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Monday, August 13, 2012

An Arkansas Birthday

Hotel Seville,  Harrison, Arkansas
George and I went to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas from August 4-8  to celebrate my big 70th birthday.   We had never visited that area of Arkansas ---and were really looking forward to hiking to several new waterfalls and also visiting the Buffalo National River area...

But,  to be honest,  we knew ahead of time that Mother Nature has not been kind to Arkansas this summer.   So--what we found was not totally unexpected.  However,   it is truly much DRIER and much HOTTER than either of us thought it would be.  I felt as if I had walked into Autumn with all of the brown grass and fallen leaves---but knew better when we felt those temperatures over 100 degrees....  Yipes!!!!

However,  since George and I make the BEST of all situations,   we found alot to do during those days ---and we had a great time making memories together.  Today,  I'll share a few of our memories to you!!!

Above is a picture of  the lobby area of the historical hotel where we stayed,   HOTEL SEVILLE (in Harrison, Arkansas).   We love old hotels.  This one was built in 1929.  IF you want more information on this hotel,  click  HERE.

Be sure to click on the photos in order to see them larger.



We visited one of my old stomping grounds,   Fairfield Bay, Arkansas.   I have great memories from that area since I owned a time-share condo there ---and visited there for many years during Christmas week, when my sons were younger,  and when we lived in Texas.  I enjoyed sharing this area with George --since he had never been here.  The picture above was taken from the marina at Fairfield Bay ---looking at Greers Ferry Lake and Sugar Loaf Mountain.




George and Betsy at Blanchard Springs, Arkansas
We left  Fairfield Bay and headed north to the community of Mountain View and on to see the creek and waterfall at Blanchard Springs,  which is in the Ozark Mountains.  Blanchard Springs is known for its caverns --but since we were on a time constraint, we decided to only visit the waterfall/creek there.   The dam was constructed in the 1930's by the CCC.  This dam forms the three-acre Mirror Lake which is fed by the 58 degree water from Blanchard Springs.   We were glad to see water here,  and stayed quite awhile  --both here and along Mill Creek.




Three Springs Waterfall,  Arkansas
We took a short hike off of Highway 341 near Big Flat, Arkansas to see one more waterfall,  also a spring-fed falls.   This waterfall  (actually there were 2 of them --but only one had water) is named Three Springs Cascade and Falls.  We'd love to come back here during the rainy season--and when it is not so hot.  There are MANY waterfalls in this area for us to visit sometime.




On another day,  we visited the BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER area, at one of several ranger/visitor stations. This was the first National River to be designated in the USA.    From the Tyler Bend area , we hiked to an old homestead and then on to some overlooks above the river.    If you want more information about the Buffalo National River,  click HERE.  The picture above was taken at the Sod and Ida Mae Collier Homestead built in 1928.   Here's more info about this area:  click HERE.




After checking out the homestead,  we hiked to an overlook above the Buffalo National River,  shown in the photo above.  Due to the drought,  the ranger said that the river is the lowest she can remember in the 15 years she has worked there.




After leaving Tyler Bend, we headed west to Hasty,   and when we crossed the river,  we stopped and took some pictures...  I enjoyed seeing the rocky bluffs above the river... You can note also the algae growing in the shallow water.




We got to the LOST VALLEY area (south of Ponca) ---and took a hike to check out a natural bridge.  There was not one single drop of water in Clark Creek ---so we decided not to continue on to the waterless waterfall in this area.   But---this was a great area and hike ---and we hope to return there sometime.  For more information about Lost Valley,  click HERE

One good thing about no water was that George could climb all around that Natural Bridge area.   He had a good time---and I enjoyed staying below taking pictures!!!! ha




Sunrise on Gaither Mountain, Arkansas on August 7, 2012
There are only a VERY few things which will get me up at 5:30 in the mornings... One of those things is a beautiful sunrise... We had read that driving up on Gaither Mountain (near Harrison) to see the sunrise was well-worth the trip.  AND---we were so glad that we did it that next morning.  Here is a picture of the sunrise that morning on top of Gaither Mountain.




The  last day we drove on Scenic Highway 7 --and got some gorgeous mountain view pictures.  The photo above was taken near the "Grand Canyon of the Ozarks" ....  In order to get more information about this scenic byway,  click HERE.




Finally,  here's one last photo of George and me ---taken along Mill Creek in the Blanchard Springs area.  This Blanchard Springs area was the highlight of the week for us I think.   Part of that reason was because it was my 70th birthday (August 5, 2012) --and I was with the most wonderful man in the world!!!!

Thanks to my sweetheart for making my Birthday Trip so wonderful!!!!!  AND---thanks to ALL of YOU for all of my birthday wishes.  Between Blogger/Facebook/emails/cards/calls/text messages, etc.-----I received TONS of greetings.  They all meant so much to me.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Hugs and Blessings,
Betsy