Cedar Falls Overlook

Good morning, my friends. We made good use of our morning yesterday. Rain was expected around lunch time, and so we wasted no time getting outside for a walk and to see the waterfall. Of course, we got Smitty outside before we left. He saw the biggest woofie walking nearby, but he held himself together, heroic cat that he is.

After that, we used the map provided by the park to navigate to the Cedar Falls Overlook. Along the way, we learned a little more about this park. For one thing, it was Arkansas's first state park.

There was a nice boardwalk hike out to see the falls, and we were told we could hike down to the pool below from another location. First, let's get the rules straight. There are the many ways you could die out here today. And for goodness sakes...no rappelling. How many times do we have to go over this?

It was a wheel-chair accessible boardwalk trail to the overlook.

I noticed this vine making it's way up the truck of a tree.

If I were a squirrel, I'd be so on top of that hole as a nice place to make a home.

These are the kinds of trees growing in this forest.

This place reminded us very much of Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio, geology-wise. In addition to forest, we were surrounded by huge rocks.

This sign gives a couple of examples of the kinds of rocks we might see.

This is a good example of the turtle rock.

Here's an example of carpet rock.

A little more about the geology here...

And apparently, there are fossils, although we didn't keep sharp enough eyes for that. We'll hike again today, and look more closely.

The walk to the overlook was short.

Here's a little information about what you're seeing.

Backing up a little bit, we were surrounded by forest.

Turning and looking to my left, this is what I saw.

We could hear the creek running, and we thought we could continue on down the trail, possibly to the bottom of the waterfall. Stay with me, my friends. Don't go wandering off.

Look at the holes pecked in this tree trunk. I'm assuming this is the work of woodpeckers. There are several different kinds living here.

The image below shows one of the overhangs commonly seen here. The indigenous peoples used these as shelters.

It was an easy path.

It led us down to Cedar Creek. It was cool and peaceful here. Looking to my right I saw this.

Looking left, I saw this.

Looking across the creek, I could see a dogwood in bloom...at least, I think it's a dogwood.

And water is always more interesting when you can see and hear it. Here's a little video I took with my phone.

I like trails like this where the tree roots form natural stair steps.

These stone steps were probably cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

For sure, they built these overlooks and stone stairways.

From there, we decided to go in search of the path that led to the pool below the waterfall. It's always impressive to stand at the bottom of a roaring waterfall looking up. As it turns out, the trailhead was located behind Mather Lodge. This is the main structure in an area where one can find cabins to rent. There is also a restaurant inside. It's named for Stephen Mather, a noted conservationist and a key figure in Arkansas's park system.

To the left of where I was standing was a covered breezeway, leading to an area behind the lodge.

My phone tells me this is spiderwort, or tradescantia, if you must know it's snotty botanical name. Pretty.

Here's another little tuft of it. The wind was blowing, and so I didn't get as sharp a focus.

On the back side of the lodge, we were treated to this expansive view. We could see rain falling in the distance.

We were giving careful consideration to this trail. We were informed it was steep and difficult. And wait...no alcoholic beverages? Where's the fun in that?

And they seemed pretty darned emphatic with these warnings. 

It was soooooo tempting. The worst of the trail appeared to be at the beginning, and from there, we could see switchbacks leading down. And, hey...these kids did it. How hard can it be?

Well, with rain coming, cooler heads prevailed, and we decided not to take the trail. Instead, we turned around and looked again at the lodge. Lunch was sounding pretty good.

Walking inside, it was a grand place. This sign was hanging in the foyer. I've cropped the text in the two images that follow to make it easier to read.

And look at this incredible dining room. The CCC built things to last.

We sat looking at this view while we ate our lunch.

On the back of the menu was printed this story of how the park got it's name of "Petit Jean."

When we finished lunch, I was able to pick up a refrigerator magnet...

And my first shot glass of the trip. Yay!

We know it's been a good day when I can find a refrigerator magnet and a shot glass.

It started raining as we walked to the truck. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the RV with kitties on our laps. Today, I have my eyes on another hike on the Seven Hollows Trail. Along the way we're promised ". . .a series of small canyons under the canopy of a dense hardwood forest. Unique features such as a natural stone arch, rock shelters, a box canyon and signs of prehistoric bluff-dwelling Native Americans add to the experience . . . ." It's 4.5 miles round-trip and rated as "moderate" in difficulty. It sounds doable even for us old folks. The weather has improved, and so we're looking forward to getting out and enjoying the park some more. 

All that needs to happen now is for me to get off the computer and make some breakfast. After that, we'll be on our way. Lace up your hiking boots, my friends. Let's go for a walk.


Barbara said...

In general, when you travel, you get into a different reality and are able to more accurately reflect on your ordinary life. Hiking does that for me. ~ John Mackey

dgs said...

Very interesting and beautiful State Park. I've seen a lot of Arkansas, but never have I ever been to this State Park. My loss, but now on my bucket list. I need to get a plant ID App. What one are you using? Congratulations on finding an Arkansas State Park shot glass and magnet. Way cool.

Lyndsey said...

Very beautiful State Park and the sound of the water was very soothing. A shot glass and a fridge magnet is a win. The history was very interesting to read. I love when they give lots of information about a place. Poor Smitty, trying to have a quiet walk and spotting a large woofie. Missy doesn't bark or chase cats but she gets upset when they hiss at her.

karen said...

Spiderwort. Weird name for such a pretty plant. Comes in several shades of purple, white and some pinks/yellow.
Nice park.
Thank you Smitty for putting in a heroic appearance. You done good.

Kate said...

Arkansas is such a pretty state. Looks like you've found some wonderful places to hike. Eureka Springs in the northern part of the state is one of our "last minute want to go someplace" destinations.

piecefulwendy said...

Glad you didn't take on that hike with rain coming. That would not have been fun, but I'm sure it would've been pretty. You discovered a neat park to explore, and had a nice view for your meal.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I love your history lessons that accompany the views. Sounds as though you made a wise decision after reading all those dire warnings and opted to be safe.