16 of 40: hemmed-in hollow
Hemmed-In Hollow is a very popular five-mile hike in the Buffalo National River area. It was on this trail we saw the most hikers. The trail head is near the city of Compton and along the same road as the trail head to Hideout Hollow (our first hike of this trip).
The hike down to the falls is entirely downhill and the elevation difference from top to bottom of the trail is over 1,000 feet. This would define a trail as strenuous. Since we'd never had the kids experience something like this we committed to this being the only hike for the day.
The weather was warm and dry the morning we set out and the sun was bright. It was steep hiking down, but not difficult. The hemmed-in area was quite expansive allowing for many people to enjoy the area at one time. The Buffalo River is less than a mile away so paddlers frequently stop and hike in for a view. We stayed two hours over lunch just relaxing, enjoying the cool, shaded area, the kids played in the water and of course the beautiful view of the falls didn't hurt! (One fun fact is these falls are the tallest between the Appalachians and Rockies.)
Since we stopped hiking for so long we think that helped the kids on the hike up (up, up, up) out. It really was just straight up the entire way out. We all had Camelbacks so we could drink with ease and Jesse frequently encouraged us with a mileage count. The closer we got to five miles meant the closer we were to the top!
This is a very special area at the Buffalo River and I'm glad we took the challenge to hike this trail. I've never seen anything like this and the area was incredibly peaceful even with so many people enjoying it. I'm proud of the my children for mental and physical strength to do so well on this hike. Of course there are moments of "when will we be done?" but really those moments are rare and they do great on these hikes using the word "fun" frequently!
Our next and final hike (of this trip) was also described as strenuous and presented different challenges. It's probably one of the best hikes we've experienced as a family and provided a fitting end to our vacation.