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9/1/2012
  So my map of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area revealed to me a hollow that has escaped me. I must confess that I have avoided it due to its surrounding private land...leaving but a sliver of actual wilderness land buffering the creek within. This gorge lies between Adkins Creek and Boen Gulf on the east side of the river...and is known as......Terrapin Branch. As is my custom I was in Clarksville before 4:00 and eating at the South Park Restaurant and at my destination by 5:30. Every road in the area seemed to end at someone's house so I ended up parking along a dirt road in a wooded area where a tributary of the Terrapin Branch began. This area had a fair amount of rain and there was a trickle of water in the creek. All vegetation was wet and it was humid as...well...you know. This creek was on private property and it was not long before most of the woods gave way to open logging areas with plenty of debris and trees in the way. To make it more interesting...the sounds of hounds and men yelling somewhere behind made me feel like a convict on the run...some kind of hunting...I guess. This went on until the wilderness boundary was crossed....and even then the number of downed trees was high. Much scrambling was done to make headway downstream. A few water falls and a lot of boulders made progress difficult. My goal was the Buffalo where I would head downstream and back up another small hollow back to my place of origin. Nothing really photogenic was seen and my reason for being here was in question. About halfway along I realized the tripod attached to the outside of my pack was no longer with me, rendering my camerea useless in most situations out here. An overhanging vine must have snatched it from me with great stealth. At that moment the decision was made to head back and there was no way I was bactracking back up that creek to find the tripod. The bluff line to the north was ascended to and it was back onto private property we go again. To my amazement I once again heard dogs and hollering from behind me. What is it with this area? My vehicle was soon in sight just as it started to rain. I'm thinking the best way into this area is probably from the Cassville Church...so maybe next time. This hike was only 3.7 miles...no ticks. The new Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca was checked out and is a pretty cool store and outfitter. They even sell gas...only 30 cents above average price. I hit the Ozark Cafe in Jasper and ate a second breakfast of pancakes...too early for lunch. Sam's Throne was my next stop for a quick visit and then home.

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