Hiker-dog and I walked the Lake Alma Trail after a good rain to see how McWater Falls was rolling. We weren’t disappointed. We’re never disappointed when walking this trail. It’s special in all seasons, but be sure to check for ticks after walking it this time of year.
McWater Falls are named after Harry McWater who had the vision for a trail around Lake Alma.
Hiker-dog and I were excited to return to McWater Falls today, but I was not prepared for the difference just two days made in the scene. Ice formations had grown, and it was a pleasure to snap a few shots. It was noticeably warmer than it was on Monday when it was 12-degrees. On Tuesday morning, the temperature dropped to 4-degrees below zero, a record for our twenty years in Alma. On Tuesday afternoon, it warmed into the low 20s, and we got another couple of inches of snow.
I enjoyed finding different perspectives around the ice formations. Hiker-dog was calm and posed with a former student who was hiking with his family.
We should hike some trails over and over again, especially when they’re in our backyards. This little 4-mile trail is a 3-minute drive from my home. On this recent morning, I had the trail to myself.
When you walk the same trail many times, you begin to notice the smaller things. Repeated walks on the same trail are never boring. They’re new every time!
Here’s a short video message I shared with students while Arkansas schools are closed due to the spread of COVID-19. I wanted to share a local trail and remind students that their vision for the future can have an impact on our community. Enjoy your trails, especially your home trails.
Yesterday’s steady rain promised potential waterfalls this morning, so Hiker-dog and I set out early. I never tire of walking the Lake Alma Trail. It’s always slightly different, depending on the light, weather, and my frame of mind. This morning, it was exactly 50-degrees, so my sometimes weather-related mood was pretty optimistic.
As we approached the creek below McWater Falls, I heard a soft flow. When we arrived, the waterfall greeted us in beautiful morning light. After Hiker-dog had her bath and a drink, I placed my camera on a tree root for a half-second exposure.
McWater Falls on the Lake Alma Trail
After picking up some trash, yes, trash right here at the waterfall, we began our walk back, picking up several other trash items on the way. I noted that some litterbugs were not adhering to the guidelines I wrote for these folks in another post. A couple of new pieces of trash had obviously been thrown off the trail, making them harder to retrieve.
As we walked back through the picnic area and across the dam, a bright morning sun beamed down its warmth, revealing hints of approaching fall colors on this trail that never disappoints.
Years ago we asked my youngest daughter about vacation ideas. This young lady is now more widely traveled than her father, but at that time she named several options that we’d already visited. When asked why she liked these places, she said, “Because we’ve been there.”
After 160 new miles on the Ouachita Trail, I understood my daughter’s feelings and looked forward to a walk on my “home trail.” The familiar Lake Alma Trail is comfortable, but continues to provide new sights or sounds. Today was no exception.
With temperatures in the low 30s, ice remained from the previous days of temperatures dipping into the teens.
Ice patterns at the edge of Little Frog Bayou fascinated me. I ended up spending some time along the shore while Hiker-dog enjoyed some leash-free time. I’m thankful for the comfort of a familiar trail and my little hiking partner’s energy. Below are a few ice patterns I noticed while on our home trail walk.
I woke at midnight to a lightning show and intense rain. I pulled back the window curtains to get a better look then went back to sleep anticipating this morning’s walk on my “home trail,” alive with flowing water.Bluffs rained down along my approach to Mc Water Falls. This was a good sign and meant I was in for a treat.McWater Falls ran strong and the water almost seemed to generate its own breeze in the hollow below the falls.Sometimes you catch yourself entranced as you look down a trail. Colors seem deeper and filled with contrast after a storm.We heard Little Frog Bayou long before arriving at the bridge. I exclaimed to Hiker-dog, “This is how you fill up a lake!” The bridge had held strong, so we crossed but not without sitting in the middle for a few minutes to appreciate the roar.
I enjoy seeing, hearing and even feeling water when hiking in the Ozarks. The best hikes tend to be the ones where you get your feet wet. Today was no exception!
I stopped this morning to admire the abstract patterns in this rock wall next to the trail. When I got back home, I decided to skim through previous photos from the Ozarks region that have an abstract quality about them. I chose to focus on photos with rock, water, and ice.
I’m proud to be published with friend Eric Scowden in the beautiful Do South Magazine. If you enjoy waterfalls, you’ll like our article that gives detailed information to find nine beauties in our area of Arkansas. The following links take you to the web version of the article.
Digital magazine format with article beginning on p 58:
We had more than six inches of rain within a 24-hour period last week. I did several out-and-back early morning hikes to have a look at water levels. With a few hours available this morning, Hiker-dog and I finally did the entire loop to see how high water levels had impacted the trail.
I was pleased that the trail from the picnic area all the way to Little Frog Bayou on the east side was in pretty good shape. McWater Falls was beautiful as always! An out-and-back on this section would be fine. See my trail description for this hike in E Fort Smith Magazine. The little bridge downstream from McWater Falls was washed out of position, but crossing on rocks is easy here.
Little bridge downstream from McWater Falls
Little Frog Bayou Bridge
Arriving at Little From Bayou, I was amazed that the bridge was still in place with only a few boards missing (nice work Joe S. and friends). Do not cross the bridge until repairs can be made.
Little Frog Bayou Bridge high water damage.
Hiker and I did not follow my advice but carefully crossed the bridge. We immediately began to wade through water along side of Little Frog Bayou. As soon as the trail turned south after the crossing and began to follow the creek I found myself approaching waist-high water. We left the trail and went to higher ground past the old well then back to the trail about sixty yards downstream where it was above water.
Historic well west of Little Frog Bayou
The next adventure was crossing the west creek (what we call Little Clear Creek). The bridge was still standing and held my weight. Water levels are usually around five feet below the bridge. Crossing the bridge involved some wading on the west side. We then sought higher ground since the trail was under water.
Little Clear Creek Bridge
I came across some nice little bluffs high up over the creek and then headed back down to the main trail. The remainder of the hike was dry crossing the dam and back to the picnic area. We both had a good workout and were pretty well soaked. Nice morning on the Lake Alma Trail!
Rock formations west of Little Clear Creek
Hiker airing out on the dam.
Dry walking next to the fishing dock below the picnic area