We spent a few weekends ago with family and friends in the Buffalo National River Park. We rented a really neat cabin that was dead center to all of the elk action and easy accessible to some hiking trails.
We drove down on Friday afternoon and spent the evening relaxing. Around dusk, we went out to watch the elk grazing in the valley of the mountains.
Saturday, the grandparents watch the kiddos and us “adults” went on a couple of hiking trails. The first one was the Whitaker Point/ Hawksbill Crag trail. This is not a trail for small children…just a heads up. It is on the edge of a cliff. The boys (and Sara!) were scaring us enough as it was by getting too close to the edge.
The view was breathtaking though! It was overcast and was misting a little. I could have sat there all day and enjoyed the quiet.
As we were leaving, an older couple…and obvious hikers extroidionaire…suggested that we try either the Magnolia Falls or Lost Valley trails next.
We headed back to the cabin after the Hawksbill Crag hike to eat some lunch. We rested around for a while and then we drove into Ponca to visit the Elk Center. It has a small little museum attached to it with a Kiddie Corner that Asa loved. He had such a good time checking everything out.
The grandparent’s took the babes back to the cabin while we decided to try the Lost Valley trail. We were not disappointed! It was almost as awe inspiring as Hawksbill Crag, but in a completely different way.
At the Natural Bridge, Tyler and Bray scaled the waterfall and crawled through the cave. Sara, ever the adventurist, followed right behind them. My mom and dad said that this was an easy trail so I just had on a pair of Chacos and sweats. Not exactly conducive to splunking!
We ran into another adventurous older couple while we were at this point. They hung back with me and thought the boys were crazy for going into that cave. I walked with them for a ways until we ran into Sara and the guys on the other side.
After moving on from the Natural Bridge, we came to Eden Falls. It was mostly dried up while we were there. Just thin rivulets of water were running down the rock. I can’t wait to see it when it is going full blast!
We continued on the try and get to the “big” cave that the couple from Hawksbill Crag was telling us about. When we finally made it up the nearly vertical incline, we came upon it and a handful of people at the entrance. Everyone had been too nervous to go in and find the opening that was supposed to lead to a room inside the caves. Of course, the boys take off…armed with an iPhone flashlight to explore. One of the attendees was armed with an actual flashlight so that helped a little.
I overheard the older gentleman from before telling the others sitting there that if they waited a minute that there were a few guys behind him (Tyler and Bray) that they could use for guinea pigs. Apparently, his feelings were justified.
I will give him this though…he was right in the middle of it and followed them in.
Sara and I hung back on this one. We visited with a lady from Florida while they did their exploring. The guys finally found the opening that they were looking for and had to climb on their hands and knees before it opened up into the bigger room. Bray said that it was probably 20 foot wide with a 40 foot ceiling which housed a waterfall. He said it was spectacular!
We are planning to go back and I am going to dress appropriately. I am kicking myself for not being able to go in as it is!
Sunday, we fixed a big breakfast, packed up, cleaned the cabin, and took off home to get ready for the work week.
I think my husband said it best: