Earlier this week, Alex and Beth tossed around the idea of camping overnight at Richland Creek Wilderness. What started out as a lunch conversation in the KC kitchen turned into reality on Saturday morning…
Six of us: Beth, Alex, Rob, Mandee, Tyler, and myself ventured out of Fayetteville bright and early at 10:30am to head to Witts Springs, AR. Each car mapped the destination for ‘Richland Creek Campgrounds’ and decided to meet there, at a rough ETA of 1:15pm. 2 hours and 15 minutes later, we drive through familiar roads of AR-412, AR-21, and Ar-74, and head down this little dirt path. Halfway through, we see a few trucks parked along the road and find out that there is a set of waterfalls waiting for us.
A few minutes later, our other half of the crew pulls up, and we spend 10-15 minutes exploring – getting our feet wet, checking out the cave area underneath, and enjoying the natural state.
Another 30 minute drive on the dirt path later, we arrived at Richland Creek Campgrounds, where we parked our lovely Ford Fusions and a few of us ventured to find the trailhead while the others stayed behind and practiced Frisbee throwing.
At 2:24pm, we set off to our adventures – not before taking a group photo, though. This captures our happy spirits, slight ignorance, and excitement.
-25 minutes later- we come back out from going south (vs. going northwest) on what seemed to be the wrong trailhead. Thankfully, Mandee never closed out his Google Maps, and we could see the little gray dotted line of hope that would be the correct Richland Creek trailhead.
With hope, we venture off into the wilderness again, and this time, with a little more faith, we cross a tree bridge with our tents and 45-liter packs.
-another 15 minutes pass- we were traveling along the creek, rather than on the trail above the creek, so with a few life/death moments and teamwork, we scaled the side of a mini cliff (literally) and made it up to the actual trail. Once again, we were hopeful, and we hiked a good 1/2 mile before stopping at a flat, white rock for a water + wind break.
Surprisingly, throughout the trail, we meet different group of people that had gone to where we were wanting to go : Richland Falls. Just to give everyone an idea – this trail is not paved, it involved a lot of elevation changes; uphill, downhill, slippery sand, fallen tree trunks that one would have to step over, and giant pieces of rocks made it a lot harder to smoothly hike. Oh, oh, the trail also involved taking off one’s shoes to hike through the creek, such as this:
What felt like an eternity later, after much exploring and decision-making, it seems that we’ve reached Richland Falls. Beth ventures to see the path, Tyler ventures, and Rob/Alex make the final exploratory trip before deciding whether we’d camp by the falls or go back to a place we’d passed. The last leg of the trip was probably the most life-threatening: most of the path was 2-feet wide, one little misstep would cause you and your 45-liter backpack to fall off the little cliff and into the creek. Thankfully, the only thing that did its tumble was Mandee’s Yeti mug (which Tyler rescued and it ended up not denting at all).
AND WE’RE HERE!!! Quickly, we set up our tents, hammocks, and gathered fire wood. Not before taking a nice, team selfie…
Hard to say, but we’d probably spent the last 2-3 hours of sunlight lounging around in our hammocks, taking photos on the waterfall, exploring nearby caves, and eating. Eating PB&Js that Beth had put together and chowing down on snacks. Rule was BYOH: bring your own hammock.
Next thing you know, it was nightfall, and we’re sitting around the fire that the guys built and sharing our life stories (kidding, but not really). By that time, our entire bodies started hurting…
Homegirl (me) went to sleep at 8:30pm like a grandma, and woke up at 8:20am feeling sore, tired, yet refreshed. From what I was told, the rest of the homies stayed up a little bit listening to Beth’s ghost stories.
The morning hike back was a lot easier than the afternoon prior, thanks to our expanded knowledge and revived spirits. This time around, we got to tell other groups that they weren’t far from the falls and ‘good luck’ 🙂
After another break on our trusty white rock, we made it back to the campgrounds (our cars) in a nice 2-hour time frame. Tossed our trash, cleaned off our skin with some flushable cleansing cloths, and mapped our way back to civilization. Overall, very rewarding trip, and I’m so happy our group came here. Finished off our trip with some BBQ, grilled mac and cheese sandwiches, and plenty of Coke.