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11/24/2012
  After eating breakfast at Denny's in Russellville...which, by the way...sucked...I made my way up Hwy 7 to the Richland Creek area. Having spent many trips exploring Richland Creek Wilderness Area...I felt I was ignoring the lower creek outside the wilderness. I tend to avoid areas outside of wilderness because a dude on a 4-wheeler can just as easily get to where my legs have worked hard to take me. There is a bluff on the northwest side of the creek that intrigued me so that was my goal for the morning. 
  Just after parking up the road from the campground a hunter in a mule-like 4-wheeler pulled up and parked near me. I ignored him while I messed with my GPS and put on my boots in my vehicle. I looked up to see him standing right outside my door saying "hey". I stepped out and he asked me "where you goin city boy?" as if to imply "you ain't supposed to be here"..(he didn't really call me city boy). I said "why?" and got a bit defensive because my ways and hunter's ways have never quite matched up in the past and it really was none of his business. Turns out he just thought I was lost and was trying to help me find the trail. I felt badly later for acting a bit of an ass towards him. Anyway...he headed into the wilderness with his rifle and I headed in the other direction with my backpack. It was 6:15 a.m. and still dark...my headlamp guided me into the initially thick and brushy woods until it got light enough to see without it. Sunrise was scheduled for around 6:50. 
  By 7:15 I had arrived at the upper rocky outcropping that turned out to be a large pillar with no easy way to the top. The only way up involved scaling a cliff of 15 feet from a narrow bridge that connected this island pillar to the mainland. The fall to the bridge was not much but bouncing to either side of it would add a lot to the fall. Determined...the wall was scaled and I was on top. Getting back down was going to be a bit harder...as it usually is. There was a great view of the valley from here and there was a lone cedar tree growing on the top. After 20 minutes the climb down was attempted with a jump to the bridge from about six feet. Downward towards the lower bluff I trudged and found it to be much more expansive and not as dangerous. It was amazing to see no sign of civilization down this valley. 
  After a time on the bluff line the next goal was the creek below. I do not wear orange at all because I would rather be mistaken for a deer than a hunter. I do sing and make plenty of noise just in case, though. After crossing the Ozark Highlands Trail I followed the creek upstream to the campground and back to my xTerra. This lower section of Richland Creek was very cool except for the occasional 4-wheeler passing by on the old road that parallels the creek. Temp was below 30 going in and in the 40's coming out at 11:00. Total miles about 3.5.

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