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  The Ponca Wilderness is like a wilderness area...but not quite. There are trails and horses and canoes and typically more signs of humans than one would typically find in true wilderness "area". All that aside...the Ponca Wilderness has many wonders not to be found anywhere else in Arkansas. Hemmed-in Hollow is best known for the waterfall of the same name but it hardly ever runs with its tiny watershed. The bluff line that surrounds the valley is quite dramatic and has some of the highest bluffs I've seen that are not right on the Buffalo River itself. This short journey begins at the Compton Trail Head near Compton....named after Jimmy "Jimco" Compton...a prominent hillbilly that made a name by selling wild pigs to locals and then stealing them back and setting them free again.
  I entered the forest at 6:30 a.m. with darkness still intact...sunrise due at around 7:18 or so. The Temp was about 30 and the ground was frozen in most places. The temp rose to 40 or so as I descended into the valley...which seemed a bit weird  The sky was cloudy. When I hit the rim of the hollow I made my way around the rim on a trail that was not much more than a game trail. If you don't like heights I don't recommend this area due to much potential for falling into the hollow...which is quite hollow, indeed. The waterfall was dry but still beautiful. There is a mini gorge at the top just before the water goes over the side that is pretty cool. There are many rocky outcroppings perfect for relaxing on and viewing the valley. After making it to the southernmost lip I made my way up the mountain and back to the parking area. At noon there was at least 10 cars...glad I went in early. Total miles around 5.

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