Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Good For the Soul

Ozark National Forest was definitely worth the trip. For the drive up my brother and I used scenic route 7 up to our camp site at Alum Cove where there is a very large natural bridge, several caves, and large rock formations. We had also stopped at a few scenic lookouts along the way and hiked a short portion of trail where I had the first snake spotting of the trip. At all of our stops the first day there were multiple dried up creeks or standing water were flowing water should have been. Arkansas is once again dying for rain. There were burn ban signs up everywhere we went.

on the natural bridge at Alum Cove, Ozark National Forest

this was quite a common sight: riverbed with no river

Alum Cove

Alum Cove

Alum Cove

early morning tent

my favorite part about sleeping out was the early morning sunlight waking me up (with a chorus of very loud birds)

For the second day of hiking we took 16 over to 23, and then headed down 309 to bring us to Mt. Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. This place was freaking packed. The trails seemed very tourist friendly and there was a giant lodge built not far from Signal Hill (the highest point). After walking the Signal Hill loop, with various occurrences such as my pack's strap breaking and spotting a solitary deer tromping around not 200ft from the trail, we headed toward the cliffs on the backside of the nearby lodge.

Signal Hill Trail to Highpoint

Mount Magazine Signal Hill, Highest Point in Arkansas: Elevation 2,759ft

After these hikes, which probably only amounted to around 3 miles, we were spent, which is more understandable taking into consideration the 95+ degree heat. So we got in the car and head down to the Cossatot River. This was the most fun stop we made. There are giant shards of rock jutting diagonally from a semi-swiftly moving river, rows upon rows of rock with large rock walls on either side. We spent our time jumping from rock to rock and climbing them down the river for probably a quarter mile until we came to an open area where we swam with a few other guests, if you will.

At this point we were really tired, had baked in the sun for hours upon hours, and were getting annoyed with ourselves for not being able to quit singing What's Up (if you get a kick out of everything about the 90s, you should definitely watch the video).

a lone rock in the Cossatot River

Go for a nature walk, it's good for you!

Thoughts on nature: Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. - John Muir

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