Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hawksbill Crag

Summers in Arkansas usually suck - it's hot, muggy and disgusting to be outside. But this year has been different, it's been unseasonably cool (I don't think we've even hit 100 yet). Last week a cold front passed through, causing highs in the 80s. So last weekend I wanted to take advantage of the great temperatures and go out hiking somewhere. It had been rainy, so there would be a good chance that it would be foggy in the morning. Perfect conditions to take a few pictures in the hills.

So after work on Friday, Matt Kennedy and I drove up to the Ozarks. We decided to hike into Hawksbill Crag, which sits in the Ozark National Forest near the Buffalo National River. We camped overnight, and then started hiking on the trailhead at 5:00 AM. The plan, we hoped, was for there to be some fog in the valley below the crag. We would get there in time for the sunrise to hit the fog and look really neat in pictures. It was about 60 degrees as we started our hike in the dark.

I needed a flashlight to make sure I didn't tumble over any tree roots or rocks, but the sky began to quickly brighten. The trail runs downhill, crosses a creek and then heads to the edge of the bluff. Along the first view of the valley I was a little saddened to see that there wasn't any fog drifting around. Maybe there would be more at the crag?

There would be! A little bit further down the trail there was another view, this time with a few bands of fog drifting through the valley.


After hiking for 1.5 miles, we finally reached the Crag. Hawksbill Crag shoots out about 100 feet above Whitaker Creek, and is probably one of the most popular views in the state. There was indeed fog at the Crag, a wall of it that steadily moved through the valley


I walked out onto the Crag, which isn't as scary as it looks. You do have to watch your step, since a fall from here is going to be fatal.


I had hoped that we would beat the crowds by hiking in at 5:00, but other hikers began to arrive just after we did. Who else is crazy enough to hike at 5 in the morning?


And a view of the other side of the Crag, after the sun had risen...


We stayed out there for awhile, waiting for the sun to break through the fog. But the fog was too much, and just formed a solid barricade that screened the distant hills from view. We gave up on the fog lifting, figuring that when it finally did the Crag would be in direct sunlight. So we hiked up hill, back to the car. I was amazed to not see anyone else on the trail, and to find the parking lot there empty. We got to the car and headed out to check out a few other places...

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