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Triple Falls
Hammerschmidt Falls
March 28, 2004

There's only one thing to do when it's Sunday morning in early Spring and the weather radar shows rain covering most of Northwest Arkansas - plan a trip later in the day to see some waterfalls. It looked to be a narrow window of opportunity between the passing of the rain and the setting of the sun, so I picked two easy waterfalls from Tim Ernst's Arkansas Waterfalls guidebook. At first I had Stacey and Melinda interested in going, but then I told them the rain wouldn't let up until at least 2 p.m. and we'd be driving four hours round trip and suddenly it was another solo adventure.
The trip turned out to be rewarding and memorable. As I was driving down the mountain past Mossville toward Boxley Valley I started passing numerous small waterfalls tumbling down the hills. I saw more of the same as I crossed the Buffalo and started up the hill toward the turnoff to Steel Creek campground. Many of these waterfalls would have made great pictures, but I was short on time and didn't stop.
I knew I was in for a treat when I saw Shop Creek rolling where it crossed the road downhill from Triple Falls. I was a little hesitant about crossing it. The falls were only a couple hundred yards down the trail. This was easily the most powerful waterfall I've yet seen, but it's impossible to describe. The air was filled with a roar, and there was a mist-filled wind shooting outward in all directions from the base of the falls for at least 50 feet. Luckily the mist was going away from me at the bottom of the waterfall and I was able to get the two shots below.
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I hurried to the truck and drove back up Sherman Mountain to the highway then hung a right toward the headwaters of Indian Creek and Hammerschmidt Falls. I parked at a deer camp site a few hundreds yards down a rut-filled road off the highway. The creek was just a short way downhill. The lichen-covered rock field above the falls was a really neat area by itself, and I regret not taking any pictures of it. But it was starting to get dark and I wanted to get down to the bottom of the falls.
I wound up stopping to take pictures anyway, because one series of cascades in the creek was too nice to pass up. I then hurried, though cautiously, around the top of the falls and found a way down to the creek below. There was just enough light to see by on the short hike back. I took the trail on the west side of the creek and found it a whole lot shorter and safer, except for one place where the trail is situated way too close to the edge near the top of the falls. Near there I stopped and unpacked my camera one last time because I liked the view of the top of the waterfall.
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