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Archive for the ‘Caves and Waterfalls’ Category

I have included some photos of a pour-off of Roark Bluff (250-300 feet high), the crossing at Ponca, Arkansas, and one of many harems of Elk nervous about the rising water and contemplating jumping a fence on State Highway 43:

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Alum Cove is a Natural Bridge about 2/3 of the way between Parthenon and Deer in Newton County off Highway 327, AR; about 6 miles south of my home. I made a few daytime trips there last October but never really caught the colors changing the way I have seen them there before. The Natural Bridge is on upper Shop Creek about 7 river miles above Parthenon.

It is well worth the time to view this natural wonder. Bears can be an issue, so you need to check the Arkansas Fish and Game and US Forest Service bulletins. It is an easy hike around a picturesque valley with the Natural Bridge and blued with caves across the Shop Creek valley but there are plenty of places to slip, loose your footing and fall – so use caution hiking; all in all it is about 1.5 miles round trip by a well marked loop.

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This has been a most unusual August !  Seven and one half inches of rain since August 1. We really needed the rain to help refill our water table and that rain has dropped us out of the mild drought category to near normal category, for the year. We got 3 inches in one long train fo thunderstorms on saturday morning. No Severe weather, just moderate rain over several hours, maybe heavy at times. The Buffalo River rose to about 3 feet over the Ponca Bridge by sunday morning (reading an astounding 11 feet), but was floatable from previous rains on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This has not happened in August for 40+ years.

Today, the river has 8″ of airspace at the Ponca Bridge and is floatable for Experts after being closed for a couple of days. I expect the upper Buffalo (Ponca to Kyles) to stay foatable for a week or more; because the water table is primed. Im going to try to get out on the water later this week. All the Boston Mountain streams are floatable; the War Eagle, Kings, Mulberry, and the Piney Creek, and the Illinois Bayou and even Richland Creek and may stay that way for a week or so. It is raining again now and we are expecting 1/2 to 1 inch today and tonight, then a stretch of cool dry weather (highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s) for about 5 days.

Got some grass cutting to do !!!!!!!!

Also; I am Posting a Youtube clip taken Sunday morning of the Buffalo River at the Popnca Bridge (property of the Buffalo Outdoor Center):

 

 

 

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I believe southeastern Newton County and Pope County got a bit more rain (3-4″) the we did here near Parthenon. A Flash Flood Warning was issued for the Richland Creek Campground yesterday afternoon, then more rain came in the evening. I felt that early this morning would be the best time to drive over and check it out. Falling Water Creek was only up about 6 inches at 8 AM; which was a disappointment to me. I expected to see it in flood stage. It was pretty anyway and the azaleas are in bloom at this time:

 

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I made a hike, with my sister, to Kings River Falls over in Madison County last Thursday morning very early. I forget how beautiful Kings River Falls is, now I have visited it at every season (we will call this one winter; even thought it was a beautiful early spring day). Taking Highway 16 to the diminished town of Boston, we turmed north for about 5 miles and worked our way downhill to the Kings River near the old Dripping Springs School House (1921) . The schoolhouse is still on the river bank.  There is a new parking area (about 2 years old for the Kings River Nature Area), enough space for maybe 4 cars. Nice ! The hike is easy and short and well worth every step. From the car to the falls is 1.2 miles; so the loop is 2.4 miles round trip. The trail is nice but full of boulders and water pools in spots due to the previous weekends rain. There has been attention paid to trail erosion in 2 areas with large boulders being set in place.

NOTE: Four major Arkansas Rivers have their origin within 10 miles of this spot. The Mulberry (flows SW), the Buffalo (flows E), the Kings (flows N), and the White (flows NW).

This is also a historic site, being the property of the Williams Family and the Ledbetters before them (1850′s to 1900′s). The original reasidence was burned by bushwackers after the Civil War and has gone through various stages recontruction with new barns and out buildings through the years. There is a nicely built “pioneer wall” alomg the trail. There were a few very early wildflowers in bloom along the trail; trout lillys, johnny jumps-ups, bluets, and spring beauties. Not many yet; just a few scattered around.  The old overhand used as a home, barn, etc., is clearly visible on the hillside this time of the year.

The cascading waterfaill next to the major falls, was flowing much better than I had seen before, but the Kings River was maybe a foot or so lower than last April when I visited. It is really a scenic spot and rates very high on my list of “most loved” hikes. The Kings River enters a shut-in that last about 2 miles starting just upstream from the main falls.

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Kings River Falls

Kings River Falls

Trout Lillys

Trout Lillys

Quad - Up is North

Quad – Up is North

 

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Whether you agree with this “environmentally” or not, this is an unbelievably beautiful overnight facility. Beckham Creek Cave is located a mile down the road from me, on Beckham Creek, a tributary of the Little Buffalo River. The is a world famous cave located in the heart of the Boston Mountains in NW Arkansas.

They’ve  been featured on NBC Nightly News, Home and Garden TV, People Magazine, National Geographic and Four States Living.

Set on a 280 acre estate, the Beckham Creek Cave Lodge was built with the philosophy that the ongoing preservation of natural beauty is paramount. With its perfect blend of magnificent craftsmanship and technology, it took nearly four years to complete. Everywhere one looks, the superior design and attention to detail is obvious.

Putting you directly in touch with nature, the lodge boasts natural living cave walls and ceilings. By maximizing window areas along the wall facing outside, and maintaining large, open living spaces, natural sunlight floods the living area, game room, and kitchen, bringing the outdoors inside the cave.

This is truly a modern accommodation literally fit for royalty. From the moment you walk in the door, the area itself encourages one to shed all of the cares of the daily grind and concentrate on finding true inner peace. The cave’s natural ambiance is complimented by beautiful workmanship, which lends a casual elegance to the interior. There’s no closed-in feeling here, and central heating/air boosts the normal cave temperature to the comfort zone you select. In addition, dehumidifiers remove any suggestion of dampness.

Totally secluded, the cave lodge delivers a comfortable and relaxing vacation. Located in the Buffalo National River country with all the wild beauty of the Ozark countryside. Life here has so much to offer including many activities outside of the cave lodge.

Each room offers its own natural cave walls and all the rooms are beautifully appointed and luxurious considering that you are inside a cave. You will have a tendency to forget that fact during your stay, also available is a Honeymoon Suite which is set apart from the other rooms to allow for slightly more privacy. This amazing bit of architecture is located on 280 acres of land in Buffalo National River country and no matter what you are looking for in a vacation these accommodations have it all and allows you to get back to nature in a most unique way.

The accommodations are quite pricey; so check with them, prior planning a trip.

http://www.beckhamcavelodge.com

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Jasper Cave changed names to Diamond Cave in the late 1920′s, I believe; the entrance now located just off County Road 20 about 1.5 miles west of Highway 327. Highway 327 runs south out of Jasper towards Parthenon, Arkansas. The cave has been closed for a good while now; but, the old outbuildings of the Tourist Camp remain and the old relocated Hudson log home remain at the base of the hill which contains the entrance to the cave:

 

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We went to King’s River Falls Nature area near Boston, AR. last Friday March 30th early in the morning. First of all, there were some pretty large fires along AR Highway 16 (part of the 11 fires that the Forest Service set intentionally (Prescribed Burns) to rid the forest floor of fuel and prevent a larger more destructive fire and enhance the understory for more beneficial species of plants for wildlife.

After a 20 minute ride north of AR 16, we reached Mitchell Creek near the junction of the Kings River. The Kings headwaters are near Boston AR. It was noticeable that the area was about 10 days behind in the “green up” of spring than Parthenon in Newton County to the east. Those are some very high and cold mountain tops in Madison County. The Nature Area has a parking area for 4-6 cars and a well marked trail that follows the south side of the Kings River to and on past the main falls. However all along the 1.2 (2.4 mile round trip) mile walk and there are many views of moving water and 2-4 foot drops every 100-200′ throughout the walk.

As we approached the main falls, a gorgeous waterfall poured in at out feet on the south side of a hill. This is overall an easy hike; with wildflowers along the entire route. I highly recommend this hike. Pictures follow:

upper Kings River

redbud at its peak along the Kings

the trail

a pretty hole and fat run of clear water

indian shelter along the trail

the main falls "Kings River Falls"

Main falls

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This is Saturday 3/24, 3 days after the storms:

 

Tributary of Little Buffalo on Murray rd.

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Todays rain wont amount to much !!  The the rains of the last few days remind me that yesterday morning I went over to Steel Creek near Ponca. Roark Bluff had a nice pour-off on it’s face (the bluff is low by Buffalo River standards; 125′) but the falling rain on 3/21/12 had created a pretty waterfall falling over 100′ from the water worn notch at the top of the cliff down to the river below. I stopped by the Low Gap Cafe for a burger  (really good) on my way back; 2 pictures taken with a Canon S95 Point and Shoot follow:

 

Roark Bluff (looK in the center for the pour-off)

 

Rainwater pouring off Roark Bluff below Ponca

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