Saturday, May 2, 2015

Engagement Hollow Polyfoss, Arkansas Ozarks

5/2/2015 - Engagement Hollow - Camp Robinson edition

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location #1: 35.66268,  -93.62127,  1461 feet
  Parking Location #2: 35.66990,  -93.63350,  1050 feet
  Short Grotto Falls:  35.66817,  -93.6283,  1075 feet
  Amy Falls:  35.66672,  -93.62440,  1141 feet
  Unnamed Falls #6:  35.66758,  -93.62092,  1368 feet
  Whiskey Still Falls:  35.66733,  -93.62128,  1328 feet
  Unnamed Falls #4:  35.66722,  -93.62140,  1322 feet
  Unnamed Falls #3:  35.66662,  -93.62237,  1223 feet
  Unnamed Falls #2:  35.66442,  -93.62027,  1342 feet
  Unnamed Falls #1:  35.66403,  -93.62132,  1337 feet
  Fallen Timbers Falls:  35.665351,  -93.62170,  1269 feet
  Unnamed Falls #10:  35.66955,  -93.63085, 1012 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes, dogs off leash should be fine. Some of the terrain is a little steep and rugged, so if your dog can't be trusted off leash I would not recommend taking it.

Motorcycle Friendly: No, not really.  The dirt roads are in relatively good shape, but are still dirt roads with potholes, mud holes, etc.  While you could take a heavy bike on this road, you wouldn't like it.

GPS files:

Whiskey Stills Falls
Bethany, Boomer, and I went to Engagement Hollow on Wednesday, en route to Oark for burgers.  So, where to go hiking today, on a beautiful Saturday?  Back to the same place, of course.  Well, maybe not "of course", of course.  I usually don't go back to same area in so short a time.  But today, John Kaviak had organized a hike through Engagement Hollow for some military folks at Camp Robinson and had opened the invitation.  You just don't get a better class of people to hang around with, and even after two visits to the area, I still had some unfinished business in this valley.  

Amy Falls
I had taken some photos of Whiskey Still Falls just three days ago when I went with Bethany and Boomer, but had not actually approached the waterfall since it had such little water flow.  When I learned it had a cave associated with it, I kicked myself for not getting a closer look.  "Next time", I said to myself.  So here it is - the perfect 'next time' opportunity with some military folks and their families.  

Falls #10
Something else I had missed in my previous two visits was a tenth waterfall in Engagement Hollow.  Brian Emfinger, who had originally explored and documented this area, had told me there was yet another waterfall downstream of Short Grotto Falls.  My first visit, it was below freezing all day and we went directly from Short Grotto Falls back to the road so we could thaw out just a little sooner.  On my visit three days ago, Bethany banged her knee higher in the hollow and by the time we got to Short Grotto Falls, it was starting to be quite painful and swollen.  So I still had one more waterfall to check out as well.

Taking a break - at Falls #4
I won't rehash all the 'how to get there' information, and the details of making your way through the hollow.  All that information is in the previous post, so you can scroll down to it, click the link on the right, or go here.  A quick work on naming the waterfalls in this great little polyfoss;  Since Brian was first to explore and document it, I will try to maintain some consistency and use the same designations he did.  Four of the waterfalls in the hollow have been named, and for the rest I'll refer to them by the same numbers Brian did on his web page.

Below bluff south of Fall #3
We started the day with a early morning meet-up at the Clarksville Pizza Hut, then headed for Engagement Hollow.  Again, see the previous blog post for detailed driving and hiking directions.  We followed the same route today as Bethany and I followed previously, with a couple of exceptions.  Going from Whiskey Still Falls back down to the main creek, John took a route down the left (south) side of Falls #3, then back upstream to the waterfall itself.  While you could go down either side of the bluffline Falls #3 goes over, I found going down the right (north) side to be shorter and a little easier going. 

Short Grotto Falls
After going through the entire hollow, including the Whiskey Still Falls side drainage, we ended up where I exited the hollow on my previous two visits, Short Grotto Falls.  This time, however, we continued on down the main creek and came to Falls #10, only about 300 yards downstream.  It is low enough in the hollow that it will generally have at least some flow over it all the time.  That being the case, it is one of those shorter, wider falls that always look best with lots of water.  

Inside cave at Whiskey Still Falls
From Falls #10, we went downstream about another 100 yards and turned left to go up to the parking location #2, only an additional 100 yards or so.  We had plenty of vehicles today, and had the foresight to leave a couple of them at this location.  So everyone got to ride back to where we had left the rest of the vehicles at parking location #1.  Since I usually hike alone, or go with someone in just one vehicle, this was a rare treat for me.  

Today, the waterfalls were not as great as I had seen them in January, but the weather sure was nicer.  The company was top notch as well.  There were only a dozen folks hiking, but this is by far the largest group I have hiked with, and I couldn't have asked for nicer hiking companions.  This polyfoss has a tremendous amount of water features in a relatively small area, so it stays very high on my 'highly recommended' list.   It does tend to dry up after going a while without rain, so my only suggestion would be to keep this one fora day when the area has seen at least some rain recently.

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