Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Paige Falls and Broadwater Hollow Falls, Arkansas Ozarks

1/20/2015 - Paige Falls and Broadwater Hollow Falls

GPS Coordinates: (Latitude, Longitude, Elevation)
  Parking:  36.10513,  -93.26685,  1268 feet
  Paige Falls:  36.10542,  -93.2 6714,  1236 feet
  Broadwater Hollow Falls:  36.10532,  -93.26685,  1226 feet

Pet Friendly: Yes.  Easy for pets on or off leash.

Motorcycle Friendly: Nope.  The road is definitely too rough.  It is only two miles down a dirt road to the parking location, but it is very rough.

Paige Falls (8 ft)
Paige Falls and Broadwater Hollow Falls are about as easy a hike to beautiful waterfalls as you will find.  This was not the hike I had wanted to make, but fate was somewhat fickle.  I had considered going hiking a couple of days ago, on a Sunday afternoon.  Instead, I decided to put it off for another day and cut up a bunch of firewood.  Soooo, one little accident when I was almost done, and I had to make a trip to the emergency room.  The ER was packed, but guess what?  Show them where a chain saw ate into your leg and they will rush you right into a room to get treated.  Thinking back, I guess that was the only upside.  The downside was it took six stitches inside to pull the muscle back together where it had been severed, then another six stitches outside to seal it up.  

Broadwater Hollow Falls (21 ft)
So I didn't really feel like hiking yesterday, particularly on a difficult bushwhack of several miles as I had intended.  Today, I was feeling just stupid enough to get back out in the woods and do some hiking.  But it was tempered with enough caution to scrap going to Horsehead Creek and go to Broadwater Hollow instead.  This was a fairly long drive for us, but a very short hike.  Just what I needed to test my limits.  As it turns out, this is a hike a toddler could do, but was about all my leg could take today.  

I suppose there is one other upside;  My wife, Bethany, was  not too keen on my going hiking at all, much less alone.  So as an additional bonus, I got to not only spend the day in the wilderness, I got to spend it with the love of my life.  Bethany, Boomer (our German Shepard) and I loaded up and headed north.

Turn off Highway 43 here!
To get there, go north on Highway 43 from Ponca for 8.7 miles and turn right onto NC-2660.  This turn onto  NC-2660 is 4.9 miles past the junction of Highways 103 and 43, and is 0.8 miles past the Compton post office.  Go two miles down NC-2660 and there will be a pullout on the left to park.  If you cross over the low water crossing at Broadwater Hollow, you have gone too far.  This parking spot is about halfway down the hill approaching the creek at Broadwater Hollow.  From the parking location, walk on down the road and cross the creek.  Another note about NC-2600; Newton County has done a great job putting new signs on every little road in the county.  I give them kudos for that.  However, some of the new road numbers don't match historic road numbers.  NC-2660 is shown as 'Newton 2200 Road' on some maps.  The only road sign, as you can see in the photo, is NC-2600.  This is a very rough road, but you should be able to take any vehicle down it if you take it slowly.

Small Unnamed Waterfall Upstream of Paige Falls
Once across the creek, there is a trail following the creek downstream.  Just below the road there are a series of small cascades, followed by a small waterfall.  Continuing on downstream, there are a couple of huge boulders separated by a crack a couple of feet wide.  You can go above, below, or between the boulders.  The trail here is not an engineered trail, but enough folks have visited to make the paths clearly visible.  

Boomer - in Broadwater Hollow
The top of Paige Falls is just below the giant boulders, and if you continue on downstream there are a couple of paths down to the base of the waterfall.  Paige Falls is not all that tall at eight feet, but it is very picturesque.  It spills over the ledge into an emerald pool that is, well, pretty as a picture.  It was here that I managed to step into a pool in the creek a lot deeper than it looked, getting my recent wound wet as well as getting water in my boots.  I hate that, but this was not that long a hike that I couldn't live with it.  

Bethany and Boomer - at Broadwater Hollow Falls
Broadwater Hollow Falls is just downstream from Paige Falls, but to get to the base of the waterfall, the best way is to climb back up to the trail and continue downstream on it.  Broadwater Hollow Falls will be visible just a few yards downstream, but resist the urge to go down the steep embankment to the creek.  If you go straight ahead, the trail slopes much more gently down to creek level, then you can go back upstream easily to the base of Broadwater Hollow Falls.  This waterfall is about 21 feet tall, starting out with a cascade at the top and falling into the rock of the creek bed below.  

Sometimes you gotta set up
the shot wherever you can.
After leaving Broadwater Hollow Falls, we continued on downstream to explore a little.  The creek here is very picturesque, primarily running on solid rock and therefore very clear.  Over the past few millennia, the creek has etched a channel in the rock.  Broadwater Hollow flows into Cecil Creek only about a quarter mile below Broadwater Hollow Falls.

By the time we headed back, my leg was starting to get somewhat painful.  I didn't damage it further, but learned my limitations for now.  I am glad we chose this particular hike to test it out.  For the record, Bethany was right.  I was in no way ready for a strenuous hike.  Maybe tomorrow...  Surely within a couple of weeks when the stitches come out and some smart doctor declares me officially healed.

All in all, another great day in the wilderness.  The hike was short, easy, without a lot of climbing or scrambling.  If all you do is go to Paige Falls and Broadwater Hollow Falls then head back, the total hike is a little over a half mile.  It was easy enough, still very pleasant even despite my bum leg, and I got to spend the day with my favorite hiking companions.  Can't wait for the next one.

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