Issue #161
Updated February 6, 2005

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! We are halfway through winter here in the Ozark Mountains and it has been a mild one so far. Here in Harrison, we have had just two snows, one for 1" and another one just the other day for 4". The temperatures have been generally on the nippy side, but there have been several periods of warm, pleasant weather. You could even float the Buffalo River if you were properly equipped. The spring floating season is almost upon us. There is no finer place to be on a bright, sunny, spring day than floating down the Buffalo National River with a warm, southerly breeze and the spray of white water on your face. Make plans now to visit us this spring with friends or family, or both!

Picture of the Week.

Hanging Out On The River

Midwinter Getaway

Midwinter is one of my favorite times of the year and I always enjoy being able to spend some time hiking with my friend Alf Carter and so I was tickled when he called and invited me to stay at Azalea Falls Lodge for a few days. Staying at the lodge is always a treat for me. The Frank Lloyd Wright-ish style and the wonderful blend of natural rock, redwood and glass makes for sheer beauty and luxury. The decor, comprised of family heirlooms, furniture, and a fine collection of art work round out this wonderful vacation home.

Azalea Falls Lodge

Entry Hall

It was just after a freeze and there was a light mist in the air as I unpacked and got all my stuff moved in. We were supposed to have some nice weather for the next couple days, once the front moved though and it started warming up. The master bedroom and private bath is quite large and has its own sitting area with a fireplace. The bath has both a shower and a large Jacuzzi tub and there is a separate powder room. As the mist turned to a drizzle I decided that I would just spend the evening cooking supper and reading a book. Tomorrow would be nice and I could go hiking.

The Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom Sitting Area

I awoke to a beautiful morning. Alf called early and said he had to make an unexpected trip to Hot Springs on family business and couldn't go hiking that day so I called up a friend, Terri Matthews, and asked her if she wanted to hike. She said sure and we agreed to meet at the Old Erbie Church about 11 A.M. I had time to make a good breakfast in the kitchen before heading out. While my meal cooked I inventoried and repacked my day pack and got out my hiking stick.

A Great Kitchen!

I finished up and headed down to the church and met up with Terri. We decided to take one of my favorite hikes, which is down the Goat Bluff Trail over to the old Farmer homestead and then follow the old river road down to the Buffalo National River. It is not a long hike, but in the winter it's a great one. You are on the north side of the river and on a clear day you get the sun on you the entire way. We parked down by the horse camp and walked up through the fields until we reached the bluff high above the river.

Looking Down River From The Goat Bluff Trail

The Up River View

The first nice spot is an area overlooking the river, high on a bluff. There are several really old trees here, with their gnarly, twisted roots imbedded deep in the rock bluff. You can see both up and down the river at this point and the rooftop of the old Farmer homestead can be seen up river from this spot.

Walking Along The Flats

A Great Spot To Relax And Enjoy The Day

From here we followed the trail down to the homestead, where it meets up with the old river road that goes down to the Buffalo National River. The road crosses the river here, but we take a right and follow the river along its banks. When the water is low you can walk alongside the river on flat rocks that are underwater when the river is up.

River Diamonds Sparkling In The Sun

We spent some time here basking in the sun. The sound of the water breaking over the rocks and moving down river is quite relaxing. We just sat and listened, occasionally chatting for a bit. We had some lunch here and then debated whether or not to continue. We decided that we would turn back. We followed the road back up and returned to the horse camp at Erbie where we had begun. This was a fun hike and only took a couple hours to complete. I think most people could easily do this one and have a great time also.

Comfortable And Cozy Living Room

That evening I spent my time in the living room reading my book by the fire. Azalea Falls Lodge has a way of becoming home to me when I am here. Comfortable and cozy, I snuggled up on the couch and enjoyed a quiet evening. I had promised to cook for Alf and Kathy after we returned from hiking the following day and so I made sure everything was cleaned up and ready to go before I went to bed that evening.

Hole In The Rock

Cascading Water

The next day was also nice and Alf and I decided to take a walk to Hole In The Rock which is on private land. Alf obtained the necessary permission before we left. This is a nice day hike and takes you to a spot where the water has eaten a hole in the rock and cascades down towards the bottom of the hollow. We ambled down through several fields before reaching the edge of the hollow. We could hear the water falling and made our way over to Hole In The Rock. The sun was out and we sat by the hole for awhile and then continued our way around towards some rocks we like to sit on. We sat there for maybe 30 minutes then decided to head back to Azalea Falls Lodge.

Getting Ready To Set The Table

Sunny Morning In The Entertainment Room

After returning I took a nice Jacuzzi and then started supper. I made us a most excellent spaghetti dinner and Kathy contributed the salad. We had a wonderful evening visiting together, catching up on news and making a few plans for some new hikes this year. After Alf and Kathy left, I spent the rest of my last evening at Azalea Falls Lodge in the entertainment room, watching movies on the satellite TV. It was a nice way to wrap up my three day stay at Azalea Falls.

Azalea Falls Lodge is one of the very finest lodging establishments in the area. Alf and Kathy go to extraordinary lengths to make sure your stay is perfect. The lodge has everything you will need to spend a weekend or a week in luxury and comfort. Alf is one of the most knowledgeable individuals around and can guide you on hikes if you want. Spring is just around the corner, so make plans now to visit the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Float the Buffalo River or do some hiking, or just sit and soak up the unadulterated beauty of our area. Call Alf and Kathy and make a reservation to stay at Azalea Falls Lodge. I can guarantee you will be simply delighted.

If you want to see more click here or here.

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