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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.