Ozark, Arkansas (Again)
7/27/17 to 7/31/17
Thursday 7/27/17 Today we headed back to Ozark, Arkansas. There are a couple reasons why we are going back. The first reason is that last time we were there I contacted an ATV Tour in the area. We wanted to ride ATVs in the Ozark Mountains but he was booked up for the days we were there. And the second reason is that we really enjoyed the Ozarks and the campground we stayed at in Ozark, Arkansas. This was the Aux Arc park that was right next to the Arkansas River. We left Mountain View, AR around 10:30. The trip was only 153 miles but took us 3½ hours because of the twisty back roads and hills. At Aux Arc Park we got the site right next to the one we had before. A nice big, shaded site. We booked it for four nights. Once we set up camp we ran into town for gas and dinner.
Friday 7/28/17 A week and a half ago we made reservations for a five hour ATV tour near Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. I found Schluterman's ATV Tours from TripAdvisor and every review was a perfect five stars. Last night it started raining hard and I was a little worried that the trip would be canceled. It was still raining when we left at 8:00 AM but according to the weatherman it was supposed to clear up around 9:00. Well, we got lucky today. It did clear up and there was just enough rain to dampen all the trails and keep down the dust. There was a total of five people on this tour. Rose, me and a family of three from Texas. The young girl rode with her father and the mother rode with the owner (Kevin) in his side by side. Both Rose and I had our own ATV. Kevin was a long time resident of this area and knew a lot of its history. After a couple of minutes of instructions on how to operate the ATV's, we took off. This whole area is full of ATV trails and logging roads. We started off riding about 30 minutes on a gravel logging road and then turned off onto the ATV trails. The ATV's were very easy to operate. They all had automatic transmissions and all you had to use was the gas and brakes. We were all in a line following the owner in his side by side but we stayed far enough apart to enjoy the ride. These ATVs were four-wheel drive with high and low range and could go anywhere. Our first stop was at a water crossing called The Cascading Stairs. This was the only place for the locals to cross the river for many years. Because this area often flooded the forest service eventually built a wooden bridge just downstream. Our second stop was at an old school house and cemetery. We took a break and Kevin told us stories of the people that lived in this area a long time ago. Our third stop was at an old farm. The owner of the farm had all types of old farm equipment on display along the road. Our fourth stop was at Buzzards Rock which is a high point in the park with a great view. Again Kevin pointed out different areas and told us the history of the area. We took a break here and had our lunch while enjoying the view.
After more off-road trails we stopped at the bottom of a huge rock overhang. We walked around for a while and then headed back to the trails. The tour was a great mix of logging roads, skinny trails through the forest, wet and dry creek crossings, up and down hills, around ponds and through mud holes. The five hours flew by and we enjoyed every minute. Check out the pictures and videos below.
On the way back to the campground we drove through Paris. Paris Arkansas that is, with a population of 3,500. So when you are in Paris you have to get your picture in front of the Eiffel Tower. The city has a small park in the middle of town.
Saturday 7/29/17 Today was a "do nothing day". Well, almost nothing. We ran into the town of Ozark to wash the truck. It was pretty dirty and dusty from the dirt roads in our last campground at Mountain View, Arkansas.
Sunday 7/30/17 After the rain last Friday the temperature and humidity really dropped in this area. When we got up today it was only 71°. A great day for a hike. We headed back to Mount Magazine which is about a 40-minute drive from the campground. When we were there the other day we saw a couple markers for trails. Researching online we decided to take the North Rim Trail. The North Rim Trail starts at the visitors center and follows the north rim of the mountain. A short spur connects it to The Mossback Ridge Trail which creates a loop back to the visitors center for a total of five miles. It was a very nice hike through the forest with some great views. Plus we only ran into a couple spider webs. We took a break around noon to eat our lunch and finished the trail in less than three hours. The only negative part of the hike was that all the creek crossings were dried up. It would have been nice to see some running water.
On the way down we stopped at Cove Lake. We drove through the recreation area and campground and then took a short walk along the beautiful lake.
Monday 7/31/17 We just love this part of the country and hate to leave but all good things must come to an end. This is as far west as we are going to get this year. Today we are packing up and heading to Crowley's Ridge State Park in Paragould, Arkansas.