Monday, November 12, 2018

This Is Arkansas

On our third day at Devils Den State Park, we decided to take off and hike a couple of different trails.  We started mid-morning on Lee Creek Trail which began right behind where we were camping.  This trail is a 1 mile loop which shows off the beauty of Lee Creek from the flat, fossil-filled limestone to pools of aquatic life.  This trail has a nice wide pathway but also a few heavily wooded areas and if you go off the beaten path, you can find yourself wading in Lee Creek.  You can imagine which member of our party enjoyed the cool, clear water.  We got off course a bit, so we never actually did the "loop", but it gave us a chance to explore areas we weren't expecting to.

Back at camp, we cooked up a protein rich lunch; Pad Thai with Chicken.  The next trail on our list was Yellow Rock but since this trail is one of the most popular places to hike, we decided to hold off until later in the day.  Let's be real, we wanted it all to ourselves.  So to kill time, we took off in the Toyota and just started driving farther South to check out the rest of the park.  The highway was winding, the trees were vibrant, and the air was fresh.  We explored gravel roads and found a stunning blue-green lake and walls of limestone rock.  This is why we do what we do.  

It was time to begin Yellow Rock Trail; a moderate 3-mile loop where the main feature is none other than Yellow Rock and offers one of the most amazing views you will see of the Lee Creek Valley.  Yellow Rock trail is an original CCC-constructed trail from the 1930's and is designated part of the National Trails System.  This trail was filled with towering rock formations and cedar glades. Words really can not explain the views from the top, so this is where you can enjoy the photos we snapped.  Goldie, my traveling gold airplane, made an appearance too.  We found a spot to sit and relax, give Lola a water break, and had a few snacks ourselves before taking on the rest of the trail. As sunset approached we made it back to camp.  It was the perfect Sunday as we ended with open-fire steak and potatoes for dinner. 




















Happy Hiking!
Shona 

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Waterfalls, Hiking Trails, and Big Boulders

Saturday morning after breakfast in our warm tent we had one mission; to explore.  We headed over to the infamous Devils Den Waterfall at the Dam.  There weren't too many people there yet, so it was the perfect time to capture the moment with a few photos and let Lola splash around in the water from Lee Creek.  The water here was the most beautiful bluish-green color and was surrounded by the vibrant Fall colored trees.

Here's some history; The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Core starting in 1933 where they used native materials, rustic style wood and stone to match the surrounding natural beauty.  This area of Lee Creek Valley one of the most preserved CCC sites in the United States.  The rock dam spans across Lee Creek forming Lake Devil which is used for boating, canoeing and fishing.  There is a variety of trails, a seasonal cafe, a general store, and many tent and cabin sites.  This park is filled with sandstone caves, bluffs, rock shelters and crevices that were once a hiding place for outlaws on the Butterfield Stage Line until the American Civil War.  At that time Confederate guerillas took over to stage raids on the Union Army's supply lines.  It's so cool that this site has been preserved for people who love the great outdoors.  Next stop, the trail.

Devils Den Trail is a moderate 1.5 mile loop that features Twin Falls, Cold Springs, the Devil's Ice Box, and Devil's Den Cave.  Currently the caves are closed because of White-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats (insert sad face), but don't let that deter you from taking the hike. It's beautiful.  The trail does have a few challenging sections with some good inclines, but with proper guidance and good hiking shoes, it's easy to maneuver. The rock formations are incredible and its easy to imagine the history of the trail as you make your way through.

After hiking the trail we headed back to camp to check out Lee Creek which happened to be in our backyard.  We let Lola play around in the water and enjoyed the sun setting; shining perfectly on the fall foliage.  Back at camp we started the fire and began cooking dinner. Tonight was a true "cowboy" meal of tomatoes, black eyed peas, ranch style and butter beans.  A few campfire stories, a game of Domino's,  and relaxing before heading into our home away from home. It was the perfect end to the day.























See ya tomorrow Arkansas nature!
Shona 

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