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7/19/15
  I really thought the evil spawn of the tick did not arrive until next month, but alas...miscalculation. After taking off my socks for a river crossing it was noted that my less than tan ankles were well populated with tick larvae. They are the tiny ones that are barely visible. These little bastards love to crawl under your socks and suck. It was easy enough to scrape them off while standing in the cool waters of the Buffalo, hopefully to become the food of some other small creatures downstream. Oh wait...I have gotten ahead of myself and must go back to the start of the day.
  Denny's in Russellville welcomed me around 2:45 a.m. Saturday morning, Some breakfast foods and coffee were ingested while reading yesterday's paper and listening to the local partiers a couple of tables away. My ears could not help but listen to their babble. My day was just beginning and theirs was near ending. If others only knew of the restorative qualities of the forest, stream and mountain. My mind and body come away refreshed and purged of the past week's negativity.
  My multi-wheel drive vehicle eased into the parking area of the Parker-Hickman Farmstead just a fews miles northwest of Jasper. Jim Bob Parker whittled this pocket of farmland out of the hillside in 1847 and then sent for his woman, Susie Hickman, to join him in 1848. They lived there together unmarried until the local folk attempted to run them off...but this was not to be. Cohabitating outside the confines of matrimony was frowned upon in these hard times. Jim Bob and Susie were determined to have it their way...and so started the feud betwixed them and the mainstream hill people. The ending is too gruesome to delve into here, as this is a happy tale of the wilderness. 
  My hike began at 5:30 on an old road aimed to the west. The temp was 73°. Soon the old river trail was mounted and the Buffalo was paralleled for a while until the scout retreat, Camp Orr was arrived at. This is a large piece of land that appears to have once been a farm back in Jim Bob's day. It was barren of activity and I wondered if the area was off limits to the general public. My path continued on until a group of scouts were happened upon. A few grown up types were preparing them for some task that would provide them with a badge to wear proudly yet mean nothing. Seeing my GoPro they prepared themselves for what they hoped would be their chance to be in the movies. I told them to shut up and sit down, for they were not wild animals. One of the adult members shouted "hey, you can't talk to these boys like that...and you ain't even supposed to be on these here premises!" I tossed them a couple of skunks and continued on. No more was said.
  The Buffalo River was crossed and it was onward up towards the northern rim for some bench trail action. The bench trail took me back to the east and was so covered with weeds it was hardly visible. An occasional swamp was encountered that had to be skirted through the dense jungle-like forest. Eventually the Farmer Trail was followed back down the slope and Buffalo did welcome me once more. Here a fine bar of gravel was occupied for lunch and a refreshing swim did cool my ass off. Then a short mile or so more back to the car was all that was left. A cemetery was passed full of all the locals that Jim Bob and Suzie had, well you know, helped plant there. At 1:00 the journey was concluded with a temp of only 86°...the high was supposed to be in the upper 90's. The mile on mile action topped out at around 11 or so.

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