When I say I'm going to do something, I try very hard to do it. Only sometimes it takes me a while! Last month I posted about our family trip at Thanksgiving. At the end I said, "There's just so much I want to share about our week. I'll be back with a few more nature details as soon as I'm able." Well, it seems it took me a long time to be able! I was honestly going to post a couple of days later, but it's been over 40 days! I'll just blame that on Christmas!
Each morning I would head out on the deck. taking in the beauty of the mountains and valleys. The sunrises were gorgeous, but so was the foggy, rainy morning. The weather didn't stop us, we headed out no matter what.
We had planned several hikes for the week. I was excited because a couple of the trails had waterfalls. There are several waterfalls in Arkansas, but many of them are difficult to reach or on private land. In this area of the Ozark Mountains there are a few that the inexperienced hiker can reach. The first waterfall we saw was "The Glory Hole." This waterfall is one of most famous waterfalls in Arkansas. Dismal Creek runs through the area and over time the water has worn a hole right through the top of a huge cave cascading to the cave floor.
You can walk into the cave behind the waterfall, sit on the rocks, and enjoy the beauty and sounds of nature.
The second waterfall we hiked to was on the Lost Valley Trail. The trail leads to Eden Falls, a 53-foot tall waterfall. Pictures don't do it justice. It's a long way down to the pool below.
The Buffalo River which runs through the area is a favorite spot for canoeing. It's a breathtaking area with massive towering bluffs that are so colorful.
The upper river valley is home to the Arkansas elk herd. The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission made an agreement with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources in 1980 to trade Arkansas large mouth bass for Rocky Mountain Elk. Now there is an estimated 650+ elk in this area.
They are massive animals, standing up to five feet high at the shoulder and weighing from 600 to 1000 pounds. We were fortunate to hear the bugle calls from a couple of big bucks. It's such a lonely, haunting sound. The bugle starts low and throaty, rising to a high whistle, then dropping to a grunt. It's not an easy sound to imitate. My grandsons and I tried. We weren't very good and our bugling was interrupted with giggles! If you'd like to hear an elk Yellowstone has a website where you can listen to their calls. It will really surprise you what they sound like!
I'll move on quickly because this is getting rather long. There were some very old homesteads in the area that we were able to wander around. This homestead had a cabin, a root cellar, a barn, and even an outhouse.
There's a sign by the outhouse which reads
Uncle Sam's Gift
The Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) came out to the Ozarks to improved daily living. Farmers asked for a new federally designed, pre-cast-concrete-floored privy." The advertisement read "Your home is not complete without a sanitary unit. Recommended by the State Department of Public Health."
I don't know how many of you have ever used an outhouse. I'm telling my age, but I have and I don't care if they have wood floors or concrete floors there's nothing sanitary about them!
We had such a great time wandering through the Ozarks and along the Buffalo River. I was reminded again just how beautiful Arkansas is.
Again forgive the delay in posting the rest of the story. I'll try to either not promise or be more prompt next time!