Chasing Arkansas Waterfalls – Fall 2018

Chasing Arkansas Waterfalls – Fall 2018

One of the places we love to visit in Arkansas is the Ouachita National Forest where you will find the Ouachita Mountains. Granted these are not the type of mountains you find in the Rocky Mountain, Great Pyrenees, or the Andies, but they are mountains to us and one of our favorite places. We have often found ourselves thinking about living within the area, but there is still so much more to visit so we must not stop here! On this trip, we decided to specifically find as many waterfalls as we could. We found four of the named waterfalls and plenty of little cascades that are found all throughout the area.

Natural Dam, Arkansas

Natural Dam was the first of many natural waterfalls we visited on this fall trip in 2018.  It is not in the Ouachitas but in the Ozarks; still totally worth the stop.

Crooked Creek Waterfall is one of the first waterfalls we came across in our travel into the Ouachita National Forest. At first, we were not sure if we would find it flowing strong, but as we drove through a stream just above the falls, we were pleasantly surprised. It seemed to be an area that many people loved to camp and visit. Because I am not always very sturdy on my feet, I stayed up above the falls with Cordie. Because there had been recent rain, the river stone was slippery.

Crooked Creek Falls

Crooked Creek Falls runs along the national forest road in the Ouachitas.  We had to scale down the side of the road and we were very glad to have good shoes on so we didn’t slide into the water.

The colors of the trees were just breathtaking. I was afraid we had missed the fall foliage, but it seems we were just in time. There were not as many reds as I would l have liked, but we still saw red here and there. Scott had wanted to travel into to the Sand Gap area in Arkansas, but we would have had to camp and I was still a bit nervous about the weather. Fortunately, he is rather forgiving and never put it in my face that they were having record colors if that is even a thing. As we drove through the forest from waterfall to waterfall we had all but forgotten Sand Gap. It was well worth it, I would say.

Such colorful fall colors.

The fall colors of reds, oranges, and yellows were all around us as we drove along the Ouachita Forest roads.

The Little Missouri Falls was more of a cascade than a waterfall, however, it was well worth the stop. This is the location of a 7,000-year-old campsite where archeologists found many artifacts. This is also the area where you will find mainly shortleaf pine and plenty of black bears. The CCC build up this area with a viewing area and steps leading down to the river’s edge.

The Little Missouri Falls were one of the prettiest on our trip.

The Little Missouri Falls were a mixture of cascades and falling water.   I loved how the trees were growing up in the middle of this place.

Blaylock Falls was, in my opinion, the best fall of them all. Here you were able to see the way the rock was folded under great pressure when the area now known as Texas was pushed up against the area. This forced the mountains all around the Ouachita area to rise. When I first learned about this process, I was stunned and could not imagine what it would look like, but here you can actually see what happened! If you would like to learn more about this process, you can view our video https://youtu.be/0IpkiSXe4EU for more information.

Blaylock Falls was definitely my favorite of all the waterfalls we found on this trip.  It was deep within the Ouachita Mountains and had many examples of how they were created.

The trip to the capture many of the Arkansas waterfalls was fun, but definitely not long enough. We visited one other “waterfall” but it was most definitely more of a cascade. The park was beautiful and it will be one we visite again, but when the days are not quite so cold. I found this river to more like Perdanelas Falls in Texas with the giant smooth river rocks that created the rolling river. This is a spot that kayakers love to ride and it is a place I would love to experience again soon.

Cossatot Falls is one of the more popular spots in Arkansas where kayakers are concerned.  However, the trails and views are just as amazing!

Above is a short video of our trip in the Fall of 2018 to the Ouachita Mountains to chase Arkansas Waterfalls.

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    Our New Travel Mate. He’s Such a Trip!

    Our New Travel Mate. He’s Such a Trip!

    A year ago this past April, we had to have our sweet, hammock-loving Chihuahua Cordie put to sleep.  She had a very bad stroke and she wasn’t dealing with life well.  It broke our hearts and traveling just wasn’t quite the same.  

    Our sweet girl was definitely a traveler and she has been missed greatly.

    Cordie was an extremely good travler and she was always ready to “go”.  There are so many times she would stalk the car and try to jump in.  When we did get her into the car, she would get right into car seat and begin to demand us to drive forward. It was this spirit we hoped we would have when it was time to adopt a new member of the travel team, if we ever did.

    Such a tiny boy at 8-weeks-old!

    After taking time to allow our hearts to heal, we adopted Trip on February 24 this year when he was 8-weeks-old. The drive to get him was a little over two hour and it felt like it took forever, but we soon arrived and were greeted by who was his father. The father was half Shih Tzu and half Pomeranian which is a breed called Shiranian. They are usually anywhere between 4 and 15 pounds in weight, 7 to 12 inches in size, and extremely fluffy!

    Artwork: Shih Tzu Image by ana_olly and Pomeranian Image by life_is_beautiful from Pixabay.

    These Shiranian dogs are extremely smart so easy to train, friendly, and are small. That was just want I wanted; a pocket puppy that I could take with me EVERYWHERE! However, every place we looked the price was $500 USD and higher! I was getting extremely frustrated so I began to look at the local dog shelters. Unfortunately, the small dogs were adopted before we could see them and the large dogs would not work in our tiny RV. Scott was telling me not to get upset because the right dog would come along, but I was definitely getting frustrated.

    Sound asleep as we drive home trying to come up with the perfect name.

    We discussed his name and came up with so many, but nothing really seemed to work. Then, halfway home, Scott said something about how he couldn’t wait to see how he dealt with a “real road trip.” It dawned on both of us, we would always be “taking a trip” and that was how we knew his name was TRIPP. No matter where we went we would be “taking a TRIPP.”

    Scott and I usually stop in for a good dose of coffee before we head out to collect counties; Trip gets to enjoy pup-cups!

    Tripp is a very good traveler. He is just a puppy still, but we hope he will be as much fun as Cordie was. That girl was always ready to go and often times was seen circling the car when she saw us putting luggage in the car. So far he hasn’t figured out the difference is us going somewhere and us traveling, but he is smart enough, I think he will figure it out soon.

    Tripp visited his very first State Park in Missouri on March 20, 2022.
    Many sticks were carried on the trail.

    We were able to take him to his very first State Park and collect his first five counties in March. He was very excited about it. Since he loves to collect sticks, he had a very difficult time choosing one. He would pick one up on the trail and within minutes find another one he would rather have. Unfortunately, we had to explain to him that we do not take things from the parks. He was not amused.

    Above is a short video of Tripp his first three months with us. He has brought us so much happiness and we do hope we are making him happy as well.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog posts. We appreciate it so very, very much!

    We Have a STATEment To Make

    We Have a STATEment To Make

    One of the things we love to collect are counties of the United States. Because counties are within the states, we are able to count off those states as well. It is very much a win-win for us. So far at this point we have visited 44% of the states (22 out of 50). The states we have visited are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisanna, Mississippi, Missouri, Montona, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Unfortunately, we did not always think of getting us and the state sign. I’m not sure why, but we just did not.  I guess this means we will need to head back to those states and get the state signs.

    Most of the photos of the state signs we have visited.

    Runaway June stands in front of an Arkansas state sign to document her travels.

    Like Runaway June, we love the memories we have concerning our travels.  These photos not only serve as memories of our travels, but they help us to show our friends and family where we are and where we have been.  We do this by putting the photos on this website.  Because the photos on the site, we are able to log on and verify where we have visited and make our travel plans for an upcoming trip, as well as traveling on the spur of the moment.

    One of the main reasons we are keeping photos of us with state, state park, and national park signsis because we live in an RV.  When you live in such a small space, you do not have room for the various knick knacks from a state tourism office here, state park there, or a national park everywhere else.  So we decided we could make postcards to send our GrandGeorges and friends, and the website.  It has reminded us what a wonderful life we have had and dream about all the new places we will go.

    Everyone has a way and reason they travel.  For us it is pulling over to the side of the road and dashing over to the state sign  and take a photo so we can share our adventures.  It isn’t for everyone, just as collecting counties isn’t for all.  Do you have any travel traditions your family does as you move along the the roads, train tacks, and skies?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to join us for this adventure.  If you would like to enjoy more of our travels, please feel free to visit our YouTube channel and see what we are doing.

    Waco Mammoth National Monument 2016

    Waco Mammoth National Monument 2016

    Scott and I visited the Waco Mammoth National Monument in 2016. We absolutely loved visiting this site because of the fossils. Those of you who have been following us for a while know how excited I tend to get when I find fossils. There is something about seeing where places were during pre-history. It has helped me be able to see how real science really is.

    We decided to do a video about our trip. If you haven’t already watched it, please feel free to take a few moments and see what a great national monument site this is. Also, go ahead and like the video and subscribe if you haven’t already. Liking the video will help YouTube show others, where we are, and subscribing, will enable you to see when we have a new video posted.

    If you want to see a real fossil dig site, this is the place you want to visit. For further information about Waco Mammoth National Monument, please visit https://www.nps.gov/waco/index.htm

    Thank you so much for watching our video. We do hope you have enjoyed it.

    A very special thank you go out to Raegan King, Director of the Waco Mammoth National Monument; Gena Stuchbery, our amazing guide; Dava Butler, Education Coordinator; and the full staff and volunteers of Waco Mammoth National Monument.

    Thank you also goes out to President Obama for making this a National Monument. We appreciate it very, very much.

    To see President Obama’s signing the law designating three new national monuments in which the Waco mammoth site was one, go here: https://youtu.be/WIzOG-Rz8PY

    Triumphant Return by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
    Artist: http://audionautix.com/

    It Once Was A National Park, But No More

    It Once Was A National Park, But No More

    When the Chickasaw Nation was forced to relocate to Indian Territory, within their new borders they found a wooded area filled with fresh water and strong-smelling mineral water springs. They believed these springs had healing powers. Fearing that they would not be able to protect this area from commercial development and becoming another Hot Springs, Arkansas, they sold it to the Federal Government, with the condition that it be protected, and kept open to the public. In 1902 Senator Orville Platt introduced legislation designating this area the Sulphur Springs Reservation, and in 1906 Congress passed legislation creating Platt National Park, named for Senator Platt, who had recently died.

    CCC built structure around Buffalo Springs.

    At 640 acres, Platt National Park was the seventh and the smallest unit in the National Park System. Though small it was no less popular, in 1914 it received more visitors than Yellowstone or Yosemite. In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps was assigned to make improvements, to make the area deserving of being a National Park. They added many buildings, and landscape features, that significantly altered the character of the park. By 1949 it was receiving more than a million visitors a year. However, many people within Congress felt that Platt National Park lacked the grandeur and scope expected of a National Park. On March 17, 1976, Congress changed the status from Platt National Park to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area because it was not the same natural beauty as Yellowstone and Yosemite. This former national park was added to the Arbuckle Recreation Area to create a lush playground for all to enjoy.

    Lake of the Arbuckle’s on a foggy fall morning.

    The older portion of the park, the Platt District, remains popular, still receiving more than a million visitors a year. It features the springs, a swimming hole, fishing, boating, hiking, and camping. The swimming hole has a small man-made waterfall called the Little Niagara. Here the spring water is cold and a host to people of all cultures.

    The lower falls at Little Niagara.

    There are three basic camping areas. The Lake of the Arbuckles areas: Buckhorn, Guy Sandy, and The Point. One, Guy Sandy, is first-come-first-serve and does not require a reservation. You simply show up, decide on your spot and visit the kiosk, then pay for your stay. Buckhorn and The Point are reservation camping loop is very nice with full hook-ups and full almost all year round. The third camping area is within the historic Platt District, the original area of the park has three camping loops, in which the only one is open year-round and only first-come-first-serve. This area is surrounded by the rushing creek and active in the springtime.

    Ren and I first visited in the Fall of 2013, we were on the way back from visiting family in Oklahoma. This was before we really caught the travel bug, but we fell in love with the park and made plans to return. We have revisited the park several times since then, it is a reasonable drive from both Fort Worth and from Tulsa. When I started photography it was one of the first places I wanted to go.

    We decided one day to visit the visitor center and hike trails behind it. Here the shade from the canopy of trees kept us cool in the Oklahoma August heat. It was quiet for the most part, except the various little waterfalls and birds chattering in the treetops. Here we found a peaceful place just minutes away from the main county road. It was an amazing hike.

    Hiking along on one of the many trails at Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

    We then took the time to swim in the swimming hole just below Little Niagara Falls. We even followed many of the young people and jumped off the top! It was exhilarating. I remember my heart pumping and watching the people ahead of us pop up from down below. My knee was aching, it was only recently healed from being broken and the cold, spring water felt good, taking away the swelling.

    It may not be a National Park anymore, but it is still worth a visit if you are in the area.

    Thank you so much for joining us on this park adventure. We appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to enjoy the time with us. Please remember to help us get out to many others and share this post.

    Remember to get out and live life outside your box!!!
    All images taken by Scott and Ren. ©2021crosscountytravelers