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094 062
10/19/2012
Temp in at 5:45 a.m. was 41, high in the low 60's, sunny, low 36
  The weather was looking really good for the weekend so I pounced on the opportunity to get out Friday and spend the night in Hawk Hollow. The jump off point was the wilderness parking area off CR 414/FR 1410 which comes off of CR 5/Cave Mountain Road. Into to woods I went at 5:45 a.m. and Bowers Hollow was in view before sunrise. There was a group camping at the site above Bowers Hollow Falls and their dog welcomed me with a short bark...I slipped past them without startling them too much...I hope...it still being pre-dawn and all. The south side of the hollow was unfamiliar to me so curiosity had me wondering about access to the area below via this side. Two spots were identified along this bluff line going down...the second was the easiest way down of all including the one on the north side that I have used before. The top of the bluff line was followed to the Upper Buffalo and then south towards Hawk Hollow...the home of Smith and McClure Falls. This was a super bright sunny day but very windy with starting temps in the low 40's. This route was not too exciting but 2-3 vantage points were found to view the Upper Buffalo valley. Most of the fall color was from red maples and sugar maples...or possibly a sugar maple look alike such as a Florida maple. I t appears that maples are poised to take over the forest as oaks die out from insects and disease. Upon arrival to Hawk hollow the time was noted to be around 10:30. The map does not show a name for this hollow but I assume this title stems from the appearance of a hawk with wings high when viewed from above or on a map. As far as I know this is the shortest hollow in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area. It is very unique in that there are two waterfalls only about 1/4 mile from the river. These falls, Smith and McClure, were essentially dry. 
  A sweet camp spot was secured and laid out with a great view of the river. The decision was made to not plan for a fire due to the high winds and fairly dry leaf cover. Some exploration was made around the falls area and water replenished. This was just a perfect day for goofing off around camp and relaxing...so I did just that. My new hammock was tested but not slept in. I find it to be very comfortable. The weather was too fine to pass up sleeping on the ground with just a tarp overhead in case of dew. Not long after sunset the sounds of three species of owl were heard along with coyotes and the odd insect still hanging on at the end of the season. The moon was slightly less than a quarter but still put out a good amount of light...but set early. Luckily the wind had completely died down and I hit the sleeping bag at 9:30. The grandaddy log-legs that kept playing on my sleeping bag had finally evacuated the area...mainly due to me throwing them over the cliff. At one point later in the night I was awakened to a Barred Owl calling just above me. Each of 4-5 calls sounded different as if it was really saying something with each sentence. The sun came up across the river just as the low temp hit 36...and this was above the valley floor...so it was surely colder down below. After piddling around a while I was packed and heading west by 8:30. My vehicle was reached by 10:00 and the temp was already 60. I drove north towards Boxley on Cave Mountain Road. There were 20 cars parked at the Hawksbill Crag already and more than 20 more passed me by the time the highway was made. The crag has turned into an amusement park just like Lost valley.....sad. My total hike miles were approximately 8. Some lunch was partaken of at Kay's Cafe in Jasper and onward home I went. Total miles around 8.

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