A New Kind of Adventure

To have an adventure doesn’t mean that you have to leave the country – as a matter of fact, Amber and I went on a pretty great adventure this weekend in Arkansas of all places.

Amber and I recently started getting into camping and hiking. This was something I did a lot as a kid with my family, but it has been years since I’ve done anything like it. Some of my very best memories as a child are of our family camping trips; snuggled up while it was raining, playing cards with my brother and sisters. I wanted to get back into it, so I talked Amber into giving camping a try 🙂 We used this trip to Arkansas to refine our equipment needs so that we can transition into backpacking.

We spent a long weekend hiking and camping in Arkansas and the sights were incredible! We hiked the Whitaker Point, Glory Hole, and the Lost Valley trails. Each one of the trails was breathtakingly beautiful. The weather could not have been more perfect for our mini-trip!

Getting There

The drive down to Ponca was charming. We lost cell service about an hour from our campsite and went the entire weekend unplugged – it was actually a really nice break from life.

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We kept seeing these road signs all over the place that were cracking us up! Maybe we were just tired, but maybe the signs were actually funny… You decide!

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The Campsite

We stayed at Steel Creek campground for the weekend. There’s no electric at this campground and there’s only about 25 sites, though there is a bathroom, which was unexpected, but nice. The campground butts right up next to the Buffalo river. I had never been near/on the Buffalo before and I was stunned by how clear and blue the water was!

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There were cliffs that lined the base of the campground and in the mornings, the fog rising over the trees was incredible.

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Just a few photos of Amber chillin’ at the campfire:

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Whitaker Point/Hawksbill Cragg

The drive up to Whitaker Point trail head is about 6 miles on a narrow, gravel road; that alone took us 30 minutes! We did see some interesting things along the way though including a bear and a creepy old abandoned church.

The hike to Whitaker Point was truly incredible! The views of the Ozark National Forest are unparalleled and the short 1.5 mile hike to get there is very scenic and not very difficult.

P5130947.JPG We even witnessed a proposal! I shouldn’t be surprised though, this place was recently listed as the #1 spot for proposals in the state of Arkansas!

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There are lots of creeks and water spots to cool down at along the trail. I was very impressed by the water features in general in Arkansas.

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Glory Hole Waterfall

The final place we hiked was called the Glory Hole Waterfall trail. This is a difficult but very rewarding trail to hike. The hike there is all downhill, but you know what that means…. the hike back is all uphill. Along the trail, you follow a small spring fed river that ends in an amazing cave. The river flows through a hole in the ceiling of the cave and boy is it a sight to see! The entire area surrounding this cave is extraordinary. It’s nice and cool from the water running through the cave and there’s plenty of shade around to relax for an hour or two before you head back up the hill. Despite the difficulty on our way out, I will definitely be returning!

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^ (my favorite photo from the entire trip) ^

It’s impossible to capture, but the sounds and smells were somethin’ else. The sound was deep and hollow from the speed at which the water was rushing through the hole. It resonated throughout the cave, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in this primitive place. The smells, I’m sure, were due to the damp cave and just made you feel at peace. It was a truly magical place!

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Again, along the way, there were several water features that were great for photos and just to relax at or in. It was a very peaceful place to be.

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Lost Valley

Our first day in Arkansas, we hiked the very short, but very beautiful Lost Valley trail. This trail is mostly flat but the waterfalls that we saw on the trail took my breath away. I cannot wait to come back to hike this one again! 🙂 I think this was my favorite stop of all three trails we hiked this weekend!

The hike to the waterfalls was mostly a breeze, though towards the end, there are lots of stairs, so be warned for those of you with bad knees!

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There were magnificent rock faces all along this trail.

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The first waterfall we encountered came through a cave. If you look closely, in the center of the photo, you can see where the river enters the cave. There were a couple of dudes hiking along side us that climbed up through the cave. I wanted to, but I don’t trust my clumsy self to not die during such an endeavor.

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The second waterfall, Eden Falls, was breathtaking. We weren’t quite sure what to expect on this trail, and we thought the first waterfall was amazing, but then this appeared out of nowhere and we both stopped dead in our tracks. The temperature in this carved out spot that the waterfall empties into, was about 5 degrees cooler than the rest of the park. It was the perfect spot to just stop and be.

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If you come prepared, you can hike up past the waterfall and go back into the cave where the river that feeds it originates (it’s part of an underground river system).

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Overall, the trip was a blast and we were able to determine items that we still needed and some of the stuff that we had that wasn’t necessary. We will be better prepared for next time! I had so much fun and look forward to making my way back to the Ozarks!

Make sure to like/comment if you loved all these photos of my amazing model, Amber.

 

Now get out there and CHASE ADVENTURE!

Love, Kathy

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