On December 14th, 2013, my wife and I met several friends at the Richland Creek Wilderness Area to go backpacking. The 11,800-acre parcel of land in the Ozark Plateau in Arkansas is riddled with beauty just waiting to be explored. It boast a plethora of creeks, turquoise pools, terraced bluffs, and waterfalls within the Ozark National Forest. Topography within 1/4 mile on either side of Richland and Long Devil’s Fork Creeks is quite rugged and scenic. Rock bluffs over 100 feet high and extending over a mile along each side of Richland Creek. There is a system of old logging roads that run throughout the area and receive sporadic use. Kayakers float Richland Creek after rains have raised the creek water level.
When the high is 35 degrees Fahrenheit and the low hovering in the teens, the right gear makes a big difference.
Here it is, all packed up. 45 lbs worth of stuff. Survival gear, medical supplies, tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food, water and lots of warm things.
On our way to the Richland Creek area we met a recently fallen tree. The roads in this area are dirt roads and were once used for logging. We received 6 inches of snow on top of several inches of snow and ice. The Jeep could have easily driven over the tree, but the Honda Pilot behind us didn’t have the height to clear it. I immediately retrieved my hatchet and went to work. The ladies in our group were more reasonable and didn’t jump to power tools or sharp items to rescue us. They thought we could just move the tree, turns out they were right. At least I was prepared if that didn’t work.
Here is a good view of the road conditions. The snow didn’t pose a problem, but the ice underneath was challenging on steep sections of road.
This is where we parked the Jeep. Our hike would take us about 2.5 miles down the creek to our campsite.
Upon leaving the Jeep the first thing we met is a water crossing. The water was moving quickly and was about knee-deep.
Melissa and I enjoying the out trip.
Luckily, we were able to build a nice fire Saturday night. With so much snow on the ground we were skeptical we’d find dry tinder/wood.
Warm trapper hats at our campsite.
The sunrise through the trees was beautiful. This view is why we do this.
Our first overnight backpacking trip in the snow was awesome.
The Jeep pushed through snow, ice and mud to get us to our destination. It was a great trip that I’m sure we will repeat.
Another view of the logging road.
Twin falls is a cool feature in the area. It’s a must see!