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Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area
  Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area...5:15 a.m....the woods are dark...they are still...they are moist. The temp is 70 degrees...the humidity is 90%....I am alone and moving up the Ozark Highlands Trail. Preparation for the hike occurred at Denny's in Russellville at 3:15. It was quite tasty. The goal for the day...hike a loop within the wilderness and return to my starting point...then return home. Sunrise was at 6:40 and the skies were clear with fog in the valley. I was happy to be here. 
  This section of trail follows the river on the east side and up on the ridges. For the most part the path is in good shape, but some areas were brushy as a bastard. Around 7:30 the trail was circling a round a draw when a snort was heard in the woods up the hill..."probably a deer". As I continued on two dark shapes were seen moving along the ground..."oh...pigs". As I continued on...movement was again perceived to my right and as I glanced over I saw a shape moving down a tree trunk..."I didn't know pigs could climb trees?". This was my exact thought process until the treed pig stopped and looked over at me and transformed into a bear cub. It clung to the tree long enough for me to turn on my GoPro but the wide angle made it difficult the see the bear in the resulting video. I never did see the mother as I continued on but kept a lookout just in case. This is the second time I have come across bears in this area and I am getting used to it. The last time was my first time to see a bear and cubs up close in the forest and I was a bit startled but now I am glad to see them.
  By 8:10 the creek bank was before me and there was a goodly amount of water flowing for this time of year. All the rain was good for the creeks but also good for the vermin. I can't remember when I last encountered so many horse flies, mosquitoes, seed ticks and gnats...and I typically don't use insect repellent. The crossing of the creek was downstream from where the trail crosses and was made without boot removal......yay. The trail goes back up on the ridge for a while and it is lovely up there. Eventually the trail comes back down and curves around and heads south to the best section of this creek. The best rapids and bluffs and the natural bridge are all in this area.
  I followed the old road out and did see evidence of 4 wheeler traffic inside the wilderness boundary.....pitiful. The final creek crossing was made without boot removal again and the forest road was followed to the old steel bridge at Fort Douglas where I parked. I was thrilled to find at least a hundred seed ticks attached to both ankles inside my socks....little bastards. I scraped them off and contemplated maybe using bug stuff next time. Luckily seed ticks are larvae and carry no disease. Temp peaked in the upper 80's and my mileage was 14 miles....out by 1:00.

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