Arkansas Ozarks

Nov 2 – 3, 2010

Jessieville, AR to Snowball, AR

Miles 8890-9051

I spent a few days in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains, which made me homesick for the autumn I had already missed in southwest Wisconsin, and eager to get back to what remained.  The nights were cool, even sub-freezing on at least one occasion, and I was glad to be able to get my new warm, down sleeping bag out from the depths of my trunk, where it had spent most of the last two temperate months.  Strange to think that I had been swimming in the ocean only a week before… a long week before!  Since then I had revolutionized my thinking about waterfowl, passed through the nation’s ecological confluence, had a fleeting but passionate moment of patriotism… and traveled 1,000 miles.


The Ozarks were beautiful, as they’re supposed to be.  It didn’t hurt that a few brilliant maples were left among the brown oaks, that the air was dry and crisp, and that I had remote campgrounds all to myself.  I chose a lot of small roads, and went on a few short hikes, but didn’t spend too much time exploring beyond that in my journey from Hot Springs north through the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests.

A glowing maple tree nearly obscures a hanging rock formation in the background, Ozark National Forest

All alone at Fairview campground in the Ozark NF. The night before, at a campground along the Fourche River, I was disturbed by some noises in the night and realized that a beaver had just felled a tree just a few yards downhill of my campsite.

Ozarks woods look a lot like southern Wisconsin's, right down to the rustling brown oak leaves in the fall.

A "natural bridge" of stone in the Pedestal Rocks area.

At the egde of King's Bluff, in the Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area, Ozark NF

Layers of sediments were layed down millions of years ago, and they have been graually eroded away to form the topography of the Ozark Mountains. The top layer is very hard, so here at King's Bluff it has worn into an almost perfectly smooth surface, except where the Illinois Bayou River has, over millenia, worn away the striking cliff face (left).

Sycamore seed balls

Pines and Oaks share the stage in the Ozark National Forest


A "hoodoo" (here at Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area in the Ozark NF) forms when softer sediments erode from around harder ones.























Arkansas wasn’t really on my list of destinations for this trip… it just happened to lay between Texas and home.  So after my day of historical sites, I had chosen the route that looked the most scenic, based on the areas shaded green on my map, and heading towards a long purple splotch at the northern end of the state.  It turned out to be my last adventure of the trip, and I extended my stay in “The Natural State” a few days longer than I had originally planned…


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