Coming up in a brand new “Exploring Arkansas” episode for May 4, we’ll hike to one of the largest natural stone bridges in the state, shoot some arrows with a primitive bow maker and get a taste of heaven on the palate with a family whose maple syrup gathering spans six generations.
The Alum Cove Natural Bridge Geological Area in the Ozark National Forest south of Jasper is, without a doubt, one of my favorite areas in the state. There’s so much to see and explore here that you should plan an entire day for it. The Alum Cove National Recreation Trail will first lead you to one of the most impressive stone arches in the entire southern region. Early settlers reportedly used the arch to move wagons and livestock across the streambed during rainy periods. Farther down the trail, you can explore eerie cave-like rooms, which the locals call “goat houses” since at one time, free-roaming goats inhabited these cave rooms.
Primitive bow maker David Chronister of Dardanelle is keeping alive an ancient craft that Native Americans did on a daily basis for their livelihood. Using the same Osage Orange wood or bois d’arc, Chronister handcrafts quality bows that could be considered works of art.
Usually associated with New England states, the gathering and processing of pure maple syrup is quite the tedious process. It’s been one family’s tradition though for six generations, living near the upper portion of the Buffalo National River. Tasting the final end result really is un-describable!