Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hiking @ Lost Valley

This past weekend I went hiking at Lost Valley. This is a part of the Buffalo National River protected area. Most of the hike is very easy, meandering parallel to the Clark Creek. The amazing thing about this is the number of incredible features that are contained along this short 2 mile hike. First of all, there is a natural bridge which has pretty neat waterfall coming out of it.

To me, the neatest part of this is that the creek has carved itself a way through the rock. It is hard to describe but it is so neat to see in person. Basically, there is a very narrow opening through which the water can enter (I think it is a cave), and then it comes spilling out the other side. It is beautiful.

The highlight of this trail, though, has to be Eden Falls. There are three falls -- the lower, the middle and the upper falls. This picture shows all of them (although not super duper well)

I have read varying reports on the height of the lower falls, ranging from 35-50 feet so I am not sure how tall they really are. Here is me next to the falls, though, to give a little perspective. I am in the foreground and the falls are about 15-20 feet behind me. The water flowing over the falls and into the creek below is crystal clear. Thank you NPS for preserving this treasure!!!

Past the falls, I think the trail gets a little dicey. You basically climb up above the falls (aka very steep elevation gain quickly) and you can explore this cave behind the falls. It's my understanding there are waterfalls in the cave as well. Here is a picture of the mouth of the cave. You have to climb in to the left of the waterfall.

Some experienced hikers familiar with the area said that this time of year the cave is sandy and it is kind of dangerous in there. I was not sad for an excuse to bail out. Plus it will give me an excuse to have to come back. I'm definitely not sad about that. I have said it before and will say it again. Arkansas is a beautiful place. This hike is about 1.5-2 hrs from my house and I feel very fortunate to be able to do this kind of thing. I feel guilty for missing out on these opportunities the first two years I lived here. I am glad to be reclaiming my life and my health so I can explore this beautiful state.

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