6/1 from Buffalo River to Little Rock
With an early start, our morning hike to Eden Falls in Lost Valley was cool and quiet save for the bird ruckus. By the time we had packed up camp and driven down the road to Jasper the heavy air and heat was upon us. Looking for shade and someplace for a snack we walked along the river at a park in Jasper. The cool of the water was tempting but the murk kept us on the shore, so after a snack we ran for the air conditioning Rodney had to offer.
Part of our mission was to find the site of the long closed Li'l Abner theme park, Dogpatch, USA. We knew from various sources that it was along highway 7 north of the Buffalo River, and off we went seeking an opportunity to take a dunk in the cool river along the way. We crossed the river and could see an inviting landing below the bridge where several folks were floating in the green water. Pulling off the road we got out and on foot searched for a path down to the beckoning water. Gah! too steep. Foiled and stumbling in the heat I started Rodney again and took a chance on a gravel road leading off the turnout where we had parked. The road had an intriguing sign pointing the way to Shaddox Cemetery. The road narrowed and led us further into the forest. We started to worry that we'd never be able to turn the car around but after seeing another teasing sign we just had to follow the path. At the end of the road was a well kept clearing in the forest where several families had chosen to bury their loved ones for more than a century.A fine quiet place in the woods to rest. We could see why the family names and dates stretched so far back and why they continued to keep the place up.
After a short visit with the residents of the cemetery we turned back up the gravel road to a low water crossing we had passed. We figured that was our best bet for a soak in a creek. The water was too cold to (and shallow) to get all the way in, but sitting on the gravel in a shady patch with wet legs was a very welcome relief.The gravel road turned out to be rather busier than we expected, and a few trucks passed where Rodney was parked next to the road. The drivers would see the licence plate, us with our butts in the creek, shake their heads, and drive on, "nutty Californians." Nice thing about Arkansas, lots of people clearly thought we were a little loopy but their response was always friendly amusement, never disparaging frowns.
Getting back into dry clothes was lots of fun. The usual gleaming white naked butt struggling to get into pants next to the car while giant black ants with huge mandibles skittered around threatening to get between the toes of my bare feet. Just up the road we did indeed find Dogpatch, USA, but I will leave that part of the adventure to mrs. a-go-go. Look for her description in the following post.
After getting some late lunch it was time to move on south and east. Knowing we were expected in Memphis for dinner the next day, we figured it would be prudent to get to Little Rock for an overnight in a motel. For a short driving tour of the Ozarks, highway 7 from Jasper to Russellville is a fine choice. The road climbs up out of the river valley and presents an excellent view at several points.Then heading south the highway rolls through the Ozark National Forest. Somewhere in that stretch we started seeing sign after sign singing the praises of Booger Hollow, "just 7 miles on the left!" This worked up mrs. a-go-go's shutter finger and we scanned the road side for the promised land. At last, there it was in a clearing on our left, Booger Hollow! Oh, it's closed. It was good for a few pics anyhow, but none of the promised gift shop trinkets.We left the Ozarks and sped east to Little Rock, but I know we will have to come back. From our little taste of it we are hankerin' to spend a month exploring more of this corner of Arkansas.