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Exploring Arkansas January 2009

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White Rock Mountain, War Eagle Cavern wildcaving, Poteau Mountain
The White Rock Mountain Recreation Area north of Mulberry offers some of the best views in the state along the rim loop trail A wild cave trek through War Eagle Cavern near Rogers provides a unique look at bat colonies. The Poteau Mountain Rustic Road Tour is yet another wonderful opportunity to experience the wilderness of the Ouachita National Forest.

TRANSCRIPT

WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST NORTH OF MULBERRY IS ONE OF THOSE PLACES THAT PEOPLE KEEP COMING BACK TO YOU YEAR AFTER YEAR AFTER YEAR, AND TAKING A LOOK OUT THERE, YOU CAN SEE WHY, ESPECIALLY WHEN NATURE DISPLAYS ITS FULL ARRAY OF COLOR UP HERE, AND IT'S WHERE WE'LL BEGIN THIS WEEK'S SHOW. AND THEN WE'LL TAKE YOU TO WAR EAGLE CAVERN NEAR ROGERS FOR THE WILD CAVE EXCURSION OVER THERE, AND WE'LL CONCLUDE WITH A POTEAU MOUNTAIN RUSTIC ROAD TOUR IN THE WATCH TAW NATIONAL FOREST NEAR WALDRON. SO NOW, LET'S GO AND EXPLORE WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN. 

WHITE ROCK IS A SPECIAL INTEREST AREA FOR ITS ZO ZOOLOGICAL AND SCENIC CHARACTERS. THE BLUFFS ALL AROUND THE RIM HERE ARE JUST BEAUTIFUL, SPECTACULAR, AND OF COURSE, THE SCENIC QUALITY IS JUST -- IT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. YOU CAN SEE FOR MILES AND MILE MILES. AND IT'S A GORGEOUS LANDSCAPE. 

YES, A GORGEOUS LANDSCAPE TO SAY THE LEAST. TAKES A BIT OF A DRIVE, THOUGH, MANEUVERING A FEW SERVICE DIRT ROADS AFTER YOU LEAVE HIGHWAY 15 NEAR SHORES LAKE, BUT IT'S WELL WORTH IT WHEN YOU DO REACH THE MOUNTAINTOP. WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN RECEIVED ITS NAME FROM THE APPEARANCE OF THE LICHEN ON THE BLUFFS, WHIC WHICH, FROM A DISTANCE, LOOKS WHITE. AT 2,260 FEET, WHITE ROCK IS THE THIRD TALLEST MOUNTAIN IN ARKANSAS, AND UP HERE, AS WITH MOUNT MAGAZINE, IT DOES HAVE ITS OWN CLIMATE. 

IT'S A BIT LIKE DINALI. WE HAVE OUR OWN LITTLE WEATHER THING GOING ON UP HERE. IT WILL BE RAINING OR SLEEDING AT SHORES LAKE, WHICH IS SIX MILES FROM HERE, AND IT WILL GET SNOW UP HERE, ABOUT TWO OR THREE TIMES DURING THE WINTER IT SNOWS. AS FAR AS SEASONS GO, FALL HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE MOST POPULAR SEASON FOR WHITE BLUFF BECAUSE OF THE FOLIAGE AND THE SCENIC VIEW. SPRING HAS BECOME A VERY, VERY POPULAR TIME. MARCH, APRIL, AND MAY HAVE BECOME REAL POPULAR ALL OF A SUDDEN, PEOPLE ARE STAYING CLOSE TO THE HOMES. I'M SURE WITH THE ECONOMY BEING AS IT IS, THEY ARE STAYING CLOSE TO HOME, THEY CAN COME HERE, AND IT'S AN AFFORDABLE PLACE TO COME AND ENJOY AND BRING THE FAMILY. 

THERE ARE EIGHT FAMILY CAMPING UNITS PLUS THREE RENTAL CABINS AND A LODGE, WHICH WERE RESTORED IN 1991, FIRST BUILT BY THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS DURING THE 1930s. THERE'S ALSO THE WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN RIM LOOP TRAIL, WHICH COVERS TWO MILES. 

AND IT'S NOT CHILD FRIENDLY, I WOULD SAY, BECAUSE IT IS REALLY ON THE RIM OF THE MOWN TAR, BUT IT DOES HAVE -- MOUNTAIN, BUT IT DOES HAVE A BEAUTIFUL VIEW. BUT IT'S ONE OF THOSE I WOULD RECOMMEND MORE FOR ADULTS THAN CHILDREN BECAUSE IT IS VERY CLOSE TO THE EDGE IN SOME PLACES, AND YOU JUST HAVE TO BE VERY CAUTIOUS. IT'S ABOUT CIVILIANS AT POINTS OF FROM WITH THE PRETTIEST VIEWS ALL AROUND THAT WERE BUILT BY THE CCC, THE SAME PEOPLE THAT BUILT THESE CABINS, BACK IN THE '30s. SO IT'S A VERY INTERESTING HISTORICAL WALK IN ITSELF. AND ROCK STRUCTURES, THAT USED TO BE WATER FOUNTAINS BUT ARE NOT FUNCTIONING NOW, BUT THEY ARE STILL THERE FOR THE HISTORIC VIEW. THERE'S ALSO AN ARTESIAN WELL ON THAT WALK ON THE RIM TRAIL. SO IT'S A VERY PRETTY WALK. ANYBODY CAN DO THAT. PEOPLE OF ALL AGES COME UP AND DO IT. I IMAGINE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS YOU'VE ENJOYED IT UP HERE, ESPECIALLY THE PEOPLE YOU GET TO MEET. 

I MEET A LARGE VARIETY OF PEOPLE, AND THEY BECOME LIKE EXTENDED FAMILY ALMOST. AS I WAS TELLING YOU EARLIER, THE PEOPLE THAT VISITED THE LODGE THIS WEEKEND, IT WAS THEIR 40th YEAR CONSECUTIVE AT THAT WEEKEND IN OCTOBER, AND THE LADY THAT HAD STARTED THIS TRADITION IS STILL LIVING AND IS A HUNDRED YEARS OLD, MISS STELLA MOSBY OUT OF OKLAHOMA, AND HER FAMILY IS CONTINUING THIS FAMILY TRADITION. I MEAN PEOPLE FROM MILES OVER. I'VE MET PEOPLE AS FAR AS NEW YORK AND ENGLAND HERE. SO I MEET A LARGE VARIETY OF PEOPLE, VERY INTERESTING. 

SO DISCOVER AND EXPLORE WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN FOR YOURSELF AND THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST, AND MAKE IT YOUR OWN ANNUAL FAMILY TRADITION OF COMING UP TO THE MOUNTAINTOP.  ALSO, AS AN EXTRA ADDED ATTRACTION, NEARBY SHORES LAKE RECREATION AREA OFFERS A SUPERB MOUNTAIN LAKE SETTING. THIS 82-ACRE LAKE IS STOCKED WITH BASS, CATFISH, AND BLU BLUEGILLS JUST WAITING ON YOU WITH BASS, CATFISH, AND BLU BLUEGILLS JUST WAITING ON YOU TO THROW A LINE IN. 

WITH A SPECTACULAR NATURAL ENTRANCE, WAR EAGLE CAVERN, EAST OF ROGERS, HAS BEEN THE AMAZEMENT AND WONDER OF PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE AGES, FROM NATIVE AMERICANS ON. NOW, YOU CAN TAKE THE REGULAR COMMERCIAL TOUR HERE, OR DEPENDING ON HOW ADVENTURESOME YOU ARE, THE WILD CAVE EXCURSION, WHICH IS WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO TODAY. SO SIT BACK, RELAX, AND LET US GOING TO DO TODAY. SO SIT BACK, RELAX, AND LET US DO THE CRAWLING FOR YOU. WAR EAGLE CAVERN IS LOCATED ON THE SHORES OF BEAVER LAKE OFF WAR EAGLE CAVERN IS LOCATED ON THE SHORES OF BEAVER LAKE OFF HIGHWAY 12, EAST OF ROGERS. TEAMING UP WITH DENNIS BOYD AND JIM MADISON OF WAR EAGLE CAVER CAVERN, WE BEGAN OUR WILD CAVE TREK WHERE THE PUBLIC TOUR LEAVES OFF, CRAWLING THROUGH A THREE-FOOT-HIGH, 85-FOOT-LONG TUNNEL. AH, BUT THE FUN WAS JUST STARTING. 

WE HAVING FUN YET? 

USED BY NATIVE AMERICANS HUNDREDS OF YEARS BEFORE THE FIRST SETTLERS CAME TO THIS AREA, WAR EAGLE CAVERN WAS ONCE KNOWN AS BAT CAVE AND IS STILL HOME TO ONE OF NORTH AMERICA'S LARGEST COLONIES OF PIPESTRELLE AND GRAY BATS. IN FACT, AT ANY GIVEN TIME, THERE MAY BE AS MANY AS 75,000 BATS IN THE CAVE, AND YOUR CHANCES OF COMING UP UPON HUGE COLONIES OF BATS LIKE WE DID CHANCES OF COMING UP UPON HUGE COLONIES OF BATS LIKE WE DID ARE QUITE GOOD.  BECAUSE THE GRAY BATS USE THE CAVE AS A MATERNITY ROOST DURING THE SPRING MONTHS, WILD CAVE TOURS ARE CONDUCTED ONLY DURING THE SPRING MONTHS, WILD CAVE TOURS ARE CONDUCTED ONLY FROM JULY THROUGH OCTOBER.  AS FAR AS CAVES GO, WAR EAGLE CAVERN ISN'T AS OLD AS MOST CAVES, ONLY ABOUT 250 MILLION CAVERN ISN'T AS OLD AS MOST CAVES, ONLY ABOUT 250 MILLION YEARS. 

SO THIS CAVE IS ACTUALLY A MUCH YOUNGER CAVE THAN A LOT OF CAVES, AND WE'RE A VERY HORIZONTAL CAVE, MEANING THIS IS A RIVER WE'VE BEEN FOLLOWING GOING BACK UNDERGROUND, AND UP TO JUST A SHORT TIME AGO, ABOUT 500,000 YEARS AGO, THIS WAS A MASSIVE RIVER FROM CEILING TO FLOOR. AS THAT RIVER FINALLY RECEDED FROM THERE, THEN THINGS START WITHDRAWING, AND 500,000 YEARS IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO GET ALL OF THESE REALLY GROWING ON THERE, SO YOU'VE GOT TO COME BACK HERE, CHUCK, IN ABOUT ANOTHER HALF MILLION YEARS, AND WE SHOULD SEE A LOT MORE STALACTITES BY THAT TIME ON THERE. WE ARE GOING TO ENCOUNTER SOME FURTHER BACK ON THE CAVE IN THERE. RIGHT NOW, THIS IS HOME TO BATS, AND AS YOU'VE PROBABLY BEEN ABLE TO SEE, WE'VE GOT SOME BATS HANGING OUT ON OUR CEILING. THEY ARE GETTING READY TO GO INTO HIBERNATION HERE, THE LITTLE BROWN BAT, EASTERN PIPESTRELLE WE SEE HERE. 

THEY ARE NOT THE ENDANGERED KIND? 

NO, SIR. ALL BATS ARE PROTECTED. VERY SO SOME GRAY BATS THAT -- WE HAVE SOME GRAY BATS THAT ARE MORE RARE, AND THEY HIDE FROM US. 

I GUESS THE ONES WITH THE LONG EARS ARE MORE ENDANGERED? 

YES, SIR. THERE ARE MORE THAN A THOUSAND KINDS OF BATS. WE HAVE TWO THAT MAKE THEIR HOME IN THE CAVE AND PROBABLY ANOTHER FOUR OR FIVE DIFFERENT SPECIES THAT LIKE TO HANG OUT HERE IN THE SUMMERTIME. 

AND YOU MENTIONED TO US BEFORE THE REASON WHY THEY HANG UPSIDE DOWN. 

WELL, THE REASON A BAT HANGS UPSIDE DOWN -- I DON'T KNOW IF WE CAN SPOT ANY HERE. THEY ARE A LITTLE DISTANCE AWAY. BUT YOU ONLY SEE A BAT HANGING UPSIDE DOWN FOR ONE VERY IMPORTANT REASON. IT'S THE ONLY WAY HE CAN FLY. HE'S GOT VERY SHORT LITTLE LEG LEGS, VERY LONG WINGS, DISPROPORTIONATE TO HIS BODY. SO TO FLY, HE WILL LET GO, FLIP OVER, GLIDE, AND FLY. WHEN HE LANDS, HE'S GOT TO FLIP UPSIDE DOWN AND GRAB HOLD OF A CEILING. IF A BAT IS ON THE GROUND, HE IS IN REAL TROUBLE DOWN THERE. 

WE TALKED ABOUT THE BAT GUANO HERE, AND IT IS STILL USED TODAY. 

WE HAVE PILES OF THAT. WE HAVE NEARLY 100,000 BAT USERS CAVE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, AND THEY LEAVE A MESS BEHINDS. BAT GUANO IS NOTHING MORE THAN BAT POOP OR FERTILIZER, USED AS FURTHER LIESER. IN THE PAST IT HAS BEEN USED AS GUN POWDER. AND THE THING THE LADIES LIKE TO HEAR, IT IS A KEY INGREDIENT AS A BASE TO MAKE EYE MASCARA WITH. 

I DON'T KNOW IF THEY ARE GOING TO PUT ANY ON AFTER THIS. 

WE HAVE A LOT OF LADIES SWEAR OFF OF MASCARA WHEN THEY 

WE HAVE A LOT OF LADIES SWEAR OFF OF MASCARA WHEN THEY HEAR THAT.  

ALONG THIS WILD CAVE ROUTE, YOU'LL COME UPON A 3 30-FOOT-TALL NARROW ROOM WHERE WATER DROPLETS EVENTUALLY MAKE THEIR WAY DOWN TO THE CAVE FLOOR. WATCHING THEM AS THEY FREE FALL IS, IN ITSELF, QUITE WATCHING THEM AS THEY FREE FALL IS, IN ITSELF, QUITE FASCINATING.  YOU MAY WANT TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF BY TRYING TO CATCH ONE OR TWO OF THE DROPLETS WITH YOURSELF BY TRYING TO CATCH ONE OR TWO OF THE DROPLETS WITH YOUR MOUTH.  THIS TWO-HOUR WILD CAVE TOUR AT WAR EAGLE CAVERN IS BY RESERVATION ONLY, AND YOU MUST BE AT LEAST FOUR FEET TALL. A LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT IS RECOMMENDED TO AVOID SCRAPES, AS WELL AS LONG PANTS, NO SHORTS. GLOVES, KNEE PADS, AND A HELMET WOULD ALSO BE WISE, ALONG WITH AT LEAST THREE SOURCES OF LIGHT FOR BACKUP. ALSO, BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES BECAUSE YOU WILL GET WET AND MUDDY. BUT ALL IN ALL, IT IS A LOT OF FUN, AND YOU JUST MAY WANT TO COME BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN TO EXPLORE THE INNER COME BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN TO EXPLORE THE INNER DEPTHS OF WAR EAGLE CAVERN. 

EVERY TIME YOU'RE IN THE CAVE, IT IS DIFFERENT. PEOPLE THINK THEY WON'T CHANGE, BUT THEY REALLY DO. TODAY THE CAVE IS REASONABLY DRY. WE'VE NOT HAD AS MUCH RAIN LATELY. BUT THIS SPRING THERE'S BEEN TIMES WATER HAS ROARED THROUGH HERE. WE HAVE TIMES A FOG CAN ROLL INTO THE CAVE. SO EVEN THOUGH OUR TEMPERATURE STAYS APPROXIMATELY 58 DEGREES YEAR ROUND, THE HUMIDITY CAN CHANGE, AND IT REALLY CHANGES THE LOOK OF THE CAVE AND THE WAY WE ENCOUNTER BATS AND DIFFERENT CREATURES IN HERE, IT ALWAYS CHANGES. SO EVERY TOUR YOU GO IN IS SOMEWHAT OF A MYSTERY, AND WE STILL HAVE NOT FOUND ALL THIS CAVE. WE'VE EXPLORED NEARLY FOUR MILES, AND ABOUT EVERY TRIP IN, WE FIND A NEW LITTLE SIDE MILES, AND ABOUT EVERY TRIP IN, WE FIND A NEW LITTLE SIDE PASSAGEWAY GOING SOMEWHERE. 

THE POTEAU MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS AREA NEAR WALDRON IN THE OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST THROUGHOUT THE YEARS HAS PROVIDED NEEDS FOR MANY PEOPLE. FIRST, THE NATIVE AMERICANS, THE OSAGE DRIVE. DURING THE 1600s, FRENCH TRAPPERS AND EXPLORERS CAME THROUGH THIS AREA. NOW YOU CAN TAKE THIS 22-MILE RUSTIC ROAD TRIP THROUGHOUT THE NATIONAL FOREST AND RELIVE SOME OF THESE YEARS AND TIMES WITH THE EARLY SETTLERS. OF THESE YEARS AND TIMES WITH THE EARLY SETTLERS. [CAR STARTING] 

THE POTEAU MOUNTAIN RUSTIC ROAD TOUR IS ACTUALLY ALONG FOREST ROAD 158, LOCATED SIX MILES NORTH OF WALDRON OFF FOREST ROAD 158, LOCATED SIX MILES NORTH OF WALDRON OFF HIGHWAY 71. OUR FIRST STOP ALONG THIS ROUTE OVERLOOKS THE POTEAU RIVER VALLEY, WHICH HAS A LONG HISTORY OF PROVIDING FOR THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE. 

AS EARLY AS THE 14th, 15th CENTURY, WE HAD NATIVE TRIBES COMING THROUGH HERE. THERE WAS AN ADEQUATE WATER SUPPLY WITH THE SPRINGS. THERE WAS -- THERE WAS FOOD FOR THEM WITH THE BERRIES AND THE BOUNTIFUL ACORNS AND WALNUTS AND HICKORIES. THE OSAGE INDIANS, IN PARTICULAR, WERE ABLE TO USE THIS AREA FOR SUBSISTENCE AND GREAT HUNTING UP HERE. THERE'S BEEN BEAR, DEER, AND WILD TURKEY ALL THROUGH THIS AREA FOR CENTURIES. AND THEN THE FRENCH EXPLORERS CAME THROUGH, AND THEY EXPLORED THE VALLEYS, BOTH TO THE NORTH AND TO THE SOUTH, IN THE 1600s. AND AS TIME MOVED ON, AS WE'LL GO DOWN THE ROAD AND SEE, THERE'S AREAS WHERE THERE WERE OLD WAGON TRAILS THAT CROSSED OVER THIS MOUNTAIN, MAINLY GOING FROM TEXARKANA TO FORT SMITH, AND AS LATE AS THE 1880 1880s, 1890s.  THIS MOUNTAIN AT ITS HIGHEST POINT IS ABOUT ALMOST THE HIGHEST POINT IN THE STATE. IT'S JUST SHORT OF 2700 FEET. BUT THE EARLY PIONEERS SETTLED THIS MOUNTAIN. AS WE SAID, THERE'S SPRINGS UP HERE THAT HAD BEEN DEVELOPED IN THE EARLY 1900s FOR WATER. THERE'S EVIDENCE OF OLD HOME PLACES, DUG WELLS, ORCHARDS, AND IT WAS QUITE A -- PROBABLY QUITE A DRIVING LITTLE PLACE UP AND IT WAS QUITE A -- PROBABLY QUITE A DRIVING LITTLE PLACE UP HERE ON TOP OF THIS MOUNTAIN.  SOMEONE HAD TO BRAINSTORM SOMETIME BACK TO TRY TO LET THE PUBLIC GET OUT AND ENJOY MORE OF OUR NATIONAL FOREST, AND THE CONCEPT CAME ABOUT TO HAVE SOME AUTO TOURS. SO THIS ONE WAS DEVELOPED PROBABLY ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO. WE HAVE ABOUT SIX DESIGNATED STOPS THAT WE'LL SEE SOME OF THEM TODAY. THIS ONE THAT WE'RE ON NOW INCLUDES THE VISTA TO THE SOUTH. WE HAVE TWO PICNIC TABLES UP HERE WITH FIRE RINGS THAT YOU CAN COME FOR A DAY, DRIVE THROUGH THE MOUNTAIN WITH A PICNIC LUNCH, AND THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT THIS DRIVE IN THE FALL IS THAT IT'S ALL FREE. WE ARE PART OF THE OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST. THIS IS THE POTEAU COLD SPRINGS RANGER DISTRICT. WE BORDER OKLAHOMA. THIS DISTRICT IS COMPRISED OF ABOUT 380-SOME-ODD-THOUSAND ACRES. BUT THIS PARTICULAR STRETCH OF THE OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST STARTS JUST NORTH OF WALDRON ON HIGHWAY 71 AT SQUARE ROCK LAKE, AND PRETTY MUCH GOES WEST ALONG THE TOP OF POTEAU MOUNTAIN FOR AND PRETTY MUCH GOES WEST ALONG THE TOP OF POTEAU MOUNTAIN FOR ABOUT 22 MILES. 

OUR SECOND STOP IS LOOKOUT GAP. OF PARTICULAR INTEREST HERE IS AN OLD ROADBED THAT CROSSES FOREST ROAD 158. 

THIS TRAIL WE'RE ON RIGHT NOW IS -- WAS ALL HISTORICAL -- WITH ALL HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS WAS THE OLD FOOT PASS FOR THE NATIVE AMERICANS, THEY PROBABLY USED IT SOME. THE OSAGE WERE IN THIS AREA. THEY USED IT, IT WAS THE BEST ROUTE, IT WAS IN A LITTLE BIT OF A GAP COMING OVER THE MOUNTAIN, SO IT WASN'T QUITE SO STEEP. THEY WERE ABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST AMBUSH FROM THE EARLY SETTLERS JUST BY THE VEGETATION AND THE TERRAIN. AND THEN AS TIME PROGRESSED, AFTER, YOU KNOW, SOME OF THE TRADING AND SOME OF THE EARLY SETTLERS CAME INTO THIS AREA, IT WAS USED, IMPROVED TO A WAGON ROAD. SO CAN YOU IMAGINE COMING OVER HERE WHEN YOU'RE ALL HOT AND TIRED AND A SQUEAKY RA GONE ROUGH COMING UP AND DOWN THE -- WAGON ROUGH COMING UP AND DOWN THE SIDE OF THIS MOUNTAIN. ALSO, OUR ACCOUNTS FROM WHAT WE HAVE FROM HISTORICAL DOCUMENTATION, ABOUT THREE MILES TO THE NORTHWEST OF HERE TOWARDS FORT SMITH IS THE LEGENDARY BELL STAR CAVE, WHERE I HAVE EXPLORED PERSONALLY MYSELF, AND IT LOOKS LIKE A VERY, VERY GOOD HIDEOUT PLACE THAT'S TUCKED UP IN A BLUFF SHELTER WITH SOME ROCKS PUT IN OVER THE FRONT OF IT. SO BELL STAR WAS ALSO RUMORED TO HAVE COME THROUGH THIS EXACT FOOT TRAIL OLD WAGON ROAD THAT TO HAVE COME THROUGH THIS EXACT FOOT TRAIL OLD WAGON ROAD THAT WE'RE WALKING ON RIGHT NOW. 

OUR NEXT STOP IS THE REMNANTS OF DOBBS SPRING. 

THERE'S NO TELLING HOW MANY HUNDREDS OF YEARS THIS WAS -- HAS BEEN HERE. THE NATIVE AMERICANS COULD HAVE DEVELOPED THIS SPRING AT ONE TIME FOR WATER, A WATER SOURCE UP HIGH ON THE MOUNTAIN, AS WE ARE. THE EARLY SETTLERS THAT CAME THROUGH IN THE 1800s, I'M SURE, FOUND THESE SPRINGS UP HIGH AND DEVELOPED THEM. AND I SUSPECT, CHUCK, THAT THIS WAS PROBABLY A PRETTY GOOD POOL OF WATER AT ONE TIME, BUT A LOT OF THESE LITTLE ECOSYSTEMS HAVE THEIR -- AND WITH THE DECOMPOSITION, THE FALLING LITTER AND LEAF MATERIAL ALWAYS COMING IN HERE AND DECOMPOSING HAS ACTUALLY PROBABLY FILLED THIS IN A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT. THEY COULD HAVE STORED SOME OF THEIR MILK PRODUCTS AND SOME OF THEIR OTHER -- USED THIS AS A MEANS TO, LIKE WE WOULD USE A REFRIGERATOR TODAY TO KEEP THINGS COOL. BUT YOU CAN SEE FROM THE ROCK WALL AND, ACTUALLY, THERE'S AN OLD PIECE OF BARBED WIRE THAT'S VERY OLD THAT THEY PROBABLY FENCED THIS TO KEEP SOME OF THEIR GRAZED CATTLE OUT OF HERE. IT'S POSSIBLE THEY COULD HAVE IRRIGATED SOME OUT OF THIS BECAUSE THIS AREA HAD ORCHARDS ON IT, WAS HOMESTEADED, AND PROBABLY HAD QUITE A BIT OF DOMESTICATED ON MALS ON IT. 

THOSE ORCHARDS, I GUESS, JUST UP THE HILL FROM HERE 

FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, THIS PART OF THE COUNTRY DID HAVE A LOT OF HOMEINSTEAD AND/OR CHARDZ. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BACK IN THE TURN OF THE CENTURY ENDED UP BUYING A LOT OF THIS MOUNTAINTOP LAND BECAUSE PEOPLE COULDN'T PAY TAXES ON IT, BUT SOME PEOPLE WERE ABLE TO BE SUCCESSFUL ENOUGH TO PAY TAXES, AND THERE'S ACTUALLY A PIECE OF PRIVATE JUST BEHIND THIS THAT'S LANDLOCKED VIRTUALLY WITH NATIONAL FOREST ALL AROUND IT. BUT TODAY THIS SPRING PROBABLY LOOKS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT IT DID A COUPLE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. IT STILL HAS A FAIR SUPPLY OF WATER IN IT, AND A MINUTE AGO, THERE'S SOME GOOD SIZE DEER TRACKS, SO IT'S STILL BEING THERE'S SOME GOOD SIZE DEER TRACKS, SO IT'S STILL BEING USED TODAY BY SOMETHING. 

OUR FINAL STOP THROUGH THE POTEAU MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS AREA IS AT BUFFALO WALLOW. BUFFALO MAY HAVE WALLOWED IN THIS POND. IT WAS ALSO USED TO WATER RANGE CATTLE. TODAY IT SERVES AS A SOURCE OF CATTLE. TODAY IT SERVES AS A SOURCE OF WATER FOR THE AREA WILDLIFE. 

SO TAKE THE POTEAU MOUNTAIN RUSTIC ROAD TRIP FOR YOURSELF AND DISCOVER THE BEAUTY OF THE BACKROADS OF THE OUACHITAS, OR IF YOU'RE UP TO IT, TAKE THAT WILD CAVE EXCURSION NEAR WAR EAGLE CAVERN NEAR RODGERS. DON'T FORGET ABOUT GOING UP TO WHITE ROCK MOUNTAIN NORTH OF MULBERRY. FOR MORE ON THESE AND ANY OF OUR OTHER DESTINATIONS OR TO VIEW MAPS OR ORDER A COPY OF OUR EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEBSITE, AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS. WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON EXPLORING ARKANSAS.

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