Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Elmer Page Hollow, Arkansas Ozarks southwest of Freeman Springs

4/12/2016 - 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
  Falls #1:  35.61443   -93.10989,  955 ft.
  Falls #2:  35.61537   -93.10628,  1060 ft.
  Falls #3:  35.61585   -93.10564,  1120 ft.
  Falls #4:  35.61638   -93.10488,  1207 ft.
  Falls #5:  35.61690   -93.10430,  1253 ft.
  Falls #6:  35.62044   -93.09587,  1432 ft.

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.  Boomer had no problems today, but let's face it - he's a mountain hiking dog if ever there was one.  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 Boomer and I hiked a total of 4.03 miles in this hollow, with a minimum-to-maximum elevation change of 532 feet.  There were two climbs of over 500 feet, and a few smaller ones as we climbed in and out of waterfall grottoes.  Almost all of our hiking route was in relatively open hardwood forest, with minimal undergrowth.  I would rate today's hike as a difficult bushwhack.  If all you do is hike to the major waterfalls on the main creek, I would rate it as a moderate bushwhack.

GPS files (.gpx format) - Maps of the GPS track are at the bottom of this post.
Elmer Page Falls
Elmer Page Hollow is just south of Still Hollow, one of my new favorites due to the plethora of waterfalls in that polyfoss area.  You would think they would be a lot alike since the two areas are only separated by Dare Mine Knob.  They are not.  Elmer Page Hollow is relatively free from the dense underbrush that Still Hollow has extended down from the knobs.  On the flip side, we had only found four significant waterfalls in Elmer Page Hollow, while Still Hollow now has 39 identified.  Elmer Page Hollow is definitely not as prolific in the waterfall department, but I always felt there were more to be found.  Today, Boomer (our German Shepherd) and I set out to explore the unexplored parts of Elmer Page Hollow.  

Fudd Falls
You can see the blog post from my first trip to Elmer Page Hollow on 1/15/2016 here.  On that trip, my hiking companions and I had already completed a hike through the big south prong of Still Hollow, so we were not exactly well rested.  We made it down into the hollow and well up the main creek, finding those four significant waterfalls I spoke of.  Below where we hiked, the main creek flattens out somewhat, making the probability of finding more waterfalls there not very good.  But we had bypassed the only major tributary running into the main creek, and had only explored a quarter mile or so upstream of Elmer Page Falls.  Those areas were on my list for today.

Falls #2
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.  On the old Forest Service maps, this is called Little Still Road.  It's a little rough; 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.

Falls #3
The Jeep road we parked on runs right at the top of Elmer Page Hollow, with the hollow to your right (north) as you drive in.  Boomer and I hiked straight down (north) toward the main creek running through Elmer Page Hollow.  While everything was growing and "greening up" now, there still was not much in the way of undergrowth.  This time, instead of going up the creek toward Fudd Falls, we headed up the major tributary on the opposite side of the creek.  This tributary was actually dry where it flowed into the main creek.  I have seen this before in the Ozarks and wasn't buying it.  We continued upstream and found Falls #1 right away, just a few yards up this feeder creek.  In the Ozarks, I have seen creeks seemingly disappear, then re-emerge downstream. 

Falls #4
Going upstream, Boomer and I came across five new waterfalls altogether in this tributary.  Only one, Falls #4, was what you would call a larger waterfall, in the 26-30 foot range.  The other four were in the six to ten-foot range; not real big ones, but each beautiful in its own right.  The flow in these waterfalls today was fairly disappointing.  I had been putting off a return trip to Elmer Page Hollow to see it with full springtime flow, and when I planned this trip that's what I thought I would be getting.  Our weather forecasts were for 1-2 inches plus of rain yesterday, and that was my incentive for this hike.  Unfortunately, we only received about 0.2 inches at our home 18 miles south, and I suspect Elmer Page Hollow saw even less.  The leaves covering the forest were dry and crunchy as if they didn't even get wet yesterday.  I still intend to come back for another visit when (if) we get some decent rain.

Elmer's Still Falls
The five waterfalls in the tributary creek were all spaced out fairly evenly, stretching all the way up to the higher reaches of this hollow.  Above Falls #5, we continued hiking along the creek, even though it was somewhat flat on the upper section that comes off Dare Mine Knob.  I was looking for an old logging road that the Forest Service maps showed cutting across the top of this drainage.  I looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  I did find where some logging activity had been taking place at the top of Dare Mine Knob.  Normally, I hate seeing this.  In this case, it was done the right way, selectively taking out trees and leaving plenty of large hardwoods to keep most of the canopy covering the forest floor.  They kept out of the hollow entirely, only harvesting on top of the knob.

Elmer Page Falls
Since we were already in the upper part of Dare Mine Knob, Boomer and I kept our elevation and rounded the knob into the main part of Elmer Page Hollow.  One of my objectives for today was to explore the upper parts of the hollow, so we hiked right around the top of the hollow to the head of the main creek.  Up at the very top of the hollow, we did indeed find another waterfall.  Falls #6 looked like it would be spectacular if it had decent flow.  Today, it certainly did not.  From Falls #6, we did not look upstream further, since the creek flow at that point was so low.  Boomer and I headed back downstream on the main creek toward the waterfalls we already knew about.

Boomer in one of the small caves at Elmer Page Falls
While we saw a few smaller waterfalls in the two-to-four foot range, we didn't see anything else significant until we came to Elmer Page Falls, the largest one in the hollow.  The grotto for Elmer Page Falls is quite large, with tall, sheer bluffs.  Along the west side of this grotto are a few small caves that look like someone at one time had stacked rock in front of to enclose then.  Continuing downstream, we visited Elmer's Still Falls, named such because of the remains of an old still we had found higher on the bluff above it.  

Wabbit Falls
After making our way downstream to Wabbit Falls and Fudd Falls, Boomer and I had "closed the loop" on the section of creek that we had already explored.  Whew!  We headed back up the bluff toward Dare Mine Road directly from Fudd Falls.  This is a steep climb out and brought us back to the road not far from where we had parked.  I like this little hollow a lot.  I would highly recommend this hike as a good way to just get out in some unspoiled wilderness that others never seem to go.  If there is good flow in the creeks, Falls #4 and Falls #6 should be fantastic, and the others in the north prong we visited today would also be worth seeing.  If it isn't really wet, those extra waterfalls are probably not worth the extra effort.  In that case, I would just drop down to Fudd Falls, visit the others up to Elmer Page Falls, and then hike up to the road.  Whatever your preference, this is a pretty nice bushwhack.
GPS Tracks - Elmer Page Hollow
Red - track from 1/15/2016 hike
Blue - track from 4/12/2016 hike

2 comments:

  1. Cool place Rick. Had no idea where this was till I looked it up on the map. Had looked at this area in the past on satellite image but saw too many clear cuts in the vicinity of Indian Creek. How in the heck do you know the names of these falls? I just usually make up goofy names as I go along.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I usually just give them a number as I come to them. My wife comes up with most of the names. I check on Panoramio and some other sources to see if someone has already found and named them, and if not I usually go with what she comes up with. She is much more imaginative than I am.

    ReplyDelete