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  Summer makes for rough hiking cross country so trails are best followed during these times of thick, brushy forests. Friday morning had me eating breakfast at South Park Restaurant in Clarksville around 3:30 a.m. By 6:00 I was traipsing down a trail north of Low Gap off Hwy 74 and soon at the bottom of the valley in the Ponca Wilderness. The Buffalo was high enough to canoe so trail crossings were challenging. The day was mostly cloudy with occasional sun and the high stayed below 80 degrees. It was still muggy with fog in the valley.
  My plan was to camp on the river but I am so picky a perfect spot was never found. I looked for an elevated camp site with a view of the valley but never found that either. By 4:00 p.m. I was back to my vehicle and heading west. I spent the night in the car on Talimena Drive in Oklahoma. Breakfast was tasty at Skyline Cafe in Mena. The rest of the morning was spent exploring Hwy 270 west of Hot Springs. My total hike at the Buffalo was 12.5 miles and I have never seen so many near invisible seed ticks. I did not see one other person until high above the river where an occasional canoe passed in the late afternoon.

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