With packs on we started walking down the dirt road. We felt pretty good about the welcoming temperatures and the quickness we covered ground, until we reached a fork in the road. Fairly quickly we decided to take a left, if we were where we thought we might be it would at least lead us around Turner's Knob. We went only a few feet before we found a trail head! With excitement we opened the trail registry to notate our presence in the area, destination and return time, only to find NOTHING, no place to register or any type of information, but it was a confirmed trail head. So we began our trek in the dark, as we walked we enjoyed the evening and some talk, we lost the trail many times and talked about stopping, but for some reason we were compelled to go forward. At about 12:30am we found a good place to camp and it felt like we had found our way to our destination where we'd wanted to go. The only indication was the feeling of a significant drainage on the left and a feeling of gaining some elevation before we decided to stop.
We set up camp, identified our cooking area and I went to hang a rope for bear bags. I know, I know, this isn't Colorado or Wyoming, it's Arkansas! Well, I still feel the need to hang a bear bag, there are quite a few black bears in the area, I want to eat and I dont' feel like coming face to face with a bear in my tent just because I was craving a snickers in my tent and fell asleep with chocolate on my face. Back to the story, I was hanging a rope for my bear bag quite a distance away from the tents, when with one mighty swoop I launched by water bottle with rope attached over an appropriate tree limb and knocked my hat and headlamp off of my head. Now, this wouldn't be a big deal, but my headlamp was turned off on the impact and I couldn't see ANYTHING, it was pitch dark. I yelled for my friends, telling them what happened but the response wasn't that great. I kept hollering, "over here.....this way....over here." I was sure they understood the situation and were in the process of making plans, but they only turned off there lights. Eventually they came to investigate my calls. Apparently they thought I was trying to help a lost hiker in the woods without a headlamp, yes that would be me, and they thought I was calling them in. I was just glad to have some help and validation of my feelings.
Our plan on this day was to bushwack into a nearby hollow and make our way down to the Buffalo River. We knew Bowers Hollow could potentially pinch us off with cliffs and end our day excursion, but it was worth the exploration into an area that none of really knew anything about. We followed trail from our camp, then started off trail when the land gave us a gentle slant into a drainage of Bowers Hollow. We followed this drainage to the actual hollow. As we neared we heard water, not a gentle bubbling, but that sound that tells you you're nearing something pretty big. First we noticed the wide open view down the valley, then it clicked that there was a cliff, dropping many feet and the water was flowing over it. We peered with amazement over the cliff into the blue green pool below that was catching the plunge. We were hoping to find something cool and this made our day. Next, we had to find a route to the drop below. All around us the cliffs engulfed the waterfall with one tall cliff after another.