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12/13/14
  There is a hollow north of Mulberry near the community of Fern. That's in Arkansas, boy. This deadly hollow is comprised of two forks that merge as one into the shape of a devil's horns. This hollow is...the Devils Gorge. The map calls it Devils Canyon but the term canyon is not truly suitable for a valley in Arkansas...in my opinion. After breakfast at the South Park Restaurant in Clarksville my vehicle turned north onto a foggy Hwy 215 off of I-40 near Mulberry. After only eight miles a dirt road near Fern led me into the Ozark National Forest where a suitable parking location was secured. This road is in good shape until it heads downhill where it gets crappy and puddle laden. The fog was a heavy mist and the trees dripped with moisture as if it had just rained...and maybe it had. Each fog droplet was of hefty micron measure. At 5:30 the the situation did not seem terribly conducive to hiking in the dark so I took a nap till around 7:00. Sunrise was to be at 7:10. This was welcomed since my alarm awakened me at 1:30.
  After a lovely sleep the road was taken downward and it was not long before the edge of the valley seemed to parallel the road. This was indeed the case as the first bluff's edge revealed a fog encased hollow. My initial impression was quite positive, save for the trash and fire rings. Unfortunately this dirt and mud road makes it entirely too easy to drive a vehicle or ride a 4-wheeler right to the edge of a couple of the bluffs. This made me sad as this appeared to be one of the more unique hollows that I have encountered in the Ozarks. The fog did not completely obscure the valley but did drift and enhance the beauty of its depths. Down the bluff line numerous overlooks were paused upon with long gazes made into the valley below. No sense of devilishness was perceived but more of an angelic presence was felt. The temperature was near 50°.
  Eventually the line of cliffs fell into a creek and here the first waterfall fell over the escarpment.. This would be Nibjiggler Falls...so named after early explorer Nigel Nibjiggler who first surveyed these valleys in 1823. At this point my foray into the steep and boulder strewn gorge was made. Carefully I picked my way down the drainage and encountered many geological areas of curiosity. After many near death encounters the other horn of the devil connected from the right to form the snout of the devil. This branch was taken and before long a horseshoe shaped bluff halted my progress with a less than impressive flow of water bisecting its face. This cascade was Johnnycake Falls, named after Jimmy Johnnycake, Nigel's traveling companion. Some time was taken to explore the base. As I climbed the steep embankment out of the gorge some noises were heard and my thoughts were of an animal across the way watching me with deadly intent. My goal was to have lunch atop the bluff that overlooked the chasm. To my dismay, a hiker was perched nearby and upon further inspection many other hikers (Ozark Society) were noted to be gathering slightly below. This was not part my plan so a hasty retreat was made into the shrubbery. A burlap sack laden with two to three skunks was left behind with a timer set for 30 minutes. 
  When back on top of the original bluff line my lunch was had. It was composed of sammich. Many more hikers were encountered along the way, each receiving their own personal tote sack-o-skunks. By 12:40 the vehicle was within my grasp. The temp had stayed in the middle 50's and the fog still hovered, just a little higher than before. All leftover skunks were released into the wild. The hike topped out at 4 miles. This is a beautiful place but I fear its ease of access will give it a spot next to Hawksbill Crag, the Glory Hole and the Sandsone Castles. 

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