Friday, May 20, 2016

Ozarks Rambling

Friday saw us rambling through the Ozarks, in and around the Ozark National Forest to the north of Russellville where we are staying. The plan was to hit first the Bayou Bluff and then Alum Cove Natural Bridge. The problem was that without good maps and knowledge of the area we did not realize that both trails, despite being just over one mile loops, were pretty rugged, and between Sharon’s poor vision and my bad knee, we were able to walk only short portions of both trails.

This portion of the Bayou Bluff was a gentle walk in the woods, it would get rougher once we got further into the site

Initially the site was developed as a Depression era CCC camp, these are the old tent cabins, like in Yosemite

Whitewater along the Illinois Bayou

A couple of the scenic vistas. Often there is no place to get out and take pictures of some of the more spectacular views

The trail down to the natural bridge got really rugged really quick, just beyond here

So with time to kill, we ended up driving a spectacular, but long, loop along Scenic Byways 7 and 21 with assists from highways 16, 62 and 65. It was a lot of driving, but the roads were great and, feeling badly that she had not been able to walk more, Sharon let me drive at about 7/10 (as opposed to the usual 4/10) on the way home. The roads were not just scenic, but beautifully engineered. In about 250 miles I came across just one reverse camber decreasing radius curve. For the rest of it I was limited mostly by my skills and conditions like traffic.

We finished up the day with dinner at the Old South Restaurant which was exactly what you would think from the name. This is not a retro diner, it is a diner. The fried chicken was to die for. Nothing fancy about the pecan pie, but good. Sharon’s fish was not the sort of thing they do, good but not super.

On Saturday we will go to south to the Ouchita National Forest, Mount Nebo and Mount Magazine and, hopefully, choose our trails more carefully.

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