading back down the drainage and made our way back to Gulf Hollow Creek.  The water features on the main creek itself looked interesting, and we wandered downstream first, finding Falls #9, a short waterfall with a large pool, not far upstream from where we had turned up the prong we had just left.
  
Falls #10
Dan and I hiked back upstream to check out more of the upper prongs, but with high temperatures and humidity almost 100%, we had just about had enough hiking fun.  We hiked upstream to what appeared to be the largest of the drainages in Gulf Hollow and climbed upstream in it to where it flowed over the first large bluffline, creating Falls #10.  This is a beautiful waterfall in a beautiful grotto.  We hiked around the base of the large bluff as well as we could, into the next big prong on the north side of Gulf Hollow and found an almost identical waterfall, Falls #11, there.  The creeks feeding both of these waterfalls had plenty of flow today and probably had much more to offer.  But we were already tired and were a long distance and a lot lower in elevation from where we had parked, so we decided to head back.

Falls #11
Following the base of the bluff to the left of Falls #11 will take you right to the top of the bluff.  From there, we hiked up the spur between the drainages containing Falls #10 and Falls #11 until we found the ATV trail that wraps all the way around the top of the drainages in Gulf Hollow.  This trail does not see much traffic at all, especially now with a few trees down from the storms this spring, but it is in pretty good shape.  Were it not for a couple of larger trees down across it, I'm pretty sure Aggie the FJ could make it all the way around the top of the northwest section of Gulf Hollow.  As it is, it made for much easier hiking back once we hit it.  There are still some ups and downs, but for the most part, those are not all that steep.  Two miles out of the six miles we hiked today was on this ATV trail going back to the parking location.  Over that two miles, the trail varies in elevation about 200 feet.  


Falls #9
When it is hot, humid, and green is probably not the best time to be exploring a place like Gulf Hollow, but it was still good to get out and get a little Ozark therapy.  Dan had made a couple of trips here when he could get his SxS all the way down the ATV trail, but it was my first trip.  Looking at the maps and my data from this hike, I can see that there is still at least half of Gulf Hollow that I want to return and do a little more exploration.   We barely touched on the prongs that have Falls #10 and Falls #11 in them, or the upper portion of the prong with Falls #8.  These three drainages had most of the water flowing into Gulf Hollow Creek.  I will probably let that wait for the cooler 'leaves off' time of year, but I will be back.  I would recommend this hike for anyone that doesn't mind a little bushwhacking in semi-rough terrain.  The terrain down in the hollows is rough, but not as bad as much of the Ozarks, and the undergrowth was fairly manageable.  I would rate this a moderately difficult bushwhack.
Gulf Hollow GPS Tracks
Green - Jeep road to parking location
Red - Bushwhack hiking track
Blue Hiking track along ATV trail

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Upper prongs of Middle Cow Creek, Ozarks between Limestone and Fort Douglas, Arkansas

5/16/2017 -  Center and southwest upper prongs of the Middle Cow Creek valley

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location #4 (today's location):  35.70573   -93.30781, 1755 ft.
  Falls #27:  35.70861   -93.30734, 
  Falls #28:  35.70942   -93.30806
  Falls #29:  35.70998   -93.30863
  Falls #30:  35.71016   -93.30879
  Bluffline Break (Falls #31):  35.71121   -93.30860
  Falls #31:  35.71111   -93.30887
  Bluffline Break (Falls #32):  35.71233  -93.30925
  Falls #32:  35.71179   -93.30919
  Falls #20:  35.71030   -93.31327, 1393 ft.
  Falls #19:  35.70933   -93.31329, 1440 ft.
  Falls #18:  35.70888   -93.31323, 1472 ft.
  Bluffline Break (Falls #18):  35.70956   -93.31347, 1442 ft.
  Falls #17:  35.70866   -93.31325, 1491 ft.
  Falls #16:  35.70823   -93.31368, 1522 ft. 
  Falls #15:  35.70749   -93.31440, 1581 ft.

Pet Friendly: Dogs off leash should be OK.  If your dog needs to be on a leash, it is doable but difficult because this is all bushwhacking.  Boomer had no problems scrambling up and down through the bluffline breaks, although some of them are fairly steep.

Motorcycle Friendly: No, not at all friendly to your big bike.  The parking locations are several miles down dirt roads.

Hiking Statistics:  The Middle Cow Creek valley is only about 800 feet from top to bottom.  On today's hike, we had a highest-to-lowest elevation change of 500 feet.  Boomer and I hiked a total of only 3.65 miles on this loop.  The terrain varied from relatively open, with a low slope along Middle Cow Creek itself, to very rugged and very steep in the prongs.  I would rate this a moderately difficult bushwhack.

GPS files (.gpx format) - See maps at the bottom of this blog post
  Cow Creek Basin Waypoints
  Middle Cow Creek center and southwest upper prongs - today's hike track
  Jeep road track from Pine Ridge Road to Parking Location #4

Links to blog posts for other sections of Middle Cow Creek:
Falls #18
Just three days ago I had hiked in Still Hollow after it had received a substantial amount of localized rain the day before.  There was so much water, Still Hollow Creek was basically in flood mode, and every waterfall was full and impressive.  Yet, at our home about 16 miles due south, we didn't see a drop of rain.  Curious to see just how localized that rain was, and just how lucky I might be, I decided to hike a part of Middle Cow Creek that I had not explored yet, and maybe get some spring time photos of the southwest upper prong.  Boomer  (our German Shepherd) and I had been hiking in the nearby prongs of Middle Cow Creek in April, and there were a couple of waterfalls I hoped to catch with the full flow and with all the spring greenery.  My earlier trips to the upper prongs of Middle Cow Creek had all resulted in new waterfall finds that were impressive, so I had high hopes for the center of the three upper prongs, the only one I had not explored.


Falls #32
Middle Cow Creek is a large valley, the entirety of which is all public land.  To date, I have found 32 "photo worthy" waterfalls there, many smaller water features, and some of the nicest country for hiking you will find anywhere.  That being said, the key word is "large".  If you want to try to hike everything in one day, good luck.  If you are into backpack camping, this would be a great place to spend two or three days.  If you are like me, however, and prefer day trips, where you park will have everything to do with what areas in this valley you want to see.  See my post on March 9 for a description of how to get to the first three parking locations and details of the hikes for those areas.  To avoid redundancy, I'll limit this blog post to just the hike Boomer and I did today.


To get there, From the community of Pelsor (Sand Gap), go 16.2 miles south on Highway 123, then turn right onto FR-1003 (aka Johnson County CR-5741).  This is 3.3 miles past the Haw Creek Campground.  If you are coming from the other direction on Highway 123, this junction is 10.5 miles north of Hagerville  
- Go north on CR-5741 for 5.7 miles, then 
- Turn right on CR-5680, also known as Pine Ridge Road.   
- Go only about a quarter mile on Pine Ridge Road, and turn left (north) onto an old logging road, what I refer to as a Jeep road.  If you don't have a good 4WD vehicle with good ground clearance, park here off Pine Ridge Road and hike the rest of the way.  This Jeep road has not been used as a logging road for many, many, years, and even if you don't get stuck you will pick up what we refer to locally as "Arkansas pin-striping" from the brush and such you have to plow through.
  This is the kind of old track that I got the FJ Cruiser for, and the winch and tires I have on it give me a little more confidence on this kind of trail.  There were a couple of logs and holes we were able to roll over, but still only got about a quarter mile down the Jeep road before coming to a log across the old road that I didn't want to take on.   We turned around and parked here, and this is the location I have marked above as parking location #4.  


Falls #29
I had encountered this log on a previous visit and considered bringing a chainsaw with me this time, but my recollection was that there were so many other logs down on this road that I would spend more time clearing the road than I would have hiking.  Besides, I was going down the center prong this time, so I didn't have far to hike on the old road anyway.  Boomer and I set off down the old logging road and almost immediately turned off the road to the right to go down into the center prong.  The first thing I noticed was the lack of water.  The heavy rain that hit Still Hollow four days ago clearly had missed this area.  We found Falls #27 and Falls #28, two smaller waterfalls, on our way downstream, then we came to the top of Falls #29 a little over a quarter mile into our hike.  I didn't get a photo that I could scale, but I would estimate this waterfall to be in the 26-foot range.  Around the bluff on the left is another large waterfall, Falls #30.  Both of these waterfalls had disappointingly low flow, but now that I found them I'll definitely be back to see them with more water.  

Falls #31
Continuing downstream, Boomer and I soon came to Falls #31, another fairly good-sized waterfall.  This time I did remember to take a photo on the camera's timer of myself perpendicular to the waterfall base so I could scale it at home.  This one was just over 28-feet tall.  We had to go quite a way down the bluff on the right to find a bluffline break, which I marked and recorded coordinates for.  Likewise, Falls #32 downstream had the same extended bluffline and we had to hike a good distance along the top of it before finding an access break.  That seems to be a characteristic of most of the larger waterfalls I have found in the Middle Cow Creek upper prongs.  It makes for a lot of doubling back and hiking the same length of creek three times, but those tall, unbroken blufflines are exactly the topology that gives us these nice, tall waterfalls.  


Falls #7 on 5/5/2017 - 11 days ago
After leaving Falls #32, it was less than a couple hundred yards to the junction of the upper prongs.  Falls #7 is at the confluence of the center and southwest prongs, and I stopped to take a quick photo of it for comparison with the flow I had seen less than two weeks ago while hiking the southeast and far eastern prongs.  The difference was amazing.  In just 11 days, the flow in these creeks had dropped dramatically.  Having seen what the southeast prong looked like with wet conditions, I was now determined to come back and see these nice waterfalls in all their glory.  There are some really nice waterfalls here; just add
Falls #7 today - 5/16/2017
water.  I turned up the southwest prong, which I had hiked about six weeks ago while we were still in 'leaves off' season.  Hiking down the center prong by the creek had been pleasant, without a lot of briars and other vegetation that can make hiking this time of year very aggravating.  I had the same experience in the southeast prong, and the southwest prong was the same today, not noticeably worse hiking than my 'leaves off' season hike here.  The other nice thing about hiking all three of the upper prongs of Middle Cow Creek is that you don't go very far between waterfalls.  Instead of just a long slog of a bushwhack, there will be a waterfall every hundred yards or so to break up the hike and give you a little ooh-and-aah factor.



Falls #18
The southwest prong was also disappointing with the lack of flow.  Comparing photos of some of the waterfalls today with the flow during my trip in early April, the difference was astounding.  I'm definitely coming back to hike this same loop again, but I'm not doing it until this area gets a lot more rain.  That being said, Falls #18 is the gem of this prong, and Falls #17 above it at the end of a little hidden canyon was awesome looking in April, but today was looking kind of pathetic.  All that being said, the hike up along the creek was really kind of nice.  The only rough spot hiking-wise is climbing above the bluff after visiting Falls #18.  I had marked a bluffline break on our previous hike, and I knew it was a steep one, but the steep factor seems a lot worse when I climbed up it instead of coming down through it, as I did in April.

Boomer and I walked right up along the creek bed and out the top of this prong to the old trace road that wraps around the top of the upper prongs.  From there, it was just a simple hike back along the old road to our parking location.  All in all, it was another great day to be out in the woods.  I only had time today for a short hike, and this one was only two and a half hours.  Wetter conditions would have been nice, but it was still a nice getaway in an area with great scenery and no people.  This one goes on my 'wet weather go-to' list.  I'll be back!


Upper Prongs of Middle Cow Creek
Green - old trace road
Yellow - today's hike
Blue - 4/1/2017 hike of Southwest Prongs
Red - 3/9/2017 hike of East Prongs and Middle Cow Creek
The Greater Cow Creek Basin
Cow Creek(left and top), Middle Cow Creek (middle, of course) and Little Cow Creek (right)
Orange - Forest Service Roads
Green - old trace roads ("Jeep roads")
Red/Blue/Yellow - Hiking tracks


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lower section of Still Hollow, Ozarks near Freeman Springs, Arkansas

5/13/2017 - Still Hollow waterfalls west of north and south prongs

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location #3 (today's location):  
  Falls #50:  35.64386   -93.09353
  Parking Location #6:  35.64268   -93.11766, 761 ft.
  Parking Location #7:  35.64283   -93.11945, 757 ft.
  Falls #54:  35.64056   -93.10512, 928 ft.
  Falls #55:  35.64041   -93.10503
  Falls #56:  35.64055   -93.10507
  Falls #57:  35.63946   -93.10482
  Falls #58:  35.63851   -93.10499
  Falls #59:  35.63822   -93.10509
  Falls #60:  35.63774   -93.10519
  Falls #61:  35.63768   -93.10523
  Falls #62:  35.63724   -93.10516, 1236 ft.
  Falls #63:  35.63951   -93.10391, 1103 ft.
  Falls #64:  35.63977   -93.10441, 1034 ft.
  Falls #65:  35.64148   -93.10381, 1007 ft.
  Falls #66:  35.64533   -93.10165, 950 ft.
  Rapids on Still Hollow Creek:  35.64423   -93.10002, 888 ft.
  Falls #67:  35.64477   -93.09582, 952 ft.


Pet Friendly:  Dogs off leash may be okay, but there are some areas they may have difficulty getting into and out of.  This is a very difficult bushwhack.  If you think your dog needs to be on a leash, I would leave it at home.  Otherwise, it will be a very, very, long day for you and your dog.  Also, you need to cross Still Hollow Creek several times.  If the water is as high as it was today, many dogs will have problems with the current.

Motorcycle Friendly:  Not even close.  Indian Creek Road is rough for any vehicle, let alone a big bike.  

Hiking Statistics:  From top to bottom, Still Hollow is over 1200 feet of
elevation change.  I hiked in from the mouth of Still Hollow today, so I did not have a big climb out to one of the roads on the ridges surrounding the hollow.  Today, I hiked a total of 7.1 miles, with a minimum-to-maximum elevation change of only 430 feet.  As with most areas in the Ozarks, getting to waterfalls means repeated climbs and descents as you navigate blufflines.  This is a difficult bushwhack, primarily because of the dense undergrowth in the higher elevations and along the first quarter mile of Still Hollow Creek from its confluence with Indian Creek. 

GPS files (.gpx format) - Maps of the GPS track are at the bottom of this post.
Falls #54
I had made a very tiring, but highly productive, hike into the big south prong of Still Hollow last Monday.  At that time I had noted that the lower section of Still Hollow from the confluence of the south prong down to the mouth of the hollow where it drains into Indian Creek was the only area I had not explored to at least some extent.  My friend and frequent hiking partner, Dan Frew, had made a hike through this section of Still Hollow last winter and had noted quite a few waterfalls.  That is, where waterfalls would be if only we had water in the creeks.  At the time of Dan's hike, we were in the depths of a severe drought.  We are starting to get some much-needed rain this spring, and yesterday the area around Still Hollow received a lot of localized heavy rain.  So this looked like the right day to check out my last big section of this great polyfoss area.  Not knowing what the conditions would be this time of year with the potential for high water and Still Hollow's jungle-like vegetation, I decided to leave Boomer (our German Shepherd) at home for this one.  My wife Bethany discovered long ago that the word "bushwhack" means it would be wise to opt out until I had completed an initial exploration and knew the lay of the land.  

Falls #61
To get there, you will need a high clearance vehicle for this trip.  Even without the "off road" or "Jeep road" parts of the route to where I parked, the campsite (Parking Location #7) is three miles down Indian Creek Road, which is not well maintained on this section.  I believe most cars can make it, but you may encounter parts of fallen trees, mud holes, and generally rough roads.  I didn't put my FJ Cruiser in 4WD until I got to the campsite, where I forded Indian Creek to a Jeep road on the other side that leads up Gunter Branch Hollow.  But it is an FJ Cruiser, not a PT Cruiser.  As I said, pretty much any vehicle can make it down Indian Creek Road, but be aware that in a smaller low clearance vehicle, it will be rough and slow going.  Do not attempt the ford across Indian Creek without a 4WD vehicle, and don't attempt it if you can't tell how deep the water is. 

Falls #67
From the Dover town square (junction of Highway 7 and Highway 27), 
 - Go north on Highway 7 for 12.3 miles, then turn left onto OLD Highway 7 (aka FS-1801)
 - Go 1.4 miles on Old Highway 7, then turn right on Treat Road (aka FS-1805)
 - Go 6.3 miles on Treat Road, then turn right onto Indian Creek Road (aka FS-1808).  You will go over a long low-water bridge over Indian Creek before turning onto Indian Creek Road.  The junction of Indian Creek and Moccasin Creek are on your right, the combined Indian Creek is on the left.  
 - The turn onto Indian Creek Road is just after the low water bridge.  Go 2.9
miles on Indian Creek, and turn left into a campsite on Indian Creek.  
If you don't have a good 4WD vehicle with good all-terrain tires and ground clearance, park here.  This is Parking Location #7.  Use your judgment of your vehicle's capabilities to assess whether you should ford Indian Creek with it.
Slot at the top of Falls #54
 - Either ford Indian Creek in your vehicle or wade across Indian Creek at the campsite.  On the other side of the creek, follow the Jeep road for about a quarter of a mile.  You will go across Gunter Branch, then up a short but steep hill.  The Jeep road goes up to a large food plot and continues on the other side, but turn right off of it at the edge of the food plot.  This is about a quarter mile from where you turned off Indian Creek Road.
 - Drive/hike across the right (west) side of the food plot to the far end of it, toward Still Hollow.  There is a Jeep road here that you could take all the way to Still Hollow Creek, but I parked here at the end of the food plot.  You can drive down the road right to Still Hollow Creek, but it is pretty tight for parking off the Jeep road and for turning around.  It's also not very far, so I just found it easier to park at the end of the food plot and start the hike there.  This is Parking Location #6. 

Falls #56
I started my hike along the creek on the left (north) side since it looked much flatter on the topo maps and I was hoping to find traces of an old road up into the hollow that would make the hiking a little easier.  I did find traces of an old homestead, where they had built a rock wall for quite a distance along this side of Still Hollow Creek.  Alas, I did not find any trace of an old road to follow, although I'm certain the old pioneers would have blazed one in this area.  What I did find is an almost impenetrable jungle of briars, vines, saplings, and every type of vegetation known to mankind.  The creek was so high, it was basically bank-to-bank, so I toughed it out and just made my way through the mess as well as I could.  

Falls #63
After a quarter mile or so, I was ready to hang it up, but it finally thinned out somewhat along the creek, and I finally figured out that I was not crossing the creek without getting water in my boots.   Since the first area I needed to check out was the large drainage on the other side of the creek, I was going to have to cross it at least once anyway.  Once I accepted the fact that my boots were going to be flooded the rest of the day, I crossed the creek to the side that looked a little better, generally on the inside bank of a curve in the creek.  The hiking conditions were pretty miserable at the start, for the first quarter mile or so, and I didn't turn up into that large southwest drainage until almost a mile upstream.  Previously, I had kind of split up Still Hollow into hikes in the north prongs and the big south prong.  To avoid confusion, I'll refer to everything downstream of the north and south prongs as the 'lower portion' of Still Hollow, and this large drainage on the south side of this section as the 'southwest drainage' of Still Hollow.

Falls #54 (foreground)
and Falls #55 (background)
Once I started up into the southwest drainage, I came to the first waterfall, Falls #54, and the lousy hiking conditions became a distant memory.  This is a beautiful, classic Ozark waterfall, dropping over 20 feet from a narrow canyon above.  As I hiked down the base of the bluffline it flows over, I took some photos from that perspective, then moved around to the other side to capture that as well.  It wasn't until I was preparing to hike on upstream that I looked up as I passed directly in front of it and noticed an even larger waterfall directly above it.  That was one of those 'D'oh!' facepalm moments when you wonder how you could have been so wrapped up in the beauty of the waterfall that you didn't even notice the huge lead-in waterfall above it.  But after the hike up the creek, I saw this one and immediately said, "Totally worth it!"  It is, but seeing the huge double waterfall made it doubly totally worth it.

Slot at top of Falls #54
I climbed up the right side bluffline and made my way down into the narrow canyon above it.  The banks of this short blind canyon above Falls #54 are very steep, but manageable if you take your time.  You may well slip and slide down part of it on your butt (I managed to not do this), but it will be a short enough slide, and you will get plenty of opportunities to wash the mud off your pants later as you go wading in Still Hollow Creek.  Once down into the short canyon, I saw that the large cascade above Falls #54 was actually separated from it by several yards, so I called it a separate waterfall, Falls #55, instead of just one two-tiered waterfall.  From the base of Falls #55, there is a cool slot that the water funnels into and takes it right to the top of Falls #54.  It doesn't look like it, but the slot opens up to a very short, but wide, ledge just prior to going over the edge, giving Falls #54 it's wide top.

Falls #57
Having just seen a couple of waterfalls that made the whole hike imminently worthwhile, I was excited to see what else might be in this drainage, going upstream, I found Falls #56 just a few yards above Falls #55.  It seemed to be like that all the way up this drainage, with one waterfall after another.  The rest are not all grouped as closely together as the first three, but you don't go very far without finding yet another waterfall.  Falls #56 is a long, tumbling waterfall where the creek is forced into a narrow channel.  A hundred yards upstream, Falls #57 has a long, rippling cascade followed by a drop onto a large rock.  Another fork of this drainage takes off to the left (east), but I chose to check that out on the way back down from this drainage.  

Falls #58
A hundred yards further upstream, Falls #58 is another long, tumbling waterfall, and a few yards above that, Falls #59 is where the creek splits into two streams, each with short waterfalls before they flow back together.  A short distance upstream, I found Falls #60, at the top of which is the pool for Falls #61.  Falls #61 is not one of the larger cascades I have seen, but it is definitely one of the prettiest.  I found Falls #62 just a short distance further upstream, but at this point, the blufflines were starting to break down and the creek was flattening somewhat.  There was an old logging road only about a hundred feet higher up across the top of the southwest drainage, so that told me this drainage probably didn't have much else in it.  The type of topology that is conducive to creating waterfalls is not so friendly to road building.

Falls #64
From Falls #62, I hiked down and around the bluff into the next drainage to the east, the one I had noted branching off downstream of Falls #57.  I found Falls #63 in that drainage, and right below it Falls #64.  From this point, it is only a short distance downstream to where this fork flows back into the creek in the southwest drainage, and you can see Falls #57 a short distance upstream.  The topo maps showed yet another side drainage off to the east, the direction I would be going up Still Hollow Creek anyway, so I hiked over to it and found Falls #65.  From this waterfall, I hiked down this drainage to where it flowed into the bottom of the southwest drainage and continued hiking upstream on Still Hollow Creek.  

Falls #65
Once you get up past the lower quarter mile or so of Still Hollow Creek, hiking alongside it is not so bad.  It is still a bushwhack, and there is plenty of undergrowth, but it isn't the dense jungle I found in the lowest part of the hollow.  My boots were also thoroughly flooded, and couldn't possibly get any wetter, so I figured I might as well wade across Still Hollow Creek as needed, and I did.  Generally, when the creek curves, the outside of the curve will be somewhat steeper, as the creek digs into and erodes the bluff on that bank.  The inside of the curve, conversely, is generally flatter and more open, making for easier hiking.  This creek has a lot of curves, but I was at the point of just jumping in and wading across.  I tried to find spots where the flow wasn't so rapid I would be swept off my feet and was successful in staying upright in the creek all day.  Sometimes it was shin deep, sometimes knee deep, sometimes deeper, but my pack stayed dry, and that was the most important thing.  My camera, a Nikon D500, is environmentally sealed, but the 16-80 mm lens I use most often is not.

Falls #66
Hiking upstream, I made pretty good time as I went to the next drainage I wanted to check out, on the north side of Still Hollow Creek.  This one had a waterfall that Dan had seen on his trip here last winter, and I found that less than a hundred yards up this drainage.  Falls #66 is a cascade about 10 feet tall but had a lot of large logs jammed in front of it blocking the view.  From the topology of this drainage, I suspect is has some more nice waterfalls upstream, but I was running a little short on time and wanted to make sure I at least went all the way up the lower portion of Still Hollow to the south prong.  

Falls #67
Continuing my hike upstream along Still Hollow Creek, I passed some pretty cool rapids on the creek.  I'm not sure how these would look if the water wasn't so high, but it was nice today.  Further upstream, I found Falls #67 plunging over the very tall bluffline along the south side of Still Hollow Creek, falling not ten yards from the creek itself.  I was a little surprised at how much flow there was in this tall waterfall, much more than you normally see in a wet weather pour-off.  When I got back home, I noted that Dan had seen this one last winter, so it had at least a trickle of flow even back during the long drought.  Looking at the topo maps, it appears that this waterfall is at the end of a very long, steep drainage.  I'm intrigued now since it looks like this drainage could be hiding some really nice waterfalls.  You never know until you go look, so now I'll have to return and find a way to get into this drainage. 

Falls #50
From Falls #67, the junction of Still Hollow Creek with the large stream coming from the big south prong is only about 150 yards upstream.  I hiked into the south prong along the creek as far as Falls #50.  I wanted to see what it was like today compared to when I had seen it last Monday to get a feel for how much localized rain the hollow had received.  Falls #50 was, indeed, flowing about half again as much as it had been.  On this waterfall, once it gets going good, as it was earlier this week, additional flow doesn't hurt but doesn't make it look much different.  Leaving Falls #50, I started my hike back downstream to where I parked.  

Falls #62
The hike downstream went pretty quickly.  For one thing, it is downhill, which is one distinct advantage of this entry into Still Hollow.  Every other hike out has involved a very steep climb of a few hundred feet.  Going downhill is definitely easier, and this time I didn't care if I got more water in my boots.  My boots could not possibly take any more water.  The lower quarter mile that I had struggled with on the hike in was still not great, but not nearly as bad as the dense jungle I had fought with.  Getting back to the FJ Cruiser, I went back the way I had come, across Gunter Branch and the ford across Indian Creek, and headed back toward home.  Since there isn't any great elevation change, the only thing making this a really tough hike is the vegetation.  In the 'leaves off' season, this would be much easier, maybe dropping the rating down to a moderately difficult bushwhack.  But make no mistake, this time of year it is a difficult bushwhack.  I would not recommend this hike for children, nor for any not physically fit.  But if you are up for a difficult bushwhack, the payoff on this one is huuuge.  I'll be back.
GPS track for today's hike (brown)
Jeep Road from Indian Creek Road (green)
Still Hollow
Brown - today's hike in lower portion
Orange - south prong
Blue - high route upstream along trace road
Yellow - creek route upstream
Red - original exploration of north prong