A Beginner’s View Of The Buffalo National River
Written by: Kieara Lonning
“Whose idea was this again?’ I thought to myself, and not for the first time that day. I was fairly certain my body would collapse from sheer exhaustion before we made it back to the Compton Trailhead. Not being one to want sympathy or attention from anyone, I tried to keep the groaning and rest stops to a minimum. My companions, one experienced guide, two high school graduates, and one tail wagging beagle were kind enough to let me set the pace, despite my slowness. That was the day I would truly learn the value of a cheerful, no quit, attitude.
While not as well traveled as others, I have seen my fair share of the United States, and feel I can honestly say that the Buffalo National River is one of the prettiest scenes I have witnessed. The bluffs along the river, the waterfalls hidden in its hollows, the rock formations scattered throughout, and the river itself all combine to create a very versatile playground for those of us who share a passion for the outdoors.
HemmedInHollow was by far the toughest trail we explored in the three days we were there. But, if you're a newbie hiker, don't let that deter you! It was my first hiking trip, and despite the fact I was out of shape and did not have a clue how to pack my bag correctly it was an awesome experience. Likewise, if you're a seasoned hiker, it's still enough of a challenging trek that you won't get bored. The views along the way are gorgeous. And if you go at the right time of the year, usually spring or autumn after it has rained, HemmedIn falls should be flowing nicely. We went at the end of June 2015, and were worried that they would be nothing but a trickle. But fortune smiled on us, and we weren't disappointed.
While there, we also hiked Hideout Hollow, and McFerrin. Hideout Hollow offered a little different scenery, with more forest and not as many open views. But in my opinion was of equal value in this learning experience. I don't want to give away it's location, but if you hike to the rim of Hideout, there's a way down into it that's pretty challenging.
McFerrin was our easiest hike. But that doesn't mean it was insignificant. Our goal for this trip was to take our senior youth girls on an adventure before they went on to college, jobs, and the hustle of everyday life. To give them a chance to learn who they were, and what they were made of. After our mountaintop discussion on McFerrin, I'd say it was a successful trip. We all learned something new about ourselves, and set new goals for our lives going forward. We also forged new friendships that, without that trip, might never have come to be.
I would like to dedicate this recounting of our adventure to Oplee, our faithful mascot, protector, and nighttime snuggler.