Day 9, Wednesday, July 5
Richland Creek Recreation Area to Ozark Craft Village
The Richland Creek Recreation Area campground was completely free. The water pump house wasn't working and there was only a vault toilet, but the campsites themselves were very nice.
This was not on my earlier plans but one of my Uncles and his wife raved about it, so when I saw the sign for the campground, I turned in. (I wrote more about it on Day 8.) To support what I wrote yesterday, is this:
"Located deep in the Ozark National Forest, miles from any paved road, and even further from civilization... Richland Creek campground offers 11 designated primitive campsites [There were only three of us there.], with no amenities available, for a truly rugged and remote experience.... Due to the rough forest roads required to reach Richland Creek campground, campers/trailers are discouraged."
And then, I didn't know where the waterfalls were.
"There are no designated trails in this Wilderness Area, but a beaten path has been created over the years that you can follow from the campground. Depending upon the river level, it does involve a few steep climbs and ascends upon the hillside overlooking the creek. Close to the campground, you will have to wade Falling Water Creek where it empties into Richland Creek, but this may be too dangerous if the water level is really high and fast."
Richland Falls Twin Falls are both upriver and if the Internet is to be believed, it's about a 7-mile round-trip, "strenuous bushwack" to see them. I could have done it if I'd had a map.
I did wander around a bit and then went in search of another trail that proved difficult to find.
There are three types of trails: those maintained by a local, state, or federal government that are easy to follow and usually have maps at the trailhead and trail markers along the way; those that get enough foot traffic that they're easy to follow and maps can usually be found online; and those that may or may not actually exist.
After I left Richland, that's what I went in search of.
I bought a book of Arkansas waterfalls, but had forgotten it was with me, and I don't know when I looked at it, because I could have used it to find the Richland area falls. And this next set I went in search of, I thought it was on another day, but my tracker says it was today, so....
It started off fine. The book said drive 9/10s of a mile down the road and the trail head is to the right, but this was one of those trails that doesn't really exist. The picture with the stroller was on the clearest section of the trail. In the slide show below, you'll see how hard the trail was to follow. Luckily, there was some old surveyor tape wrapped around a tree. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known I was in the right place.
I walked the distance the book said but stopped a little bit short. I couldn't hear any falls, so I thought I'd ended up following something that wasn't the trail.
I decided to go a little bit further and not even ten feet away was a 90-foot drop off. I took some pictures, headed back, and saw the pram. It was freaky.
I did try to find the other trails. Drove the proper distance, looked around, but couldn't see anything.