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1/21/2012
  Next in the series of my exploration of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area I hike an area above Whitaker Creek near Whitaker Point, better known as the Hawksbill Crag. I parked at the wilderness access parking area where you can get to Pruitt Hollow, Bowers Hollow and the waterfalls located in this area. At 7:15 there were no other cars. I headed northeast along a tributary of Whitaker Creek that starts near Turner Ward's Knob. The weather started out cloudy with some fog here and there with a temp around 30 degrees. There was some ice on the trees at higher elevations. Turner Ward was a friend of Jim Bob Whitaker. These two pioneers settled this area back in 1843. Keep in mind that Jim Bob Whitaker pronounced his name "Hwittiker". Turner Ward pronounced his name "Hward". They were both originally from Wisconsin (Hwissconsin). Turner claimed the knob for his namesake while Jim Bob chose the protruding cliff for his. He was long in the grave by the time some usurper named Jimmy Chuck Hawksbill came along and renamed it Hawksbill Crag. So enough for the history of the valley.
  The creek, which has no name, starts out easy to follow but it is not long before it gets deep and full of drops that make it difficult to track down low. I was forced to seek the higher ground which led me to the bluff line above. This was a good thing since the views were quite lovely. I never did get back down to Whitaker Creek once this creek joined it at about mile 1.7. The decision was made to just follow the top of the bluffs downstream and see were that took me. I made it to the point that Lower Fork Creek comes in. From here the crag could be seen far across the valley. This was an interesting perspective to view it from. I ate a hearty lunch on a nice slab of rock. The sun was out now and it felt great up there. I saw no other humans across the valley but a photo I took later revealed a couple of people that I had not seen.
  I then made my way back in the direction from which I came, but just a little more to the east. For the most part the going was not too bad. I encountered no trails save for the odd game trace here and there. Temp seemed to max out in the other 40's but I'm not sure. By the time I arrived back to the parking area it was 3:00 and there were at least 7 cars and one truck with a horse trailer parked there. This is a very rugged area with no trails as far as I know...but I could be wrong.
Total mileage around 6.5 miles.

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