My hiking buddies and I recently made the drive to Cleburne County , Arkansas, to explore the hiking trails around the town of Heber Springs ( www.Heber-Springs.com ). One of the trails we explored, was called Big Creek Hiking Trail.
As you can see from this photo, it was the time of year when leaves are falling from the trees, and the temperatures have dropped enough, to make a light jacket just right for being active outdoors.
The Big Creek Preserve is a 1,508 acre property in the Arkansas Valley, that was added to the properties managed by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission in 1978. You can find driving directions to this location by visiting their website at www.naturalheritage.com/natural-areas/big-creek-natural-area .
There are many interpretive panels along the trails that share information on flora, fauna, and management of the property.
The shorter hike (3/4 mile), called the "Creek Trail" allows visitors to explore the riparian areas adjacent to Big Creek.
We read that about 5 miles of Big Creek is included within the preserve, and that Big Creek is a major tributary to the Little Red River.
There is no doubt that the area has some very unique natural features, like this evergreen tree whose bark took on the appearance of a lattice. It was a bark pattern I had never seen before!
The finger pointing at one of the openings on the unusual tree, shows that "daylight" can be seen, on the other side of the opening, that passes all the way through the tree.
The growth of bright green moss highlighted the diamond-shaped openings, and made them stand out even more!
One of our hikers spotted this interesting pattern in the core of a pine tree that had fallen across the trail, and was then "sliced" into pieces to make for easier removal. We encountered these logs as we were hiking the longer (1.75 mile) loop called the Overlook Trail.
This person's finger is pointing to THE MOST UNIQUE fungi I have ever seen growing on a tree! It had the appearance of a white brush with hundreds of thin, white hanging bristles. It was STUNNING!
It reminded me more of intricate coral reef formations I have seen, while scuba diving in the Caribbean. It is easy to understand why this place meets the criteria for inclusion as an official Arkansas Natural Area! Its varied topography, climate/sun exposures, and vastness, provide habitat for a wide array of plant and animal species!
One member of our group participates in the sport of geocache hunting, and followed the instructions to find this box, hidden under a upper ledge of a 200 foot bluff, overlooking Big Creek. People who do geocaching are SEEKING out a LOST/hidden item, using the co-ordinates on their GPS devices. Therefore, I am using this photo as the visual aid for my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verse that says, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10