Hemmed-in Hollow Training Hike

Hemmed-in Hollow Trail
I am continuing  to get ready for my canyon tours hiking. With a 1400 foot elevation change and 10 mile hikes on this adventure, I knew I needed to find some more aggressive trails to train on. This is  especially true as I need  to try out my new backpack to see how that was going to work out . In  talking to a friend, Doug Osborne,  he said that he had hiked the hemmed-in hollow trail in Arkansas and it might fit the bill. I had read about this trail and considered hiking it in the past, but I've had so many people tell me how tough it was had never gotten around to doing it.
The reason is tough it its a five and a half mile hike ,the first two 1/2 miles are straight down and obviously the return two and a half miles are straight up with a 1400 FT elevation change. It is a Rocky trail with lots of steps.so this trail is the one I decided to do. Unfortunately I decided to try out my full backpack the same time. Probably wasn't the right game plan.
Hemmed-in  hollow trail is located in the Boxley valley area near Ponca, an area that I absolutely love but unfortunately it takes about two and a half hours to get there. I was concerned about cell service so I stopped at the Buffalo outdoor center in touch base with my husband to let him know I had arrived in the area. There was cell service at the trailhead but that didn't last long. 
In my backpack, I had four lenses. I took my 17-40 wide-angle, my 100mm macro, my 100-400, my 2x extender  and I took my diagonal fisheye.. I carried my camera around my neck. I did have my tripod  and I had my husband's trekking poles. Those ended up being gold.
The trail down was very steep and that started pretty quick with lots of steps and more steps and more steps. I've never had downhill be so challenging. My legs were tired and even a little shaky with extreme downhill with very little break in between. I didn't stop much to take pictures as I knew that the way out was probably going to be even more wicked. I wanted to get back to the car before dark. 

I enjoy the hike down, it is such beautiful country. Near the bottom, I ended up getting to some little more level land, and some beautiful huge big rocks. Let the rocks with moss covering it. I did pass a younger couple on the way, and I was wishing for their young legs, and I joked about it they found me along side of the trail to call my husband to come rescue me. They could find his number on my phone LOL.
Hemmed-in Hollow Falls
When I arrived at the bottom, they were there enjoying the beautiful view. Unfortunately the water  was running minimally over the waterfalls and you can just barely make it out. When the wind blew it was like being rained upon as it blew it over top of the area I was sitting. Once the couple left I pulled out my camera and enjoy taking some pictures. Sure wish the waterfall have been flowing better but that's okay. The canyon was beautiful.
I didn't stay long, I  drank some water and ate a snack and then prepared for my long-track up. I did decide to pull out the trekking poles and they were a godsend, they really really helped my assent. I took it very very slow and stopped a lot. I always take my time going uphill, but this was extreme. And I dreaded every set of steps. Some of the rock steps were about twice the height of a typical step and when you're tired with 30 lbs on your back that can be a bit of a challenge.
Slowly with lots of stops, I made it my way up to the top. As I was getting closer to the end I kept thinking this has to be the last set of steps, this has to be the last set of steps, but never seemed to be. I finally decided I would look at my trail map and I saw I wasn't far from the end which really helped but that last quarter mile wasreally really long.
I got up to the top and did a quick video as I was sitting there drinking my water when that couple showed up. They were going to do a different trail exit but never could find their way had hiked a couple extra miles and just barely ended up behind me. Yep oh for those young legs.  Would I do this hike again. Absolutely if I knew the water was flowing, but I would not be carrying 30 lbs on my back haha.