Oct 14, 2011Gary on Hawksbill Crag (Whittaker Point), Arkansas (365:287)

Gary on Hawksbill Crag (Whittaker Point), Arkansas (365:287) – Today I had an easy day’s hiking in Arkansas with a couple of friends. Copyright © 2011 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Today I had an easy day’s hiking in Arkansas with a couple of friends.

We started off with a hike up the ‘Lost Valley’, I’ll have to return when the creek is in spate – today it was completely dry; so we hiked up the creek bed instead of the trail. We crawled on hands and knees into a cave (I found out afterwards on YouTube that there is supposed to be an upright route in), which has a large chamber about 150′ in. Normally there is a waterfall there, but not this time. We took a second hike along the Buffalo river and finished the day backpacking to a superb camping spot near Hawksbill Crag (aka Whittaker point) – a rocky shelf suspended some 200 feet up on a bluff overlooking Whittaker creek. The bluffs and crag providing magnificent views across the valley. It really is a wonderful place, and it’s not surprising it is one of the most photographed features in the Buffalo River area.

I left my pedometer behind, but a rough guess is that we hiked just under 7 miles altogether.

Our campsite was under a huge rock ledge, that is normally fronted by a waterfall. However, after the long dry summer it was dry. There were a few drips of water to be collected nearby, which was lucky, otherwise we’d have been thirsty, as the six litres of water I packed in very quickly started to dwindle. The space under the ledge was big enough for several tents, so we had plenty of room with just two.

Here I am with my backpacking companions for this trip. It’s been a long time since I last used a 10 second timer to take a picture, so it took me a couple of tries to get this picture. Copyright © 2011 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
Steve and Gary on Hawksbill Crag (Whittaker Point), Arkansas – Not taken by me, though it’s such a nice picture I wish it were. Copyright © 2011 Kirby Newport, all rights reserved.

After dark we were interrupted by the arrival of a party of students who were hoping to spend the night under the ledge. They were very polite, and fortunately had a better knowledge of the area than we did, as they spent the night under a smaller overhang, that we didn’t know existed, a hundred yards further along the bluff.

Just to finish off the day we revisited the crag around midnight to enjoy the scene in the moonlight. Given the huge drop-offs perhaps that wasn’t the most prudent of ventures – especially as my headlamp batteries decided to go into terminal decline on the way back.

Copyright © 2011 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

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