Stonewall's Day Out
In early May, my friend Alf Carter and I decided to take a early Saturday morning hike. I had not been walking for several months and felt out of shape. We set our goal on following a creek for awhile, then up and out to where we knew some wild azalea bushes should be blooming. There were several interesting rocks that we wanted to check out and then we were going to drop down into the hollow and follow a side creek back up to our vehicle. Stonewall, Alf's golden retriever, was with us as our guide dog. He was very excited to be going out on a hike with us. Alf said he had not been out in the woods for awhile. There was a gentle mist in the air as we began.
The creek was running pretty good, and the first thing Stonewall did was jump in the cold water. After resting there for a bit, we continued following the water down as it meandered through the forest. As we walked I could smell the scent of azalea, but I didn't see any. Stonewall broke away from the creek and we followed him up a small, but well travelled trail towards some interesting rock formations. One of them in particular looked like a turtle with a beak and an eye. The eye looked like a circle cut in the rock by some ancient culture. I have never quite seen that before in the Ozarks. The mist turned into a light sprinkle and we spent a little time under the rocks staying dry.
Once the rain let up we decided to climb down into the hollow and follow a side creek. As we made our way down, we suddenly came upon a whole hillside of azalea bushes in full bloom and scent. They were very beautiful. I have not seen that many wild azaleas in one spot before.
Trailing behind Stonewall who is an expert in exploring creeks, we slowly made our way back up the side creek, stopping frequently to admire the views. The rain had diminished to just an occasional drizzle. Both Alf and I were kept entertained watching Stonewall enjoy his day out. In and out of the water, running back and forth along the banks of the small creek, Stonewall showed the boundless energy of his breed.
The walking was easy on the way up and there were many small runoffs and waterfalls to examine. We took several breaks for drinks and snacks as we meandered along and up the creek. The sun actually tried to break out, but it would take several more hours before it would burn off.
Stonewall kept us moving upwards, playing as he went along. We finally reached the the top and found a big boulder that had fallen away from the bluff and beyond that, a very nice waterfall. I climbed up first and took a few pictures of the boys and the boulder. They followed me up and out of the hollow where we sat and had another break before walking back to the truck.
The Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas offer some of the best hiking opportunities in the country. They are ideally suited for old, slow, fat people like myself. Around each point, in every hollow, there is always something new to see. With The Buffalo National River Park, the two wilderness areas on either end, and two National Forests to explore, there is no reason to just sit at home. Grab the family or some friends and spend a weekend or a week exploring the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. You will love it.