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2/23/2013
  I gripe about the state of this wilderness due to horses yet I find myself back here again. Oh well...it's still a cool place. Why not go there with me now. My brother Kelly and I ate breakfast at Cody's Restaurant in Fifty-Six around 7:30 a.m. and proceeded to to the fire tower off Push Mountain Road... also known as Hwy 341 in Baxter County. We were a bit surprised on the way up to find ice still heavy on the trees near Heber Springs and onward to the north. This area was still covered with ice in the trees as well...and it was quite beautiful. The sun would hopefully get rid of the ice by the afternoon so it was not a problem.
  We headed west on the dirt road that is Barkshed Extension which goes into the wilderness because of a parcel of private property deep within. Why this is there I have no idea...but it made the beginning of the hike easy walking. There are old road beds all over the forest that horse bastards have taken advantage of for their trails that are everywhere. The bad thing is that they clear saplings with machetes, I guess and leave deadly spikes poking up a foot above the ground with points as sharp as spears. One trip and fall could be deadly for a hiker...for these are frequent along the trail. I will reiterate my sentiments from a previous installment...horse people are dumb shits! Anyway the day was sunny and the temp going in was around freezing with a bit of a breeze. Ice was jumping off of the trees all around us as it melted and pelted us occasionally. We were now following an old jeep trail called Rose Road...which was now just a single-track. Our feet were having an easy go of it until at one point a huge brush area with many downed trees hid the trail. We followed the backbone of the ridges until nearing the Buffalo River near noon.
  There was a nice high bluff facing the southwest that I had spotted from across the valley of Middle Creek last trip out here. That was the goal and it turned out to be as expected when we finally arrived there. Much of the rocky surface was wet but a pine needle covered spot was available just at the back of the bluff. We situated our hammocks here and procured some dry firewood...which was hard to come by. The rest of the afternoon was spent goofin' off and enjoying the afternoon. The Buffalo River below was flowing pretty well as was Middle Creek just below us. 
  After sunset dinner was munched on and then the fire was cranked up. It got cold quickly but at least the wind had gone calm. We stayed up to at least 10:30 and I hit the sack while Kelly waited out the fire. The usual  cayote or two was heard not long after sunset. I slept fairly well and stayed warm for the most part. By 6:00 a.m. it was 27 degrees and fog enveloped the Buffalo valley. We headed back the way we came by 8:30 and were on the road by 10:30. It was another fine sunny day with temps a might higher than the day before. High was around 50 on Saturday. Total mileage was about 8 miles.

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