Crooked Creek At Harrison And Coursey's Smokehouse
It's been a hot summer. The heavy spring rains gave way to a drier than normal summer. The creeks and rivers had gotten low as most of the rains that came our way were less than expected or short in duration. It was delightful then to have this past Sunday, October 6th produce an all day rain which totaled almost 5 inches. It continued Sunday evening but when I woke up Monday morning the skies were blue, and it was crisp and clear, cool with a few clouds in the air. Perhaps fall had indeed arrived. I decided to take a drive downtown to see how much water was flowing down Crooked Creek. Harrison has a really nice park located downtown and along the creek. Many of the local festivals are held there.
I headed south over the bridge and parked in one of the areas close to the playground. I decided I would walk down and see if I could cross the creek and do the loop trail. I passed the Stage and the Pavilion, normally used for local festivals, and the down to the crossing. The water was too high to allow me to continue so I turned back and made my way around the playground area. I was quite amazed at how much flood debris had accumulated below the little dam and how big some of the pieces were. While strolling I noticed a duck making an impressive water landing. It made it's way over to me and I tossed it some cracker bits out of my backpack as a reward for a good show.
It was still morning and warming up a bit. I decided to drive down to the river and see how high the water levels were. I chose a dirt road route that led me to Hwy 7. On the way I passed some fields where a lone, dead tree stood. Down near the fence line was a display of rural Ozark art. Standing tall were a broken soda machine, a pay phone with no handset and a gas pump with no hose. The farmer who put this in his field definitely had a sense of humor. I then drove south on Hwy 7 till I reached the Pruitt bridge, crossed it and turned into where the old Pruitt Ranger Station is. On the other side, where the access is, they are building a new Pruitt bridge so it is pretty messy that way. Walking down to the river I could see that the normal trails that parallel close to the river were under water, but I could still mange to get part way down. The water was quite high and moving switfly downriver. I decided to stretch my legs a bit by walking a short distance along the Buffalo River Trail. After traversing about a 1/4 mile I turned back and made my way back to Harrison.
A few weeks before the big deluge I went with a friend down to Coursey's smokehouse, which is located just south of St. Joe. It was close to the end of my tomato garden and I wanted some fine Ozark hickory smoked bacon to finish off the season. Coursey's is well know across the state as one of the finest smokehouses around. Their process turns out a consistently great tasting product. We arrived and were not surprised at the flow of visitors in and out of the place. They are not a restaurant but there is a sandwich counter in the back where you can get a great smoked ham and cheese sandwich, some chips and a soda. There is an abundance of locally produced products for sale, including honey and preserves. I ordered a sandwich and purchased a couple pounds of bacon. My friend did a similar thing, and we sat outside in the shade and had our snack before heading back to town with our smoked treasures.
The Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas has something to offer to anyone, local or visitor. Wonderful recreational activities based around the Buffalo River and area lakes are readily available. The expanse of national forests gives hunters, ATV enthusiasts and hikers boundless opportunities to enjoy their favorite sport. Delightful small businesses dot the landscape offering high quality locally produced products. I hope you get the chance to enjoy the area as much as I do.