On the most beautiful day yet this year, 16 TrailBlazers made the long drive to Lake Ouachita State Park to hike Caddo Bend Trail. The trail begins near the Visitors' Center and goes up and down near the shore around a peninsula at Lake Ouachita. There were great views of the lake, 2 picturesque foot bridges, boulder fields and plenty of uphill to work up a sweat. 

We encountered the Happy Hikers from Little Rock and visited with them as we neared the end of the trail. Several of them said to say "hey" to Beverly and Larry, original TrailBlazers members, who met hiking with them. All of us were very happy to be out enjoying the beautiful scenery, sunshine and great company. We hope that the long, hard winter is finally over. 

Here's the sccop from Linda. It was a beautiful day to trek on top and below Buzzards Roost. Around 32 TrailBlazers under the command of Wilson hopped around on the roost and went below to explore the alcoves and thin passage ways thru the rocks. It is always exciting to hear all the ohs and ahs from the fellow Trailblazers enjoying the beauty and uniqueness of all the places we visit and explore while hiking. We all had a great leisurely lunch on the roost while enjoying the wonderful sunshine and scenic views. Then we headed over to the giant sandstone bridge. This arch is such an impressive piece of nature. Trees are budding, wild flowers are blooming, and the serviceberry trees are blooming, making a nice change in the brown woods. 

As we loaded up and headed back south we made a stop at Pam’s Grotto. After the short, steep trek up the mountain we were pleasantly surprised with water in the grotto. This is such an intriguing place with all the big boulders and a delightful waterfall. The only thing missing was our Canadian guy (not to mention his maple leaf) taking a shower. 

Afterwards some hikers stopped at another waterfall while the less ambitious went to check out the new Sonic in Clarksville!

The TrailBlazers once again made their annual weekend pilgrimage to the Buffalo River, with 27 cozying up at Buffalo Lodge and another 9 staying in the area. Weather has been rather unsettled lately, but Friday was beautiful for our traditional evening wiener roast supplemented with all kinds of goodies from our members. The evening was spent talking, watching the Royal Wedding, imbibing, doing puzzles, making plans, or whatever, but NOT in the empty hot tub - bummer! 

Saturday’s weather was iffy but we managed to have a great day anyway. Eight members rafted the Buffalo with scores of others. With owner permission a large group hiked at Home Valley Bluff, with one contingent bushwhacking down to the bottom and encountering a snake (yikes!) and another group exploring the bluff line on the top. It was a beautiful hazy view, but by the time we hiked out we were enveloped in a low-hanging cloud. In light rain this same group then tried to trek the first section of the BRT in Boxley Valley, but was turned away by a wet crossing. Next some opted to hike Smith Creek Nature Preserve and others hiked on the BRT from Ponca access. Wilson led still another band in a successful search for waterfalls. Back at the lodge we were treated to a pulled pork dinner. A big thank you to Becky and other members for advance food preparation and planning. 

Into every life a little rain must fall, but sometimes your cup runneth over and you get too much of a good thing! After getting up bright and early on Sunday, several of us headed to Triple Falls, quite spectacular, at Camp Orr. There were various plans afoot for the next adventure, but the skies opened up and we were treated to an all day rain. This put a damper on many plans, but Buffalo Lodge is really all about fun, food (not to mention drink!), and fellowship!

The TrailBlazers once again Shuffled off to Buffalo to spend the weekend near Jasper with 26 housed at Buffalo Lodge and 7 offsite. We were pleased to welcome Becky who always works so hard to organize our annual event. Friday night we had our wiener roast with all kinds of great desserts, snacks, dips, fresh fruits, homemade wine and what have you supplied by our members. We had a campfire that warded off a chill in the air, played games (poor Yours Truly got farkled!), started a puzzle, and were serenaded by our talented Katy and her guitar. 

Saturday found half of us in the Buffalo National Park hiking the Indian Rockhouse trail where we explored the cave. Later we checked out Rush ghost town where zinc used to be mined and smelted. The Energizer Bunny contingent safely tackled Indian Creek, a difficult hike that rewarded them with some spectacular scenery. In the evening we were treated to a great pulled pork dinner with various side dishes. When most of us went to bed, the puzzle was not finished but a few diehards rose to the challenge of the 1,000 tiny pieces and got it done! 

On Sunday morning after eating our traditional Big Man breakfast (a moment on the lips forever on the hips), 16 of us canoed or kayaked from Pruitt to Hasty on a beautiful day with swirling winds that required more paddling at times than floating, especially for the kayakers. The hiking contingent decided to hike the BRT from the low water bridge at Ponca to Steel Creek, but Becky reports that there were several dropouts along the way with only three going the distance – all women! (For a fee payable to Yours Truly the names of the dropouts will be published in the paper thereby sparing Bobby P the dubious distinction of most newsworthless)! We had good weather, great food, and congenial company making for a wonderful weekend!

Under gray skies and on and off rain 31 TrailBlazers headed for Jasper for our annual weekend at Buffalo Lodge. We managed to squeeze in our wiener roast Fri. night before rain drove us inside to make plans, play games, and have Mike entertain us with 3 different instruments. 

In spite of early morning rain making the weather iffy, we were ready to hike. With Round Top Mountain closed due to a mudslide, one group decided to hike Alum Cove instead. Fortunately we were able to shelter in a cave when the steady rain turned into an electrical storm. Later we hiked the Buffalo River Trail from Ponca Access, where we ran into our old friend Vicky on the low water bridge, over to Steel Creek. The other group did a more ambitious and wet hike to Bowers Hollow and were rewarded by some great waterfalls. 

Saturday night we had a great pulled pork dinner thanks to Becky cooking up a storm at home ahead of time. All in all we did a lot of eating since many people brought all kinds of great food contributions. Afterwards several of us went to the Ozark Café in Jasper to see the show and returned to the lodge to play more games. After our traditional Sun. morning Big Man, and hopefully not Big Woman, Breakfast chock full of everything, some Blazers went home, some decided to do some sightseeing, and 9 of us had a great time canoeing and kayaking the Buffalo from Steel Creek to Kyle’s Landing. The weather was cool and overcast, but there was no rain. We even trekked up to Hemmed in Hollow Falls from the river. Another great weekend at the lodge!

Fifteen hikers started Buckeye Mt/Caney Creek with substitute leader Linda but we had one hiker return to the cars. It was a beautiful day for this hike and I even ended up with a sunburned neck (yes I am a redneck). After doing this hike several times starting at Caney Creek to Buckeye Mtn., we did it in reverse and started at Buckeye Mtn. This was by far the best direction to do this hike. The views from Buckeye Mtn. were superb as we crossed over the ridge and Katy Falls was running beautifully. In this wilderness area, the trails are not marked. I made one mishap picking up the trail after leaving Katy Falls which caused everyone to wade the creek and then have to go back across again. The water was very refreshing on tired feet. All along the trail through this area was widespread with wildflower greenery popping up but not all in bloom yet. The wildflowers that were blooming were lovely. People hiking this area in the next weeks will see a spectacular array of wildflowers in great abundance. As we made the hike back to Caney Creek trailhead, we were able to rock hop and not change to water shoes every time. Martha had some nifty water boots and she was a great help assisting hikers across the creek. This 9.5-mile hike and the travel time makes for a long day but being out in nature makes for a great day. Get Up Get Out –Hike Arkansas!

Sixteen TrailBlazers were champing at the bit to get back on the trail after we only managed to get in one hike, a TrailBlazer first, during the January Operation Deep Freeze Arkansas. Some of us were beginning to wonder if we had become candidates for The Biggest Loser! The good news is that we had at least four newcomers to fill out our ranks. 

We headed down to the Ouachitas to Brushy Creek, but we hiked it a little differently than usual. We went up the mountain and came back down, but did not start out on the section where there are several creek crossings. We were concerned about creek levels, and nobody was particularly anxious to do any wading in water shoes in a chilly creek. Rock hopping in boots is one thing, cold wet feet is another! We started down the road, crossed the bridge, and then started up the wooden staircase leading to the trail to the top. 

It was cool when we started but we soon warmed up on the upward trek as we huffed and puffed our way up – OK, only some of us did some heavy breathing. We took a side trip over to a high ridge for lunch. It was a scenic spot, but windy, so we had definitely cooled down by the time we got back on the trail. A really neat sight as we finished the hike was the water cascading in the creek. Yours Truly risked life, limb, and her knobby knees to scramble down the steep bank for some photos, and she is not entirely happy with them. Oh, well, it is the thought that counts! Let’s hope for good weather for next week.