Ponca Wilderness, Steel Creek to Big Bluff Hike
  There was a very light rain filtering through the forest's leafy network as I made my way down the Old River Trail not far outside of the Steel Creek Campground. The Buffalo River was never too far away and was forded numerous times before my final resting point beneath the imposing rock walls of Big Bluff. Fog thwarted my efforts to view the upper reaches of the towering combination of gray interspersed with green. As the clouds slowly lifted, more of the exposed mountain was revealed. An occasional buzzard floated by on the slight breeze above the trees and just to the left of the crag. The river was low, but not terribly. Its modest volume of water continued the path downstream in a peaceful fashion. The combination of all these natural elements provided the sense of leisure and relaxation I sought on this particular morning. With an unwavering temperature of 75° and ongoing overcast skies, I returned to the path that brought me to this scene of tranquility. The woods were entered at 5:00 a.m. and exited at 8:45. Miles of distance totaled 4.4. My exposed anatomy was almost viewed by a passing motorist as I replaced my damp apparel. Superior dressing skills learned over many years of practice avoided this embarrassment. The crowds assembling around my parking spot were immediately left behind, but not before strategically placing skunks in the area for their viewing pleasure. The drive home was pleasant and uneventful.

Photos Click Here

Map Action