Saturday, January 16, 2016

Elmer Page Hollow wateralls, Arkansas Ozarks near Freeman Springs

1/15/2016 - Fudd Falls, Wabbit Falls, Elmer's Still Falls, and Elmer Page Falls

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location #1:  35.60718   -93.0031,  1339 feet
  Parking Location #2:  35.61171   -93.10847,  1225 feet
  Fudd Falls:  35.61283   -93.10444,  1048 feet
  Wabbit Falls:  35.61294   -93.10415,  1052 feet
  Elmer's Still Falls:  35.61291   -93.09945,  1135 feet
  Elmer Page Falls:  35.61570   -93.09752,  1252 feet

Pet Friendly:  Dogs on or off leash may be okay, but there are some areas they may have difficulty getting into and out of.  This is a moderate bushwhack, but there are some steep parts and some rock scrambles to hike over.  If you think your dog needs to be on leash, I would not recommend you take it.

Motorcycle Friendly:  No.  This is almost five miles down Dare Mine Road.  It is a dirt road, and not too bad at the beginning but it does get progressively worse.

Hiking Statistics:  From top to bottom, Elmer Page Hollow is over 1100 feet of elevation change.  Today we hiked a total of 3.72 miles in this hollow, with a minimum-to-maximum elevation change of 547 feet.  More than half of that is a gradual climb as we hiked up the creek, with only 250 feet in the climb from Elmer Page Falls up to Dare Mine Road.  Almost all of our hiking route was in relatively open hardwood forest, with minimal undergrowth.  I would rate this as an easy to moderate bushwhack. 

GPS files (.gpx format) - Maps of the GPS track are at the bottom of this post.

Elmer Page Falls
After completing our hiking loop through the south prong of Still Hollow, my friends, Dan Frew and Jim Fitsimones, and I found ourselves with much of the day still free.  Mind you, we ate breakfast this morning at 5:00 am and left for Still Hollow after that, and hiking any part of Still Hollow is somewhat strenuous, so we weren't exactly starting fresh.  That being said, we had plenty left in the tank to take on another hiking exploration.  Elmer Page Hollow (not to be confused with Page Hollow) was adjacent to Still Hollow on the south, right along Dare Mine Road.  We happened to already be parked on Dare Mine Road, so it was only an extra couple of miles.

Elmer's Still Falls
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.  Turn left (southwest) on Dare Mine Road (aka CR-1806).  Go 4.6 miles on Dare Mine Road and turn right onto a Jeep road.  If you are not comfortable taking your vehicle on this type of road, park it (parking location #1) and hoof it the rest of the way.  If you have a decent 4WD or high clearance vehicle, you can continue on another half mile and park.  This is the parking location #2, the one we used today.

Elmer Page Hollow Creek - with Dan
Note the lack of undergrowth
The Jeep road we parked on runs right along the top of Elmer Page Hollow, with the hollow to your right (north) as you drive in.  We hiked straight down (north) toward the main creek running through Elmer Page Hollow.  After getting home and plotting our hike on my Topo map system, I noticed another smaller prong coming in on the opposite side of the creek from where we angled down to it.  This prong is fairly short, but steep and looks promising.  I would not be surprised to find some nice waterfalls in it as well.  I will check it out on my next trip to this hollow, and I'll definitely be back.

Fudd Falls - with Rick
Photo by Jim Fitsimones
The going was a little steep, but almost devoid of undergrowth of any kind.  This was such a dramatic change from neighboring Still Hollow I was a little taken aback, but I'll take it.  It is still a bushwhack technically, but I find this kind of hiking off trail thoroughly enjoyable.  The entire hollow was very open in this manner.  We soon came to our first waterfall along the main creek, a wide shelf type waterfall in the 18 foot range.  The 'Elmer' in this hollow's name conjured up a number of possibilities for naming waterfalls, and Elmer Fudd Falls was one of those.  This one ended up with that moniker.

Wabbit Falls
We found a nice set of two waterfalls not ten yards from the top of Fudd Falls.  I'm not sure whether to call this two separate waterfalls or a two tiered fall, but I'll stick to calling it one set of falls until I'm corrected by some purist willing to educate me.  They extend from bank to bank across the creek.  We have not had substantial rainfall for over two weeks, but I suspect these are spectacular with more flow.  My wife Bethany is quite knowledgeable on classic cartoons and came up with the perfect name for these waterfalls accompanying Fudd Falls.  We'll call them Wabbit Falls.

Site of old still - with Dan and Jim
Continuing upstream, we found an old metal drum with a hole cut into it for a door in the creek itself.  Hmmmm.  Yeah, that does look like something rigged for a still's firebox.   It seems like every remote hollow had a still in it back during prohibition, and quite a few of them kept running long after prohibition was repealed.  Sure enough, a short distance from that up on the left bluff we found a small shelter cave where a still had been set up.  It appears they used a door from a Model-T as the top of the firebox, cutting a hole in it for a stovepipe.  

Elmer's Still Falls
Ergo, the next waterfall kind of named itself; Elmer's Still Falls, since it was near the site of the old still.  This is one of the smaller of the waterfalls we found in the hollow, but also definitely one of the coolest.  Water falls off a shelf, into a big groove, and dumps out perpendicular to the main flow above it.  You can see where water also splays out over the large boulder when it has just a bit more flow than it did today.  Today, there was just a dribble running over the front of the large boulder.

Elmer Page Falls
Upstream from Elmer's Still Falls, the bluffline got much steeper, taller, and more sheer.  We were all thinking "if this bluffline ever closes in, it should have a nice sized waterfall."  And it did.  We hiked in along the base of the bluffline and found Elmer Page Falls, the largest that we found in the hollow.  By this time in the afternoon, the sun was so bright it was almost impossible to get a good shot of the waterfall, but as you can see, it is impressive.  I'm always amazed at finds like this.  To have such beauty tucked away and unknown is almost incomprehensible to me.  

Fudd Falls
I noted a large amount of water flow from seeps in the cracks in the bluff surrounding Elmer Page Falls, a couple of them smaller waterfalls in themselves.  That tells me this is likely an area that will stay relatively wet even in drier times.  I intend to come back to this area after a good rain, but I'm also thinking I need to check it out when other creeks are drying up.  

Wabbit Falls
After leaving Elmer Page Falls, we followed the creek upstream for a distance.  It appeared to lose a good deal of the flow by the time we were only a couple of hundred feet below the top of the ridge line above the hollow, so we decided to call it quits for the day and head to CJ's for burgers.  We headed straight up the east side of the hollow toward Dare Mine Road.  It is a little steep, but is a relatively short hike and still with minimal undergrowth.  

Dan and Jim on approach to Fudd Falls
This is about as rough as it gets
We reached Dare Mine Road and hiked back down it to where we had parked.  Between us, we had four different GPS devices, all with different mileage on trip meters; anywhere from 3.72 miles to 5.15 miles.  I went with 3.72 miles, since that was what the track on my handheld GPS profiled out as.  This was our second good bushwhack of the day, but very enjoyable.  It was steep in some places and some places involved a fair amount of rock-hopping, but all in all it was a very enjoyable hike.  I would highly recommend this to anyone willing to get off trail and bushwhack.  Most hikers should have no problems with this one.  I'm looking forward to my next visit here already.
GPS Track - Elmer Page Hollow

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