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9/8/2012
  During last week's episode, you'll remember that my failed attempt down the Terrapin Branch led to much disappointment. This week I was detemined to go back and make sure this creek did not have something worth seeing. It was still raining and warm when I left Little Rock at 2:15 a.m., but radar and cloud cover maps indicated this would be absent soon going north. By the time the Ozarks were under me the temperature felt much cooler and the skies were clear with a bright half moon. The dirt road numbered 1462 on my Buffalo River map has no such number listed on any other maps at my disposal. It is the next road on the left just past Cassville Church off Hwy 21. There is a small loop parking area about 1/4 mile down this road on the right that I shined my flashlight on last week, but did not realize this was a parking area since it had no signs. There is room for 4-5 cars here. Woods entry made at 5:20 with headlamp blazing...the moon was not much help with the canopy above. The brush was quite thick for a while but a tributary was found and things opened up a bit with the dry creek bed as a trail. At one point I was surprised by a barking dog and realized this creek skirted close to a building with lights...I moved swiftly onward without incident. Finally the creek met with the upper reaches of Terrapin Branch and a westward track was begun. There was a trickle flow even though rain had just come through overnight. Only one small waterfall was passed but my light did find some bluffs along the way. Last week there was a little more water. I came upon the small waterfall that I was forced to go around last time by crawling under trees, over trees and numerous vines...this seemed the probable spot where my tripod was lost. Since the water was lower, a different route down the left side was used to get around this waterfall. To my amazement, when I looked up at the rock wall I had scrambled down before, there hanging from a heavy vine was my tripod. Now I had two with me since a replacement was already purchased.
  It was about 7:15 by the time I hit the point where I exited the creek and headed back last week. It was now light and the temp was a wonderful 60 degrees...the first feeling of fall was in the air. Continuing westward towards the Buffalo revealed nothing of interest. The most troublesome aspect of this hollow is the vast number of fallen trees and debris scattered everywhere. There was one impassible place where I was forced well around through a terrible mess of downed trees, branches and weeds. Crawling over a log a sting on my leg was felt, but it was no insect. Turns out both legs came in contact with something I had never experienced before...what was assumed to be stinging nettle. The immediate sensation of severe itching forced me to the creek where I washed my legs well with copious amounts of water. This seemed to help, but the relief was short-lived. Since this was new to me, a rash was expected but never did materialize. The itching eventually faded. My goal of the Upper Buffalo was achieved at 8:00. The confluence was not impressive...the river at this point was without character. I found a comfy seat among the rocks, ate a snack and pondered my options while studying my map. The Buffalo was pretty low but not as low as it surely was a couple of weeks ago. A good sized red-tailed hawk watched me from a tree across the river while crows occupied most of the soundscape. 
  The decision was made to climb to the top of the mountain to the south of Terrapin and work my way along the edge of private property and back to the highway. No bluff line was encountered along the ascent. There is a huge pasture on top that is visible from across the river from Hawk Hollow near Smith Falls and McClure Falls. There was found a barn full of hay and Curtis Cemetery. Working cautiously east I tried to avoid any signs of human habitation...the downside of hiking private property. A herd of turkeys was happened upon and they ran from me like little girls...eventually taking flight and fleeing into the shrubbery. After zig-zagging for a good while I was within a half mile of the highway and had encountered no humanoids...just cows, turkeys and the occasional white-tailed deer. There was one gait to go, and just as I was about to climb over it a truck and a mule pulled up. A large man stepped forward. I stated in a firm voice "Step aside!", he replied "None shall pass!". Actually, the guy was very friendly and never implied trespass...just opened the gait and I was on my way. There was 3/4 mile to walk down the highway to get back to my dirt road. With this road in view...a pack of dogs from a house started barking and sprinted in my direction. I remained calm...for most of these eight dogs were weenie dogs or some other small breeds. One, however, was of moderate size and was very aggressive. My inclination was to growl back and go after the dog but I thought the owner might come out so I remained passive and soft spoken. Soon a wore-out looking woman came out and began to scream at the dogs, and they soon retreated. I waved in thanks but she never apologized for her killer dogs. I made it back to my origin at 10:40 and started for home. In conclusion...this hollow was probably the least interesting of all I've explored within the Upper Buffalo Wilderness...therefore there are no photos. Distance about 7 miles.

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