A Family Visit To The Ozarks
Over the years I have asked my two sisters to come visit the Ozarks, and I would be their tour guide. My older sister, being retired, has come to visit twice. This year my younger sister Margaret took a weeks vacation time to come for a visit. She is the outdoorsy type and I promised her a hike every day. She brought a friend along and they arrived on Sunday afternoon. We got them moved into their cabin for the week, Cabin #1 at Heather Hill. They chose this one due to its close location to my house. I don't often get to appear in the pictures but this time my friends and family all contributed images for this issue, thanks!
Monday: Our first hike was set for the Ponca to Steel Creek portion of the Buffalo River Trail. We were going to do a shuttle with David so we met at Steel Creek,and then drove the other vehicle back to Ponca to start our hike. As we arrived the elk herd that hangs out at Ponca was lounging around across access to the old bridge. We got a few very close up shots of them. It was a busy day for a Monday but later on we found out there was a river cleanup float going on. We crossed the low water bridge and began our walk.
I had promised flat hikes but I guess my memory is bad because my sister said Iowa flat is different than Ozark flat! The trail wound its way through the forest above the river. Out to a point then back in to a runoff or wet weather waterfall, then back out to the next point. It was a wonderful morning. I had forgotten how beautiful this part of the Buffalo River Trail was. We could see canoes and kayaks below making their way along, stopping to pick up trash. .We did not see any other people on the trail which made it extra special. We stopped at several of the overlook spots for a drink and a snack. The wind was nice as it kept us cool as the day warmed up a bit. Once we reached a high point in the trail we began the long slow walk down to Steel Creek.
Once we arrived at the Steel Creek Access we hoped in the truck and drove over to Kyles Landing. It had rained the day before and I knew the falls at Camp Orr would be roaring. We were not disappointed. I have show this hike many times in the past, but each time I go there it is like a new visit! Just a beautiful spot. Once we finished at Twin Falls we headed back to Ponca, picked up the other vehicle and went to the cabin for supper.
Tuesday:: The forecast was for sunny and warm. We decided to take a quick drive over to the historic Haggard Ford Bridge at the end of Cottonwood Road, and then drive over to the Fred Berry Conservation Center near Yellville and hike a couple of their trails that show off Crooked Creek, "the blue-ribbon smallmouth bass stream of the Ozark" and the Crooked Creek Water Trail. We made sure to stop at the Center first to check and see what areas were open. They said we could drive anywhere we wanted since there was no classes today. We decided to park at the Pavilion and make that our base. Our plan was to walk the left side of the Creek Bottom Trail until it met with the creek. Then we would take the Creek Bluff Trail as it followed the creek then loop back behind the center and on down to the Pavilion. Then we would walk the Woodland Edge Trail, coming back to the Pavilion at the end for a nice picnic table lunch.
It was a glorious time. We strolled along the paths, taking time to read the interpretive signs posted along the way. You could tell that the staff took an extraordinary amount of time to make this place a pleasure to visit. It took several hours to walk the trails. The afternoon, picnic lunch under at the Pavilion was just the thing after a walk. Since we were so close to Yellville we drove over to take a look at the Crooked Creek Waterway at the city park. Once there we walked along their trail also. Really a nice place!
Wednesday: The forecast was for rain all day and it did not disappoint. We got up early and tried to wall the Mill Creek Trail but we only got part way when it started to sprinkle. Heading back to the car we thought a trip down to Jasper and a look around town plus lunch at the Ozark Cafe could not be a bad decision. We were not disappointed! Carolyn found some really fine pieces at Spring Street Arts, one of the studios. We headed back to Harrison, stopping at a friends house to view their gardens and Buster the dog.
Some Of The Wildflowers We Saw While Walking This Week
Thursday: The feature hike of the week was the Goat Bluff Trail at Erbie. This is one of our most favorite walks and our favorite area on the Upper Buffalo River District. Having rained quite nicely the day before we were somewhat concerned that we could not get over the low water bridge at Cove Creek, but with lots of skillful driving and a bit of nerve we made it over, parked at our spot and began the walk. We walked through several fields of tall grass before arriving at the overlook. From there we walked along the bluff then down towards the homestead. We had to cross a couple little runoffs that normally are dry. Once we arrived at the old place we explored it and rested. Returning back to the truck we thought a nice lunch somewhere along the dirt road would be appropriate, and it was!
I had a terrific time showing off the Ozarks to my sister Margaret and her friend Carolyn. Emails confirm they had a good time also.