I’ve read about the waterfall in Devil’s Canyon, but today was not a waterfall hunting day. We were merely scouting the driving directions and having a look around so that when the water is flowing strongly in the future, we can get to the area quickly. I made it to the first drain and ended up spending all of my available time exploring a small hollow as I followed the water downhill.
Continuing a short distance downstream, we came to this little grotto and waterfall. The large waterfall this area is known for is in another section of Devil’s Canyon (close by air, but distant by foot).
At this point, I thought I’d seen the scenic features of this little side-valley, but the randomly placed car-sized boulders drew me ever downward. I quickly came to a reflective pool and realized little beauty-surprises were hidden around every boulder.
Below is a wider view of the same area showing boulders stacked above.
Continuing downstream, I heard flowing water but couldn’t see where the cascade was until I arrived next to an A-shaped opening.
A young man who I’d seen running the jeep road on the edge of the canyon reappeared and exclaimed at how beautiful this little area was. I introduced myself and discovered that he worked for the US Forest Service. He’d been helping with a fire in Tennessee and was now headed back home to Oregon. After our short visit, I thought how easy it is to meet fascinating people on the trails of Arkansas.
While taking a photograph of the little cascade through the leaning A-shaped rocks, I heard a commotion close by and instinctively covered my head. Hiker’s 65-pound frame had dislodged some small rocks causing her to glissade down a slope, bringing rocks and dirt with her. She ran over next to me and stayed close by for a few minutes.
I needed to watch my time to allow for the uphill climb out of this little valley. The way these boulders caught my attention, it would be easy to remain until after dark.
We spent some more time at the little grotto on our way back upstream. I ate some dry bread I’d packed as a nod to John Muir, who’s birthday was a few days before on April 21st. Born in 1883, he continues to influence thinking about the outdoors and conservation today. He was known to toss a dry loaf of bread in a sack and explore the mountains for several days…the original ultra-light backpacker.
As we continued upstream, I noticed this scene I walked past earlier. Its beauty wasn’t lost on Hiker because she hopped right in after I took this photo.
As we crossed the creek that feeds into the hollow, I noticed the abstract patterns created by shallow water and sunlight. I couldn’t resist capturing the intricate dancing lines that flowed at my feet.
It had been a beautiful hike down this small stream and back up. Today I learned again that you can’t predict the beauty you might find in the eroded valleys of the Ozark Mountains. I was already missing this place as we passed the overlooks on the edge of the canyon. We will return another day!