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! Fall has come and gone. Winter is upon us. As I sit and write this, a freezing rain is coming down, and there is 4 to 6 inches of snow predicted to be on the ground tomorrow morning. It doesn't really matter what the weather is here in the Ozarks. Any time of year is a good time to visit. We have gone hiking many days in November and December, even January! Hiking along the north side of the Buffalo River in the winter can be quite a good time as the sun is usually shining on you the whole way. If you have wet suits and are so inclined, you can float the river in the winter , just be cautious and don't take on more river than you have experience for. It can rise quite quickly in the winter, when the rains come. Many folks steer away from our area in the winter, thinking we are only a summer playground, but there is nothing like the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas on a winter day with fresh snow on the ground. Quiet and beautiful. Come visit and see what you are missing.
In late October I received an invitation to visit a new vacation rental establishment, My Blue Heaven Cabin, owned by Gordon and Susan Watkins. They are pioneers in organic gardening here in Northwest Arkansas, and produce the finest blueberries in our part of the state! My Blue Heaven Cabin is located along the Little Buffalo River and is also a wildlife sanctuary. Late Friday afternoon found me driving down the Murry Road. I could see that the fall colors were about gone, and the forecast was for a rainy weekend.
My Blue Heaven Cabin is really a fine, county log home. I arrived just after sunset and got my stuff stashed away in the cabin. I was immediately impressed with the wonderful view that the Great Room had. You could almost see the river from the front room! Comfortable couches and chairs were placed to take advantage of the view. There was a beautiful, soapstone, wood burning stove on the far end, and between the large viewing windows was a HDTV with satellite hookup with a DVD player. A door off to the side led out onto a really nice deck. It had picnic table and extra chairs. Steps led down to another deck with a hot tub!
I decided that the first thing to do was make some supper. The kitchen was great! Modern with all the appliances you need to cook up a gourmet meal, or just slap together a sandwich. On the counter in the kitchen was a complimentary bottle of blueberry wine, homebrewed by Gordon and Susan themselves, and also a blueberry breakfast cake. It was a really nice touch. After eating I was washing up the dishes when I looked out the window above the sink and saw five deer munching away in the back yard, next to a Halloween pumpkin. I took a picture of them through the window and screen, not a great picture, but it was pretty neat to see them so close to the house.
Full, and a bit on the lazy side, I decided I would watch a movie and then go out on the deck and take a nice, relaxing hot tub before retiring for the night. The movie was over and I took my blueberry wine, cigarettes and an ash try and set them on a stool by the hot tub. I slipped into the 104 degree hot tub and slid into bliss. It was a full moon outside, and as I floated and looked upwards, the clouds had surrounded the moon, and yet it was shining bright in the center. Darkness had settled over the valley and in the distance I could hear an owl welcoming the night. I don't know how long I was in the hot tub, but eventually I slithered out and made it to the master bedroom. The master bedroom has a extremely comfortable poster bed with it's own bathroom. I barely made it into bed before falling asleep.
I awoke very early on Saturday morning, before sunrise. Just as the first glow of the day hit the horizon, I went out on the deck overlooking the front field to have a cigarette. While out there, I coughed and up popped five white tails that bounced quickly down towards the river and out of sight. I had never even seen them in the front yard, grazing. I hoped to get another chance to view them, and even grab a decent picture. While waiting for a friend to join me, I made an excellent breakfast and some coffee (which I had forgotten, but Gordon and Susan had placed some in the cabin.) We had planned to hike around the property and along the Little Buffalo River. It had turned grey in the morning, but when my friend arrived, we decided to hike anyways.
We started out at the house and walked through the field and down to the river. Once there we followed a mowed path that meandered near the water. As we walked I could see many deer prints in the wet dirt. We eventually reached the property line and a road, then decided to walk back along the river bank. It was alot of fun, and we had to make sure we didn't make a mistake and get wet. The sun actually tried to come out, and we sat down quietly along the bank and just listened for awhile.
After returning to the cabin in the early afternoon we decided to jump in the hot tub for awhile. My friend headed back home I spent the late afternoon taking pictures and reading a book that I had brought along. The sunset had left the great room when I turned on the lights. I headed into the kitchen and made myself a really nice supper. A light rain had developed so I spent the evening curled up on the couch with my book and a movie.
Sunday morning, checkout day, found me up early and well rested. Before venturing outside this morning, I decided to check out the windows in the great room first, to see if there were any deer in the field, and there was! I grabbed my camera and took a picture through the window. I then went out quietly onto the deck, but the deer heard me and took off upriver. The hot tub beckoned me, and I couldn't resist one last soak. I had my coffee, breakfast in the dining area, and then packed up my gear and got ready to head back to town.