Ozark – St. Francis National Forest

Why is it we never hear anything about Arkansas? That question prompted me to looking into the state. And I may have discovered why no one talks about it much.

I’ve never had so much trouble writing a blog post before. I just wasn’t a fan of Arkansas. There is no southern hospitality. In fact, there isn’t much hospitality at all, southern or otherwise. Arkansas just isn’t set up for tourists. Maybe it’s a leave-me-alone-Ozarks thing, but Arkansas isn’t very friendly.

Getting There

We ended up driving 12 hours to get to Arkansas because there isn’t really a better way to get there from Michigan. If we flew from Michigan, we’d go to Denver first, then Memphis, and then have to rent a car for a 5 hour drive. So we just drove the whole way.

Ozark – St. Francis National Forest

The Ozarks are famous for being full of people who don’t want to be found. There is a sinister air of mystery in the Ozark National Forest, which we discovered when we decided to take a random road that went past a cemetery (despite us being far from any town), a makeshift outdoor church, and the road kept going and going. Looking at a map later, I discovered countless other dirt roads spreading throughout the Ozark mountains, which simply dead end in the forest.

Getting gas in the Ozarks was an adventure. We pulled up and an older man got up from a bench outside and offered to fill our car up. I went inside where I was told the man is bored and likes to fill up people’s cars. He doesn’t work there. He filled up the car and I went inside to tell the cashier how much we owed because the gas pump was analog with rolling numbers, and she couldn’t know unless she went out and looked. My mom offered the man a tip but he got offended and refused. We waved to him as we left but he turned his head away from us.

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Lost Valley Trail

I haven’t been to many national forests and I assumed there would be a visitor’s center or something. I didn’t plan too many things because I thought there would be signs or maps or something when we got there. That was my fault. That was on me.

I did look up the Lost Valley Trail, however. It is on Hwy 43 and marked with a small sign. It started out pretty easy and then got more and more rustic as we went on.

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We came to one of the few signs in the Ozarks

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We decided to check out the hemmed-in-hollow first, something I had no idea was a thing. But when we got there, there is no other way to describe it. It was a hemmed-in-hollow. It was basically a cave open at both ends and surrounded by high walls. A hollow that was hemmed in.

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We went through, trying not to slip on the rocks, and ended up climbing over boulders on the other side of the cave opening. We eventually turned back and climbed the stairs to see the waterfall.

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Next we went to the waterfall up some stairs.

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The waterfall was cool because you could actually reach it. Most waterfalls in the United States are cordoned off. This waterfall wasn’t roaring by any means, but it was nice to be able to actually feel the water, something I’ve never experienced before.

A group of youths went off the trail and hiked to the top of the waterfall and played some makeshift baseball with a rock and a stick. It was nice to see.

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Scenic 27

After the Lost Valley Trail, we decided to drive through the Ozarks on Scenic 27. It reminded me a less twisty West Virginia. There were several scenic overlooks that just added to the creepiness. You could hide in there and no one would ever find you.

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2 responses to “Ozark – St. Francis National Forest

  1. Interesting and accurate take on Arkansas. I spent some serious time in the Ozarks in my early twenties since I lived in Missouri. I loved how beautiful it was, however, the people are almost scary.

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    • I didn’t know you lived in Missouri! You’ll have to tell me about the best places to go because I want to make a true trip out of it.

      And yeah, the people there were…different. Very guarded and suspicious.

      Like

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