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Buffalo River Trail
October 31, 2004

Joey and I braved probable rains to hike a section of the Buffalo River Trail east of its crossing the road to Camp Orr. Again I had chosen a destination with the best chances of having fall color and falling water. First we made a detour down to Steel Creek campground because I wanted to show Joey the big Buffalo River bluffs. When we were back on Highway 74 we pulled over along the big hill just past Low Gap to appreciate the low clouds skimming the mountaintops below us. And before embarking on our long hike we drove down the hill to near the Camp Orr gate and made the short walk up Shop Creek to Triple Falls.
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It started raining so we didn’t linger at the big falls. In the short time it took us to drive back up to where the trail crosses the road the rain had stopped. We only had to endure a couple more small rains early in our mile-and-a-half hike down the trail. Joey had to listen to me gripe about the fact that although there were Red and Sugar Maples all along the trail, the leaves were turning straight from green to brown. Still it was great scenery, especially when about halfway through our hike in, the trail ran within sight of the river.
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Our main objective for the day was a section of the trail that ran along the base of some big bluffs. There were supposed to be numerous waterfalls in the area. We saw where the waterfalls should be, but there wasn’t much water in them. I’ll gladly come back in the Spring to give them another try. Our turnaround point was a natural rock pillar that is somewhat of a landmark along the trail.
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I have nicknamed this trail “Land of the Green Rocks”. Not for the moss, although there was plenty of that, but for the mint-green color of the bare rock in many places, usually where water was running across it. On the trip back I spotted what looked like a cave down below the trail so I bounded over to check it out. It turned out to only be a bluff shelter, but beside it was a very peculiar rock formation. Where a small stream was falling over the bluff there was what looked like an open-air stalagmite of the same mint color.
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On the drive out of the river valley we stopped where Shop Creek crosses beneath the road on its steep downhill run. Of course we had to get out and take pictures, and spent almost an hour there.
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