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2/27/16
  Lingering snow in the Ozarks sent me to the southwest on this trip. Raspberry Mountain is just to the east of Tall Peak, which borders Caney Creek Wilderness Area. It also parallels the headwaters of the Saline River, which feeds Shady Lake a ways downstream. Breakfast was settled for at Waffle House in Hot Springs. By 5:00 a.m. my Outdoor Vehicular Unit (OVU) pulled into an appropriate parking spot along CR 64 and I took a short nap. After much preparation the ridge that becomes Raspberry Mountain was mounted at 5:30 with a current temp of 35°. The peaks in this part of the Ouachitas are high, rocky and brushy. Darkness makes this combo deadly dangerous. Seeing as how I live for danger, the climb continued. Thorny brambles and small trees with low hanging branches slapped and clawed at my ass with every step. Hell...at one point I almost very nearly perished. It's all part of the game...man against nature. Sometimes nature wins, but not this time.
  At 7:15 the summit was reached at an elevation of 2,358 feet. Sunrise was, unfortunately missed by thirty minutes. Dammit Jim! The view to the south was forest with a couple more ridges before opening up into farmland. To the east were many goodly sized and pointy peaks. After taking in the beauty my way continued down the other side, which was curiously much less brushy and had fewer trees. Just below me a valley began with the creek I had been seeking for many years. This tributary was called Chick Creek, and is known to be inhabited by many chicks. I dared not go there. Instead, it was north and down into the valley of the Saline River. This creek was traced as it wound its way back to the west. Most of the rock here has a white coloration...the hallmark of the bituminous igneous crystalline quartz like mineral known as quartz like mineral. The water flowing through these rocks was as clear as any I've ever witnessed. Trout darted in the pools and small beaver created dams that were a marvel to behold.
  The valley did, at one point, choke down and get deeper...as if, in a gorge. Here the water did fall over many small drops and did then become aerated and frothy with bubbles that the trout did much enjoy. The gurgling of the flowing liquid did mesh with the gurgling of the trout to become...as if, a symphony for only my ears. As I wandered on, the valley spread out, and as if by magic...my car appeared before me. The time registering on my watch was 11:40. I rejoiced at this. The temp was now 62°. My hike did measure in at 5 miles. It seemed longer due to the hellish terrain.

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