Backpacking in the Flatside Wilderness Area, Crystal Prong
  It has been a while since I wandered around Flatside Wilderness Area in the eastern Ouachitas. On this particular trip, an afternoon and a night were spent there. It was a fine spring day with very bright sunshine. 81° warmed my hind quarters as my boots straddled the ridge that aimed west. The spine of this long mountain was quite rocky and riddled with poisonous snakes. Luckily the trusty whipping stick I fashioned from a hickory branch made short work of them as they approached looking for trouble. Seek and ye shall find, little serpents. One pop from the tip of my branch had them squealing like pigdogs back into their hidey holes. My ridge began to dwindle as the elevation declined and soon the mighty Crystal Prong trickled before me. It was forded with great trepidation, for the flow was a massive 20-30 CFS. Once across, the next ridge to the west was crossed and Little Cedar Creek became my trail. This is a lovely little stream. I partook of its babbling pleasures as it was traced to the south. It soon changed course to the west so my focus turned back eastward. Up the hill to the Ouachita Trail I did saunter. 
  This fine trail was followed back to Crystal Prong. Unfortunately, the area was decimated two to three years ago by a tornado, leaving gaping holes in the forest canopy and huge trees down everywhere. My first visit to this location was 34 years ago, and to see it this way was like losing an old friend. Camping there was not desirable so onward I trudged. A comfy site was finally found on a small branch with a waterfall and pool nearby. Only a solitary whippoorwill was heard that night as I gazed upon the fire. I slept fairly well in the hammock and rose at 5:30 and moved on. The low was 50°. The Flatside trailhead near Flatside Pinnacle was arrived at by 6:30. My total mileage was 6.6. Yours may vary.

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