Issue #151
Updated April 4, 2004

Welcome to my on-line newsletter about the Buffalo National River, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Harrison, my home town. It is always under construction! Hello again from the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Wow what a difference a week or two makes! Everything is starting to turn green. I can see lots of redbuds and some dogwoods are already in bloom. The display of spring flowers is very beautiful and I encourage you to get out and see them all. The past few days have been very nice here. Pleasant daytime temperatures and nothing below freezing at night. We did have some rain a week ago, which brought the Buffalo River up. We are hoping for more rain and excellent floating conditions this spring. Daylight savings time has arrived and that to me signals the beginning of the outdoor season, a season for floating and hiking and camping out under the stars. To be able to have another evening hour in the spring, enjoying the splendid, natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, around a campfire or down at the old swimmin hole with friends, folks that's what enjoying life is all about! I sure hope that you get the opportunity this year to come to Northwest Arkansas and step back from your normal city hustle and bustle, and relax and enjoy our neck of the woods.

Picture of the Week.

Arch With No Name

My Favorite Things Part II - Fun With Friends

As I mentioned last issue, I am trying to answer some general questions about such things as my favorite hikes, what kind of gear I take with me when I go hiking, where to find a great waterfall and such. Although I do like to spend alot of my time alone, I also like to take the time to enjoy the companionship of my friends and entertain them in style while treating myself to luxurious surroundings. When I want to be centrally located to all the major activities of Northwest Arkansas, such as hiking or canoeing or horseback riding, one of my most favorite places is Azalea Falls. Recently I had the chance to stay in their cabin, which is really not a cabin but a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath luxury home.

Azalea Falls Cabin

Of course one of the reasons why both their lodge and their cabin are so nice is Kathy Trimble. She spends enormous amounts of time making sure that everything is just perfect, down to my favorite cookies in the cookie jar, and a bottle of champagne and a chilled glass in the fridge! The decorations and furnishings are beautiful and set the style of comfort and elegance. Kathy had planned to run down to Little Rock for a couple days to visit family, so Alf and I had a couple days to goof off. Alf also had a rock climbing session scheduled for that week, but we were going to have plenty of time to get out and walk around. The weather looked great for the next several days.

Gourmet Kitchen

Elegant Dining Area With Entrance Onto Deck

I have often invited my friends to dine with me while staying here. Another of my favorite things is to be able to have the use of a gourmet kitchen. This cabin has it in spades! From the complete set of cooking utensils, pots, pans, fancy china and flatware to all the modern conveniences of home, including dishwasher, microwave, oven and of course, coffee pot, toaster and other such things. I truly enjoy entertaining here, and my friends enjoy it too!

Part Of The Entertainment Area

A Different View

I like to be able to come back from an adventure and have all the fine amenities that this luxury cabin affords, including satellite TV with movies, complete stereo system, and a double person Jacuzzi tub, located upstairs in the master bedroom suite, for soaking in after that strenuous hike. Very relaxing!

Queen Sized Master Bed

Upstairs Sitting Area Of Master Bedroom Suite

I decided to use one of the downstairs bedrooms for my stay. All of the sleeping quarters at the cabin feature extremely comfortable beds, with plenty of quilts and pillows if you need them. I always sleep well here and if the weather permits I normally leave the sliding glass doors open to the night air. No better way to get a great night's sleep. One very good feature of this cabin is that it has 2 1/2 baths. Many cabins in the area sleep six to ten people but only have a single bathroom. Here, you can have that same number of people staying and still be able to get everyone showered and ready for the day's activities without wasting hours in the process. Not something alot of folks think about!

My Bedroom For The Week

Second Downstairs Bedroom

I enjoy big decks, both for catching sun and watching the stars in the evening. This cabin has a large one that wraps around three sides and has a very beautiful rock garden on the fourth side. In the spring, when the waterfall is flowing, you can just sit back on the deck and let the sound of the water take you. Quite relaxing.

Small Part Of The Magnificant Rock Garden

My favorite hiking guide is Alf Carter. He has the most extraordinary knowledge of our part of the Ozarks. He is always coming up with a new place to visit. Of course Alf has been hiking and rock climbing in the Ozarks since the early 70's when he operated the first outdoor store in the Ozarks. There are many different destinations that he knows about that are not easily found, nor are they on any of the most popular maps of the area.

My Friend And Guide Alf Carter

One of my most favorite activities is hiking, and while staying in the cabin, Alf and I had the chance to go to a new place, well new for me anyways. Buzzard's Roost is located in the Ozark National Forest in Pope county. Folks ask me all the time why I don't give exact directions to many of the places I visit. One reason is that most of these places are quite pristine and cannot handle large crowds. The other reason is that part of the fun of doing all this IS the exploring and the sense of discovery when you finally find a nifty spot. There are those who do provide GPS coordinates and exact driving instructions, but in my humble opinion they are just wilderness pimps, exploiting these pristine areas for their own financial gains without regard to the impact their writings will have on such areas. The real way to find these kinds of spots is to use official topo maps of the area you want to hike in and then look at where the old roads are. That along with the elevation lines will lead you to many very beautiful and interesting spots in the Ozark Mountains that are not in anyones book yet. Of course visiting these spots before someone puts them in a book allows you to see an unspoiled, beautiful area or formation BEFORE it is trampled to death by the general public. Before the beer bottles, cans and other garbage left by the unenlightened.

Small Rock Arch Near Buzzard's Roost

Anyway, climbing down off my soapbox, once we parked there was an old forest road before us. We headed down the road to find our objective for the day. I was quite impressed at how much work the folks who supervise the National Forest do. Not only are the roads in good shape, but there were food plots and small ponds for game to use throughout the area we traveled in.

Soaking Up Some Afternoon Sun

Neat Stuff Hidden Away In The Forest

Alf told me that in that area there was a huge natural bridge-like formation (top picture) and then on the other side of the same hollow, a much smaller one and a very large outcrop of rock. It was about two miles down the old road when Alf veered off down a small trail and then we came to it, the natural bridge. Wow! It was huge. How the bridge formed was a mystery to me, but apparently a large amount of water once washed through what was once a small hole, and enlarged it to the size we saw. Across the small hollow we could see a large outcrop.

Buzzard's Roost

Side View Of "The Roost"

After exploring the natural bridge we backtracked a short bit and went over to the large rock formation, know locally as Buzzard's Roost. We had a great view of the national forest from the top and Alf found a small trail that went around the entire formation. While he went around the base I stayed on top and took a few more pictures. The sun was out and the weather was quite nice, close to sixty degrees I would guess, and it felt good to be out, enjoying the wonders of our beautiful area. We spent several hours on this hike and a few more in travel time but it was definitely worth the trip. Back at the cabin Alf and I had a nice supper and then I retired into the entertainment area to watch a movie while Alf headed back up to his place and to bed. He had a rock climbing gig in the morning.

Folks, the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas offers some of the very finest natural, pristine beauty in the nation. Whether you want to canoe, hike, trail ride or take a road trip Azalea Falls is perfectly located to make access very easy. I suspect however, that once you are snuggled into Azalea Fall's Luxury Cabin, you just might not want to leave. You can't find a better place to spend time with your family, or friends in all the Ozarks. The impeccable accommodations along with the depth of knowledge that Alf has about the area makes Azalea Falls a unique place to spend your vacation time. Grab the kids away from the computer, take your wife out of the kitchen and give them and yourself a treat. Spend time with them in the great outdoors, play along the river, hike in the national forest or wilderness areas, canoe down the Buffalo National River, visit the tallest waterfall in middle America. It will be a vacation to remember.

Azalea Falls Lodge
Alf Carter & Kathy Trimble, Owners & Managers
H.C. 30, Box 140
Kingston, AR 72742
Phone: (870) 420-3941
Email Azalea Falls Lodge

Want to read some more about Azalea Falls? Click here for my latest review of the Lodge or here for my previous review of the cabin.