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Exploring Arkansas August 2008

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Indian Creek Canyon, Ouachita River Float, Mt. Nebo Mountain Biking
It's one of the most rugged and treacherous terrains of all the Ozarks-Indian Creek Canyon just south of the upper portion of the Buffalo National RiveRiver Hiking the canyon is recommended for experienced hikers only. We'll take you through it and show you all the spectacular sights. Then it's off on the Ouachita to re live the Hunter, Dunbar expedition with a group of Ouachita Baptist University students. Episode closes out with mountain biking atop Mt. Nebo near Dardanelle.

TRANSCRIPT

INDIAN CREEK CANYON NEAR THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER CONTAINS SOME OF THE MOST RUGGED AND DANGEROUS TERRAIN IN THE OZARKS AND THE MOST INJURIES SA BEEN REPORTED. IT CONTAINS SOME SPECTACULAR SITES AND WE'LL SHOW THEM ON THIS SHOW. THEN WE'LL FLOAT THE OUACHITA RIVER WITH A GROUP OF OUACHITA STUDENTS AS THEY RETRACE THE HUNTER/DUNBAR EX EXPEDITION. THEN NOW LET'S HEAD DOWN INTO INDIAN CREEK CANYON.

I'VE BEEN ON WHAT I ONLY THOUGHT WERE  HARD HIKES BEFORE BECAUSE THIS ONE TAKES A CAKE. A CAKE WALK THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT. WE MADE THE EXPEDITION INTO INDIAN CREEK CANYON WITH OUR FELLOW EXPLORE FRIENDS GEOLOGIST EDD FRENCH AND VIC TROLIO. OUR JOURNEY IN WAS ACTUALLY FROM THE TOP INSTEAD OF THE BOTTOM FROM KYLES LANDING FROM THE PARKING AREA OFF OF HIGHWAY 74 WEST OF JASPER, WE MADE THE FIVE MILE OR SO TREK ALL THE WAY THROUGH ENDING UP AT KYLES LANDING AT THE BUFFALO RIVER. FIVE MILES OF HIKING, THOUGH, SEEMED LIKE 50, TAKING SEVEN HOURS HIKING THROUGH THE EXTREMELY RUGGED AND TREACHEROUS TERRAIN. AS THE SAYING GOES, NO PAIN, NO GAIN. ON OCCASION, A LOT OF EFFORT IS REQUIRED TO REACH THE PLACES FEW HAVE SEEN, SUCH AS OUR FIRST SPECTACULAR SIGHT, THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE. VIC, I GUESS YOU'RE ONE OF THE FEW THAT CAN SAY YOU'VE ACTUALLY BEEN THROUGH THIS AREA MORE THAN ONCE. USUALLY ONCE IS ENOUGH FOR MOST PEOPLE.

CORRECT. MOST PEOPLE WON'T COME BACK. IT'S BEAUTIFUL THOUGH, AND IT'S WELL WORTH THE EFFORT TO GET UP HERE. THIS IS THE TOP OF THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T GET HERE.

MOST PEOPLE, WE WERE TALKING EARLIER, FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE AND THEY JUST BACKTRACK UP TO KYLES LANDING.

WE'VE COME IN FROM THE TOP FROM HORSE SHOE CANYON RANCH AND COME ALL THE WAY DOWN THROUGH THE VALLEY.

YEAH. THIS IS DEFINITELY AN AREA THAT HAS PUT ME TO THE CHALLENGE AND THE TEST.

IT'S A LITTLE MUDDY TODAY BUT IT'S BEAUTIFUL. IT'S WELL WORTH IT. IT'S ABOUT A STEEP AND BIG ROCKS AS YOU CAN FIND IN THE BUFFALO AREA, QUITE A BEAUTIFUL SPOT. IT'S WORTH IT. IT'S WORTH IT.

WHAT DID YOU FIRST THINK WHEN YOU -- THE VERY FIRST TIME YOU CAME THROUGH HERE?

ACTUALLY, I TRIED SEVERAL TIMES TO FIND THIS UNSUCCESSFULLY AND FINALLY WE MADE IT ALL WAY THROUGH. WE MADE IT DOWN HALFWAY A COUPLE TIMES BUT FINALLY MADE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. IT'S A LITTLE TRICKY WALKING INTO THIS PART FROM UP HERE.

IT'S EASIER WHEN THE LEAVES ARE OFF THE TREES, I CAN IMAGINE.

YEAH. YOU CAN SEE THE EYE FROM HIGH AND HELPS YOU FIND YOUR WAY IN. IT'S EASIER IN THE WINTER. YOU CAN SEE BETTER AND IT'S NOT NEAR AS HOT AND ALL. IT'S STILL ONE OF THE BEST CLIMBS IN ARKANSAS, I THINK. EASILY ONE OF THE BEST.

VIC RECOMMENDS NOT HIKING INTO INDIAN CREEK CANYON ALONE, AND IF YOU'RE GOING IN FOR THE FIRST TIME, GO WITH A GUIDE OR SOMEONE THAT KNOWS THE AREA.

I WOULD TRY TO COME WITH SOMEBODY WHO'S BEEN UP HERE. I WOULD DEFINITELY BRING ROPE. BE PREPARED TO BE CAREFUL. BE PREPARED AND BE CAREFUL.

LIKE WE MENTIONED EARLIER, THERE ARE MORE INJURIES THAT TAKE PLACE IN THIS AREA THAN ANY OTHER.

THAT'S WHAT I'VE HEARD. IT'S REALLY EASY TO HURT -- TO HURT YOURSELF, IT'S SO SLICK. YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL AND WATCH WHAT YOU'RE DOING.

THERE ARE WATER FALLS ALL ALONG THIS HIKE PLUS MANY OTHER FEATURES, SUCH AS ARKANSAS CAVES WHERE DURING HIGH WATER THERE'S A WATER FALL THAT COMES FROM IT. IT'S THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE THAT'S PROBABLY THE HIGHLIGHT.

WELLT EYE OF THE NEEDLE WE HAVE JUST TRAVERSED AND SURVIVED IT, SO I THINK THE -- THAT'S THE MAIN THING. WE HAVE JUST MOVED DOWN INTO A COURSE TOPOGRAPHY WHERE WE MOVE INTO THE LIMESTONE. THIS IS WHERE YOU GET THE K TYPE DEPOSITS AND THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE IS PART OF THE COLLAPSED CAVE SYSTEM WE HAVE HERE. AS WE MOVE ON DOWN, THE STREAM OF INDIAN CREEK HERE, WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE FEATURES THAT REPRESENT THE COURSE TYPE TOPOGRAPHY I'M TALKING ABOUT.

THIS IS A VERY UNIQUE AREA. YOU CAN JUST IMAGINE IT'S VIRTUALLY UNTOUCHED FOR HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF YEARS.

I WOULD SAY THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST MAGAZINE NIF  -- AMAZIG CANYON HEARSAY THE OZARKS. WE STARTED OUT AT AN ELEVATION OF ABOUT 2,000 FEET AND ABOUT HALFWAY DOWN. AT THE BASE WE COME OUT AT CAMP OR WHICH IS ABOUT 900 FEET ELEVATION. IN A MILE OR SO WE TRAVERSE SOME REALLY STEEP TOPOGRAPHY.

AND YOU, ALONG WITH VIC, CAN SAY YOU'VE BEEN HERE MORE THAN ONCE?

YEAH. I'VE BEEN HERE MORE THAN ONCE. ALL THE PEOPLE WE BROUGHT HERE BEFORE, THEY WON'T COME BACK WITH US. [LAUGHTER]

YOU WERE TELLING ME FOR MOST PEOPLE THIS IS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME VENTURE.

I WOULD SAY MOST OF THE PEOPLE THAT COME HERE NEVER GET TO THE TOP OF THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE. THEY COME HERE AND TURN AROUND AND THEY GO BACK BECAUSE GETTING AROUND THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. YOU HAVE TO USE ROPES TO DO THAT.

SO, THE SIGHTING OSPECTACULAR TO SAY THE LEAST BUT IT IS ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING HIKES, IF NOT THE MOST CHALLENGING. IF YOU'RE NOT QUITE PHYSICALLY FIT OR FAMILIAR WITH THE AREA, DON'T EVEN ATTEMPT IT, SINCE ACCORDING TO PARK SERVICE, GETTING AN INJURED PERSON OUT OF HERE IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. SO, JUST SIT BACK AND TAKE IN THE SIGHTS THAT WE'VE ALREADY CAPTURED FOR YOU.

ON THIS NEXT SEGMENT WE'LL TAKE YOU TO COLLEGE FOR A COURSE CALLED ON THE OUACHITA. WE'VE HOOKED UP WITH A GROUP OF STUDENTS FROM OUACHITA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY IN ARKADELPHIA AND WE'LL RELIVE A SURVEY. LET'S HEAD OUT ON THE OUACHITA. THE OUACHITA CAMPUS HAVE A COURSE THAT STARTS AT THE RIVER AND FLOATS DOWN. WE -- IT'S REALLY A NEAT COURSE. THEN A PROFESSOR ON CAMPUS WROTE A BOOK ABOUT THE HUNTER/DUNBAR EXPEDITION. THAT WAS THE BACKGROUND FOR OUR COURSET HISTORY SETTING. THEN US BEING AN ARKANSAS INSTITUTION, WE'RE NOT -- WHY NOT EXPAND THIS TO DIFFERENT AREAS. MY EMPHASIS IS OUTDOOR RECREATION. BYRON LOVES TO DO THE PHILOSOPHY AND  KAY YAKKING, ANOTHER THE BIOLOGY, ANOTHER THE HISTORY. THAT WAS THE START. WE RAN A TRIAL CLASS AND DESIGNED THE COURSE AND THIS SEMESTER IT'S OFF AND RUNNING. IT HAS SOME REAL POSSIBILITIES.

THE HUNTER BUN DAR EX-- DUNBAR EXPEDITION, THAT WAS DURING THOMAS JEFFERSON WHEN HE SENT OUT EXPLORERS.

EXACTLY. THEIR CHARGE WAS TO GO UP THE ARKANSAS RIVER BUT THEY WERE AFRAID OF THE INDIANS AND THOMAS JEFFERSON GOT SCARED TO SEND THEM INTO UNCHARTERED TERRITORY AND DECIDED TO GO TO OUACHITA. THEY HEARD THINGS ABOUT THE HOT SPRINGS IN ARKANSAS TERRITORY AT THAT TIME. HUNTER/DUNBAR SET OFF ON THEIR EXPEDITION AND WENT UP THE OUACHITA RIVER AND CAME UP TO HOT SPRINGS. OUR STUDENTS READ THE BOOK -- ACTUALLY, WE EVOLVED THIS CLASS, EVENTUALLY WE COULD USE GPS AND CAMP ON THE SAME SIGHTS THEY CAMPED ON, EXPAND THE COURSE AND DO THE COOKING LIKE THEY DID WITH THE, YOU KNOW, THE BIG OVENS, THE DUTCH OHAVE  O-- OVEN COOKING. WE DON'T USE THE BIG BRATS LIKE THEY DID, BUT IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO TWEAK THE COURSE BACK TO THAT TIME FRAME.

IT WAS ROUGH BECAUSE WE STAYED IN AKA BIN FOR TWO DAYS, THREE DAYS.

GAS GRILLS.

GAS GRILLS AND STUFF LIKE THAT BUT I IMAGINE IT COULD BE HARDER. GOING UP RIVER THEY'RE HEADED THAT WAY AND STUFF LIKE THAT. TAKE IT.

WE TRIED TO GO UPSTREAM AND KAYAK AND THEY DIDN'T TURN OUT SO WELL. IT WAS KIND OF HARD.

JUST EXPERIENCED A LOT OF TEAM WORK NOT ONLY IN THE CANOE, BUT AS FAR AS COOKING TOGETHER, EVERYTHING WE DID THIS WEEK WE DID TOGETHER AS A TEAM. JUST A LOT OF TEAM WORK, THAT WAS OUR MAJOR EXPERIENCE THIS WEEK.

I GOT TO HANG OUT WITH SO MANY PEOPLE I WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO HANG OUT WITH AND SHE'S ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS AND A FEW OTHER BEST FRIENDS ON THE TRIP WITH US, BUT THERE'S SO MANY PEOPLE I WOULD HAVE NEVER SPENT A WHOLE WEEK, ALMOST 24 HOURS A DAY WITH. THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT I'VE GOTTEN MOST OUT OF IT, BESIDES THE NATURE PART OF IT.

DO YOU MISS CELL PHONES, THE INTERNET?

WELL, IT'S A CHANGE BUT NOT BAD AT ALL. BOTH OF US, I DON'T REALLY THINK, KNEW WHAT THE WEEK WAS GOING TO BE LIKE. WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF EXPECTINGS. THEN WE JUST KIND OF JUMPED IN NOT HAVING OUR CELL PHONE OR INTERNET HAS BEEN AN ADJUSTMENT, BUT I THINK WE'VE SURVIVED OKAY.

IT'S NOT A BAD THING.

NO, IT'S NOT A BAD THING. IT'S DIFFERENT BUT NOT BAD. IT'S BEEN A LOT OF FUN AND I FEEL LIKE WE LEARNED A LOT. IF WE CAN SURVIVE THIS WEEK, WE CAN SURVIVE ANYTHING.

FOR A COLLEGE COURSE, YOU CAN'T BEAT THIS.

YOU CAN'T GET MORE FUN THAN THIS. THE COURSE WORK, WE HAD TO READ THE BOOK AND SOME PAPERS AND OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT. WE HAD CANOE AND OUTDOOR TRAINING, BUT THIS -- THIS IS SO MUCH FUN DOING THIS. BEING HERE FOR A WEEK.

NOT A BAD TRIP FOR $400, I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU. NOT A BAD TRIP FOR 400 BUCKS.

NOT A BAD TRIP.

NOW YOU KNOW HOW THE EXPLORERS FELT IN THE 1800S.

DEFINITELY. THEY HAD OTHER SUPPLIES THAN WHAT WE HAD, BUT IT'S VERY GOOVMENTD -- GOOD.

WELL, IT WAS A GOOD EXPERIENCE, I TELL YOU THAT. GOT SOME NEW FRIENDS AND STUFF LIKE THAT. I LEARNED NEW THINGS ABOUT CANOEING. FIRST CANOE TRIP I WENT WITH PROFESSOR EWE BANKS AND HE SHOWED ME QUITE A BIT OF CANOEING, SO IT WAS A LOT OF FUN, GOOD EXPERIENCE. CAN'T BEAT IT.

YOU MENTIONED TO ME EARLIER YOU WOULD LIKE TO TACKLE SOME OF THE OTHER RIVERS ACROSS THE STATE NOW.

YES I WOULD. ESPECIALLY THE BUFFALO AND A COUPLE OTHERS. I WOULD LIKE TO DO THAT.

I'VE LEARNED A LOT OF THING ON THE EXPEDITION THAT WAS HARD. I MEAN, HUNTER/DUNBAR DID AND I HAD TO DO A PAPER ON IT, SO I'VE LEARNED A LOT.

IT'S REALLY BEEN A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

THAT'S GREAT. HOW ABOUT YOU?

IT HAS FOR ME TOO. I'VE DONE A LITTLE MORE CAMPING AND STUFF BUT THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE GOTTEN ON THE WATER ANTICIPATE DID CANOEING AND -- AND DID CANOEING AND KAYAKING. LEARNED A LOT, GOT WET A FEW TIMES AND LEARNED ABOUT THE EXPEDITION. I HAD HEARD IT BEFORE, BUT WRITING THE PAPER ON IT GIVES YOU A LITTLE MORE.

THE TEAM WORK, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS MENTIONED, THEY LEARNED ON A TRIP LIKE THIS.

YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL BY YOURSELF. YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE --

YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE --

EVERYBODY HELPING PACK UP CAMP AND MAKE FOOD AND IN A CANOE YOU NEED TWO PEOPLE. A LOT OF TEAM WORK.

OR YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A SINKING SINKING TITANIC OUT THERE. THEY SAY IT'S MY FAULT WE  SUNK, BUT THE CANOE FLIPPED OVER. THEY SAY I WAS REACHING FOR BEEF JERKY. I'VE GONE TO COLLEGE WITH ALL THESE STUDENTS AND THEY'RE FRIENDS OF MINE AND I GOT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEM.

I TEACH PHILOSOPHY AND WHITE WATER  KIE YAKKING CLASS AND WE TRIED TO HAVE STUDENTS LOOK AT RECREATIONAL USE OF THE RIVER AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES, WE HAD THEM READ THE ALMANAC, A CLASSIC IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND TRIED TO GET THEM TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO USE THE RIVER, HOW PEOPLE USE THE RIVER, HOW TO TAKE CARE OF IT SO WE LEAVE NO TRACE PHILOSOPHY OF CAMPING. HAVING THEM SEE THE BIG PICTURE OF THE WHOLE RIVER. WE TALKED ABOUT THE HISTORY, RECREATION, COMMERCIAL USES OF THE RIVER, SO BIG PICTURE. IT'S SORT OF IF MAIN THRUST OF WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING WITH THEM ON.

AND PLANS TO DO THIS AGAIN, I GUESS, WITH SOMETHING ELSE THROWN IN, MAYBE PHOTOGRAPHY ALONG WITH IT.

WE'VE HAD SEVERAL COLLEAGUES OF OUACHITA THAT TALKED ABOUT THE CLASS, THIS TIME AROUND WE DID PHILOSOPHY, BIOLOGY, I KINESIOLOGY, HISTORY, PHOTOGRAPHY, YOU COULD LOOK AT POLITICAL SCIENCE IN TERMS OF THE DECISIONS GOING INTO DAM THE RIVER VERSUS LEAVING IT FREE FLOWING, SO THERE'S LOTS OF WAYS TO LOOK AT THE RIVER. SOME OF THE EMPHASIS FOR THE CLASS WAS CLASS BASED DEFINITION. A LOT OF PEOPLE COME HERE AND DON'T HAVE A SENSE OF WHAT WE ARE IN GENERAL OF ARKANSAS. WE TRY TO THINK OF WAYS TO PUT OUR STUDENTS IN TOUCH WITH THE BEAUTY THAT IS ARKANSAS, AND THIS CLASS IS FIRST TIME THROUGH A LITTLE ROUGH AROUND THE ENLS HERE AND -- ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES BUT WE'LL DO IT AGAIN. LOTS OF STUDENT AND TEACHER INTEREST TO GET IT DONE. WE TALK ABOUT OUTDOOR RECREATION FROM COOKING TO USING THE WATER PURE FI  -- PURIFYING AND WE DID CHARADES AND EVERYTHING. IT WAS GREAT.

NAMED AFTER THE MOUNTAIN WHICH MOSES SAW THE PROMISED LAND, MT. NEBO HAS A LOT TO OFFER. ONE OF THEM IS THE BENCH TRAIL WHICH HAS A FAMILY OPPORTUNITY FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING AND A GREAT WAY TO SEE THE MOUNTAIN. LET'S CHECK IT OUT. LOCATED WEST OF DARDANELLE, MT. NEBO RICE 1,350 FEET ABOVE THE ARKANSAS RIVER VALLEY. THE BENCH TRAIL FOLLOWS A SAND STONE SHELL CALLED A BENCH BUT CIRCLES THE ENTIRE MOUNTAIN FOR ABOUT FOUR MILES. DURING THE 1890S THIS TRAIL WAS A ROAD CALLED BENCH BOULEVARD.

THE BENCH TRAIL IS REALLY SIGNIFICANT IN THAT THE BENCH TRAIL WAS USED OR IT WAS THE SITE OF MANY OF THE FIRST HOMES ON MT. NEBO. THE SPRINGS THAT YOU'LL SEE ON THE MOUNTAIN PROVIDED WATER, READY SUPPLY OF WATER FOR ALL THE SETTLERS AND THEY BUILT SOME REAL NICE HOMES AS WELL AS THE FIRST HOTEL AROUND THERE. PEOPLE TODAY USE THE BENCH TRAIL FOR HIKING AS WELL AS MOUNTAIN BIKING. THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLANTS AND ANIMALS THEY CAN SEE ALONG AS THEY HIKE. THE VIEW OFF THE BENCH TRAIL IS PRETTY GOOD. OF COURSE, IT'S ALWAYS BETTER IN THE WINTER MONTHS WHEN THE LEAVES HAVEN'T THERE, BUT IT STILL OFFERS A NICE VIEW OF THE VALUE LIMIT THE MOUNTAIN BIKERS REALLY LIKE IT. IT'S WIDE ENOUGH LIKE AN OLD LOGGING ROAD AND JUST WIDE ENOUGH TO ACCOMMODATE HIKERS OR BIKERS OR WHATEVER.

YEAH, AND LEVEL OF IT IS PRETTY EASY. I MEAN, IT'S GOOD FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY.

THAT'S CORRECT. FAMILIES, LITTLE ONES, ALL THE WAY UP TO GRANDPARENTS WILL USE IT. IT IS STEEP IN SOME PLACES, SO IT'S NOT JUST A REAL EASY RIDE, BUT IT'S NOT REAL CHALLENGING, BUT IT HAS A VARIATION TO WHERE EVERYBODY WILL ENJOY.

AS THEY DID BACK IN THE LATE 1800S, SUMMER TIME VISITORS TODAY AS WELL ENJOY THE MOUNTAIN'S COOLER TEMPERATURES, LUSH VEGETATION, ABUNDANT WILD LIFE AND LUSH SCENERY. THE BENCH TRAIL IS ONE OF SEVEN TRAILS THAT PROVIDE MORE THAN 14 MILES OF HIKING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING PLEASURE. SO FOR AN EXCELLENT RIDE FOR YOUR FAMILY'S FIRST MOUNTAIN BIKING OUTING, GRAB YOUR BIKE OR AREN'T ONE AT THE PARK AND -- RENT ONE AT THE PARK AND EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF WHAT MT. NEBO HAS TO OFFER, AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE.

SO CHECK  OUT THE BENCH TRAIL FOR YOURSELF AT MT. NEBO AND IF MOUNTAIN BIKING IS NOT YOUR THINGT DRIVE UP HERE TO LOOK AT THE SPECTACULAR SCENERY IS WORTH IT. FOR MORE ON THIS AND ALL OUR OTHER DESTINATIONS, VIEW MAPS OR ORDER A COPY OF EPISODE, VISIT OR WEB SIDE EETN.ORG/EXPLORING ARKANSAS. SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON EXPLORING ARKANSAS.

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