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5/17/14
  The Ponca Wilderness is a groovy place. One of the best views in Arkansas is from the Goat Trail along Big Bluff high above the river. "What would the view be like from the top of the bluff?", I've often wondered. The only way to know is to go...so that I did. Breakfast at the South Park Restaurant in Clarksville was decent prior to the hike. After parking at the Centerpoint access the trail was before me. It was 6:45 and the rain from the night before was finished. The woods were quite moist...but the temp was a comfy 48°...chilly for the middle of May. It was still cloudy but hopefully the skies would clear later in the morning. 
  The top of the bluff was approached with care since the ground was quite crumbly and well sloped. The potential for death here was very real, my friends. The mangled cedar trees that choked the hillside made for difficult travel towards the edge. Eventually a few openings were found affording views of the Buffalo below. After exploring a while, the Goat Trail below was accessed and followed back to the main trail. By now it was 11:00 or so and many passing hikers were encountered. Each was offered a skunk but most declined. By the time the upper trail was under me it was 52° and a fine mist was falling. The entire hike was a little over 6 miles. I escaped the trail just as a throng of horses entered from the road. As I looked back down the path my bazooka was unleashed from its protective canister. Careful aim was taken...but on second thought, they were allowed to pass. I guess lazy folk should be able to enjoy the wild country too.

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