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Buffalo River Trail
to Arrington Creek
February 13, 2005
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Sunday I hiked the Buffalo River Trail near Boxley to where it crosses Arrington Creek. I'd read about some nice waterfalls and cascades along the trail, and I was hoping that the inch of rain we'd had in the past week - including a half inch we got last night - would be enough to get those falls and cascades running.
The trail wound through beautiful Beech tree woods on its one-and-a-half-mile descent to the creek. It felt like spring instead of winter, with temperatures in the 70s and a mostly sunny sky.
I found plenty of places that would be spectacular in the rainy season, but they were all dry, so I won't go into any detail about them - I'll save that for a return trip after a big rain.
The picture at left is looking upstream at Arrington Creek from where the trail crosses. The picture at the top of this page is looking downstream from the same location. It was tough finding a spot with enough boulders above the water for me to hop across. It will definitely be a wet crossing in the Spring.
On the other side of the creek the trail crossed a dry ravine filled with moss-covered boulders.
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Then the trail hung a left and went up a short rise to a really neat area overlooking the creek. This area, about 30 yards wide, was perfectly flat and shaded by big Beech trees. It looked like a great place to camp. (When I returned home I learned from Kenneth Smith’s Buffalo River Handbook that this flat area is known as a stream terrace, and that at some point in geologic history  the stream bed was located there - thus the cause for the near-perfect flatness.)
The trail ran downstream along the stream terrace for a short distance, then made a right turn and headed up the side of the valley, where I snapped the photo of the big Beech tree at left.
I continued up the steep trail for about another quarter-mile, until it leveled out and headed away from the Arrington Creek valley. The reason I came up this side of the valley was to check out a side canyon Tim Ernst mentions in his Buffalo River Hiking Trails book. (That book has detailed descriptions of the entire Buffalo River Trail, and driving directions to get you there.) This canyon was barely visible from the trail, so on the way out I ventured off trail and got a quick look from above it.
Once I was back across Arrington Creek I noticed just off the trail a small stream joining the main creek. There wasn’t much water in this small stream, but I unpacked the good camera and took a bunch of shots anyway. When I thought I was finished and in the process of stowing away the camera, I realized the boulder I’d been leaning against was covered with some really nice green moss. So I got some photos of it too.
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The sun was close to setting as I made my way uphill towards the truck. The sunlit hillside on the opposite side of the Arrington Creek valley kept getting more red by the minute, and I started looking for an opening in the trees on my side where I might be able to get a picture. Finally just when it seemed that the warm glow from that hillside couldn’t get any more vivid, I found an opening and frantically started setting up my camera and tripod. The colors were holding but I realized I had to change lenses on the camera.  It took me no more than 15 seconds to take my eye off the hillside and change lenses, but in that time the colors went from brilliant to, well... The photo at left says it all.
As I neared the trailhead I was surprised to hear the chorus of a multitude of frogs in a nearby pond. Didn’t these guys know it was only the second week in February? I put my point-and-shoot camera in movie mode and made a recording of the frogs, so for a special treat you can click on the photo below to hear the Arrington Creek Frog Chorus.
Click on the picture to hear the frogs!
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