Old Home stead in Lost Valley
Tyler Bend on a foggy morning.
On Tuesday we packed up and mosied on down the road about 50 miles to the Buffalo River at the Tyler Bend Park, which is near Saint Joe and about an hour from Harrison, Arkansas. The roads here rival the mountain curves in the Sierras but even narrower. Plan on an hour to drive 25 miles. The last county was dry, so it was imperative that we stop at the first liquor store on the way to stock up on wine and whatever, because the next county was also dry. The liquor store was just that a liquor store. Not much else was available and it reminded me of a bunker. There were few windows and one door. We contributed cold hard cash to the economy because they didn't take plastic. The premium wine was from California, and I ended up purchasing Franzia box wine for $14.00 which is about the same price as in Nevada or California. Maybe they don't tax as heavily here.
Tyler Bend is a bend in the river. The park is really nice. There are no hook ups so we are dry camping, which is fine with me. What is really nice about this park is that the spaces are very far a part so that if your neighbor just can't stand the muggy humidity and heat and turns on the generator to use the AC, no worries.. you can barely hear the generator. There is lots of grass for Sadie which is great. I'm still cleaning out mud from the last place. I'm told the showers are nice but I haven't used them. Hey, for $6.00 a night with water and a dump near by who needs to use the public showers when the showers in the rig will do just fine.
The river has risen about 18 ft due to all of the rain and the ranger advised that the river is "closed". I'm not sure how you close a river, but that's what they said. Apparently, if you decided to kayak and get into trouble they won't rescue you if the river is closed. The weather has been nice the last few days but no Kayaking due to all of the debris and very fast moving water. I think some one said they thought the river was flowing at 5-6 knots at least. Also, since we are down river a little, we have to be aware of what is about to come down this way.
Like all good WINs we have entertained ourselves with scenic drives (at least gas is reasonable...$2.19 or less) exploring the area and hiking. Arkansas, is full of back roads, scenic waterfalls, creeks, rivers, farms, and old buildings. We took a drive to Lost Valley. Lost Valley is not too lost because the Garmin knew where it was and would "recalculate" every time we made a wrong turn or a turn to explore. We caravaned with several of the WINs. Some of the cars were loaded with Kayaks on top in the hopes that we may find a put-in place, but in reality we were just to lazy to take them off the car. Also it's a good way to spot each other. We discovered Arkansas has a Grand Canyon. Its not quite the same as the GC on Arizona, but pretty impressive and the locals are pretty proud of it. We had lunch at the Cliff House.. not the one in San Francisco but the one near Lost Valley hanging over the cliff of the Grand Canyon. The food was good and the price much better than San Francisco. The photos of the Arkansas Grand Canyon don't do the area justice. Everything is very green and lush..and of course wet and the bugs are starting to come out.
The Lost Valley is a campground with an abundance of hiking trails, water falls, creeks and caverns. I almost felt like I was in Hanna, HI but with different flora fauna. The water falls are flowing abundantly and the wildflowers are still out . Everything is steamy and humid. The hikes to the waterfalls are short and the trails nice and mossy and slippery.. but beautiful.
Eden falls and Silver Creek
Tyler Bend is right on the Buffalo River and our campsite is only about 100 yards from the river but the brush and trees are so thick that you have to take a special trail to get to the river. There are no social trails from the campsites down to the river because the brush is so thick with poison ivy, ticks, and chiggers. Sadie has enjoyed her morning walks, but she has to stay on the leash while we are near the river because the ranger has advised the water moccasins are little unhappy about the river rising and have headed for higher ground. The ranger didn't mix words about the dangers of the fast river and the nasty creatures ready to jump in your kayak. I wouldn't want to mix words with the ranger either. She was a pistol packen momma with 4 clips and at least one taser and she was suppose to be the nicer Ranger. The other female ranger didn't "carry" but was suppose to be meaner. She was the collector of fees so we all ponyied up pretty quickly. Actually, they were pretty nice...but I imagine could be intimidating.
Some of the WINs have had enough foresight to bring some wood so we have had a nice campfires and there hasn't been rain to dampen them in the evening..at least so far. The moon and stars were very clear the other night and the sound of the tree frogs and night birds made for a really pleasant late spring evening.
We are scheduled to stay here for a few more days. The forecast isn't very promising, but its a great group and we can always find something to do. A few of us may take "WIN" break and head up to Branson, MO to find some city action....dancing, singing, and shows, in a few days. In fact a few left today to find greener pastures, but I think all they will find is wet pastures.
The Cliff House, a great place to eat
The Arkansas Grand Canyon
A lesson in recognizing poison ivy
Check back in a few days for more up dates. You might check my previous two blogs as I finally found the video of kayaking the "great rapids " and have added more photos.