Saturday, November 10, 2018

Hiking Expeditions in the Ozarks!

If  you are not familiar with the Ozarks, you may have noticed that most of my photos of hiking in the Ozarks are taken during the colder months of the year and possibly, you have wondered "Why?"  There are several factors, such as uncomfortable heat and humidity, annoying ticks and chiggers, and the switch to water sports in warm weather.  But another reason is the ability to see the terrain of an area better whenever the leaves are off the trees.

All of  these photos, except for the very last ones, were taken on a hike with some of the Arkansas Master Naturalists ( )at a location near Mountain View, Arkansas, called "Almus Knob". 

Another popular hiking trail is the Buffalo River Trail (BRT) , that traces the Buffalo National River through land owned by the National Park Service.  Recently, on a different outing, six members of the North Central Arkansas Master Naturalists hiked the six mile section from Spring Creek Trailhead, to the Highway 14 Bridge access.  The outfitter we used to shuttle us to the starting point, took this photo as we began our trek on a VERY chilly day in November. 
No matter where you are along the BRT, at some point you will have some glorious views of the Buffalo River, especially if the leaves are off the trees!
When you hike in the BRT, you will encounter a variety of habitats, from glades, to lichen-covered crevices, to deep ravines.  On this particular hike, we happened to be in a deep ravine, dappled with sunshine, at high noon, so we chose that spot for our lunch break.
Some people keep records of which sections they have trekked on the Buffalo River Trail, with the ultimate goal of "section hiking" the entire trail.  I am trying to do that, so now I can count as completed, the section from the Spring Creek Trailhead to the Highway 14 Bridge access (also known as Dillards Ferry).

Did you ever feel like the "weight of the world" was on your shoulders??  The photo above is a visual aid for that thought!  You can also think of it as a visual aid for "resistance training", as pushing against resistance can make you stronger!  (Not only your physical muscles, but your "spiritual muscles", as well!)

This photo of a group of hikers was taken above the Buffalo National River, and represents a group with the purpose of participating in the annual December bird count, sponsored by the Audubon Society ( ).  I am including it as another example of one of several hiking groups that I have spent time with in the outdoors.  I use it as an example of the Bible verse that tells us a "cord of three" is not as easily broken as a single cord.  (The passage is from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 that says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up....A cord of three strands is not easily broken." )   As a "Baby Boomer Widow Lady", I have learned that it makes sense for me to hike in the woods with other folks, instead of striking off into unknown forests by myself .  If you are interested in finding a group to hike with, you can start just by Googling "Hiking Groups in my area", where you type in the area to be explored.  If you do not find anything suitable, try starting up your own group!   There are a variety of social media sites that will make it easy for you to connect with like-minded folks.  So get out there and enjoy God's Great Outdoors!  It will give you "MILES OF SMILES"!!  Tricia