I managed to do a little hiking on Wednesday and Thursday before a soggy Thanksgiving weekend, returning to a part of the middle Buffalo River I hadn’t seen since my first visit exactly 2 years ago – the area between Dave Manes Bluff and Tyler Bend.
Last spring, I began a project to get GPS data for all of the middle & lower Buffalo River trails. Back then I got all the “new” trail between Tyler Bend and Red Bluff Road. At the beginning of November while doing trail work in the area, I got the Wollum Ford to Dave Manes Bluff segment, and last week it was South Maumee Road to AR-14, so now the last piece is finished. I’ll soon be publishing my own maps of the 36 miles of trail that is finished and hope to add the final 5-6 miles next spring. Nov 29 update: Version 1 of the maps is done.
The western part of this segment is on top of bluffs – Dave Manes, Slay Branch, Whisenant, and Peter Cave – or in the hollows between, while the eastern part is on Peter Cave Road (don’t worry, you’re unlikely to see any traffic). There is much history on display as you pass old homesteads, cemeteries, piles of junk, and walls built just to get rocks out of the way of a plow. Ken Smith’s Buffalo River Handbook has great details.
It was interesting to revisit this area, and I was surprised at how well I remembered many details. The weather was unsettled, with gray skies, some sprinkles, and high temps at an unseasonable 65. The temperature dropped to about 45 by the time I went to bed but then warmed overnight back to about 65. It was strange to be too warm to use a sleeping bag in late November. I think my next visit will be a sunny spring day.