We started at Ponca with a sunny 30 degree day. The views to the blue-green rushing water below provided a stark contrast to the brown trees that encompassed us on the hillside. Some rich views and nice trail took us to the Steele Creek camp.
It was brutally cold last night, I awoke many times to a rushing chill. This same cold greeted us with a playful snow that produced immense flakes that made the delicate detail obvious to the naked eye. These delightful giants landed on the surrounding rock creating a pattern only nature could create! The day warmed for a perfect backpacking day. We made our way past beautiful views of the Buffalo River, taking many rest stops to take in our surroundings. Our next stop was Indian Creek. After setting up camp we decided to explore Indian Creek. What a treat! Multiple water falls, incredibly high cliffs and wonderfully shaped rocks made it an extraordinary adventure! We explored Indian creek for about 2 hours but didn't reach the mouth. Looming darkness forced us to turn back, and the mad scramble to camp began, led by our headlamps.
A warmer morning greeted us and we followed Indian creek to the Buffalo River. We began a ten mile dayfrom Indian Creek to the cedar grove area. Along our way we took a break on a dry creek. We were approached by a guy on the trail named Barry, he informed us that he was from Memphis, but he comes to the BRT yearly and he told us about a perfect camping spot near a potential spot I'd picked out on the map. He asked us not to tell anyone because it was special. Well, we never found the spot and stumbled into an area to make camp well after a long search for the mystery place, leading us to a headlamp hike. Feeling very tired, a bit chilled and without dinner, we walked to an established camp sight and began to start our stoves. There was a group already set up in the campsite and we asked them were we needed to pay. They informed us camping was free during the winter, and they offered us some firewood, super cool, it was cold. Later "Big Al" came over to our camp site with two nice bowls of soup and a chocolate chip cookie! We gobbled it up and enjoyed a nice fire. Well have to pass along the gesture, it doesn't get any better than that. the next day was an easy hike out to Pruitt.