Friday, December 4, 2015

Walking a Goat Trail

Thanksgiving day dawned with a light mist falling for awhile and then pausing while a thick bank of fog moved in. Later in the evening, the rain began falling and would continue for the rest of our stay non-stop. In fact, it was forecasted to be raining three days after we left for home. But since there was a pause, we took advantage and hiked down the mountain to what if referred to as Big Bluff. The Buffalo River seen below has carved out a sheer bluff of rock with a small indentation about 2/3rds up the face or about 300 vertical feet above the river. This small indentation seen above is called the Goat Trail I assume because only goats would feel comfortable walking across it. In most places, there are some scrub pine trees clinging to the edge that would in theory stop someone falling from the trail but in other areas, there is nothing but air between you and the river 300 feet below.

Over the years I have written lots of blog posts on this place and how special it is to me. Every time I always take pictures trying to get a unique view that I haven't photographed before. This time was more challenging since the scrub pines that were only a foot tall when I first walked the goat trail more than 30 years ago are now quite tall and somewhat blocking the view. I'm not sure what caused them to be so short 30 years ago but the only two theories we could come up with was that they were wipes out by a giant rock slide years earlier or that the cedars have just invaded the area in recent decades after being introduced somehow.


Bob said...

Beautiful photos. I have only seen the bluffs from down below while floating the river. This inspires me to do what you have done. Since I'm new to your blog, I don't know how your family came to have the connection to Arkansas (my native state).

Kelly said...

Gorgeous (if not heart-stopping) views!

I've not heard of the "goat trails", though decades ago I drove the "pig trails" to reach Fayetteville.

Ed said...

Bob - It's a long story but the abbreviated version is that my father took a NOLS Leadership course with a fellow who knew about the Buffalo River and invited my father on a trip in the early 70's. My father fell in love and has been coming back ever since bringing us along. After years of camping during our visits, my parents started searching for land to build a cabin and came across a newly built cabin and land that had to be liquidated due to financial difficulties. They bought it in the mid 80's and that has been our base camp ever since.

Kelly - It really is a beautiful spot and about three and a half miles downhill from our cabin. We walk there quite often.

sage said...

Great views from the top--don't think about such heights in the middle part of the country

Leigh said...

Your Buffalo River posts bring back wonderful memories. Once upon a time I lived in NW Arkansas, and have taken overnight canoe trips on the Buffalo. I love the terrain there and I love that land. I wish I never had to leave. Thanks for the amazing photos.

Ed said...

Sage - I'm sure there are other lesser known National Parks but I'm guessing this one has to be in the top ten list of lesser known.

Leigh - I would stay there all the time myself if I didn't have to earn a living. If you live in the area where my parents own land you are one of three things, extremely poor, retired or live there only seasonally. There are not many that don't fall into one of those categories.