More Hiking at Richland Creek Wilderness Area
It's been a very nice early spring here in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas. Temperatures have been in the 65 - 75 degree range and although we have not had a lot of rain, we did get a few showers. Some friends and I decided to drive down to the Richland Creek Wilderness Area and continue our explorations of that area. On this trip we parked on the north side of Richland Creek Campground, where there is a trailhead that heads Northwest. We decided to see what was on the trail.
The first thing we noticed was the bright purple phlox blooming along the trail! These explosions of color that we saw as we walked underneath the forest canopy and the warm breeze that moved through the air, made this part of our walk really nice. We saw fire pinks and a type of mint with small trumpet-like flowers, plus some wild iris. We then came across a creek and a dual waterfall, which was maybe 6 to 8 feet tall. The trail followed this creek.
We then entered an area where there were huge boulders lying in the creek and on the banks. It looked as though some giant child had forgotten to put away his toys! Even though the water was flowing good, we have been dry this past year, and this allowed us to get off the trail at times, and walk directly on the creek.
When hiking along the bank got too rugged, we moved back onto the trail. This was a well kept trail, and it moved up and around many of the more difficult areas. As the afternoon wore on, we reached a really nice area. There was some small rapids, and a very large swimming hole. I wanted to take a long break and soak up some sun, and so decided to take off my hiking boots and socks, and dangle my feet in the cold water. Towel in hand, I edged my way down a slanted rock towards the water. Suddenly, I slipped and ended up right in the creek! I got wet up to my waist, and also got my towel soaked. I carry a change of clothes in my back pack for just such an emergency, and after sitting in the sun for about thirty minutes I was dried off and changed. We spent the rest of our time at this spot, enjoying the sun, the breeze and the blue sky.
This was a very enjoyable afternoon, the hike was not hard at all, and the trail was well maintained and easy to follow, if you wanted to stay on it. Spring is an excellent time to visit Northwest Arkansas, The Buffalo National River Park, the National Forests and Wilderness areas that makes up much of Newton county. Whether for a day or a week, take some time off with your family, and enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of our area.