Lost Valley

IMG_4323.JPGThis is a post about big things and how tiny humans are compared to the world around them. The Lost Valley Trail down by the Buffalo River is full of bigness: big trees, big rocks, big caves. There are also plenty of small things. But it’s the behemoths that define this place.

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The trail follows Clark Creek through a forest of tall, narrow trees that are abruptly interrupted by cliffs several hundred feet tall. The bluffs curve toward the pinnacle of the hike, Eden Falls, which are fed by a cave high above the valley floor. I thought our last rain would be recent enough for a healthy waterfall, but the creek was already so low that it seemed to disappear about halfway down the mile-long trail. The valley still has plenty to see.

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IMG_4291.JPGOn the way back I opted for the riverbed instead of the trail. This stream was likely once an underground cave; now the collapsed cave roof and stray pieces of the bluffs have left it choked with chaotic, car-sized boulders that otherwise would have no business being in such a small creek.

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IMG_4371.JPGYosemite — along with its even larger cliffs and trees — comes in less than two weeks. But the big places of Arkansas aren’t too bad in the meantime. Thanks for looking!

Dan

Devil’s Den

_C1_0617It was another sunny and warm weekend, and even in February I’m impatient for spring, for all of these trees to have leaves on them again. I headed about half an hour south to Devil’s Den State Park two times — first on Saturday evening.

It was practically hot, but ice still clung to the teal water.

_C1_0423A group of non-English speakers — I’d hazard a guess at Arabic, perhaps students or instructors at the university — were chatting and laughing at a rocky dam. Despite the dimming light, one insisted on taking a group picture from across the water.

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_C1_0472I went back this afternoon with a local to guide me. Our goal: the overlook, a bluff that faces eastward over silver and white trees to the horizon. A good hour’s hike came before that, and Arkansas is nothing if not a bit rugged.

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We came to a rocky streambed that’s something of a community garden, not of food, but of hundreds of small rocky monuments that I imagine will only continue growing.

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_C1_0650A few more hills and unstable shortcuts later, the ground suddenly fell away — the overlook. We and a few others watched the daylight dim as the sun sank behind us.

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_C1_0669A trip well worth the hike.

Thanks for looking,

Dan