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Exploring Arkansas June 2010

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Ozark Medieval Fortress, Bull Shoals Caverns, Overflow National Wildlife Reserve, Crevassing
A twenty year project to build a genuine medieval castle is underway north of Harrison Bull Shoals is one of the world's oldest caverns containing virtually all known formations of any cave in the country. Overflow National Wildlife Reserve near the Louisiana state line was established to protect one of the last remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the lower Mississippi River Valley. The sandstone crevice area at Devil's Den State Park is the largest such area in the U.S.

TRANSCRIPT

OUR EXPLORATION IN THIS EPISODE TAKES US BACK TO THE MIDDLE AGES. A GENUINE FULL-SIZED FORTIFIED MEDIEVAL CASTLE IS BEING CONSTRUCTED IN THE NORTH ARKANSAS OZARKS AND WE'LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT IN THE FIRST SEGMENT. THEN WE'LL VENTURE ON INTO BULL SHOELS CAVERNS AND MOVE ON TO OVERFLOWS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, NEAR THE LOUISIANA STATE LINE AND THEN WE'LL VENTURE INTO THE CREVICE AREA AT DEVILS DEN STATE PARK. NOW, LET'S GO BACK IN TIME TO THE 13th CENTURY.

HOW DID ARKANSAS BECOME THE CHOSEN ONE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MEDIEVAL CASTLE?

WELL, THERE WERE DIFFERENT ASPECTS THAT CAME TOGETHER. IT STARTED OUT WITH JOHN MARK MEHA WHO IS A FRENCHMAN WHO LIVED HERE FOR 20 YEARS, THE OWNER OF THE LAND AND HIS HAPPENSTANCE MEETING WITH MICHELE GULLIIER IN FRANCE AND THEY STARTED TALKING CASTLE TALK AND JOHN MARK NOTICED WHERE THERE WERE CASTLES IN -- WHERE MICHEL GULLIER HAD HIS CASTLES IN FRANCE, RESEMBLED THIS AREA. HE SAID THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE UNITED STATES WHO COULDN'T GO TO FRANCE TO SEE A REAL MEDIEVAL CASTLE. HE INVITED MICHEL HERE. WHEN HE SAW THE AREA, THE STONE, THE CLAY, THE WOOD, EVERYTHING ON THE LAND, THEN THE REST IS HISTORY. THEY WILL WORK YEAR ROUND FOR 20 YEARS, THE AVERAGE TIME REQUIRED TO BUILD A CASTLE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.

NOT EVERYBODY CAN SAY THAT THEY HELPED TO BUILD A CASTLE.

YES, THAT'S CORRECT. IN OUR SOCIETY, THERE'S NOT A LOT OF THINGS THAT TAKE A LIFETIME TO COMPLETE. IT'S AN OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD SOMETHING THAT WILL BE HERE LONG AFTER I'M GONE.

WHAT TYPE OF EXPERIENCE HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU, AS FAR AS WORKING WITH THE TOOLS OF -- AND THE MEANS AND THE MIDDLE AGES?

IT'S BEEN AN ADJUSTMENT. IT'S AN ADJUSTING PERIOD. I'M GETTING USED TO IT NOW. THE POWER TOOLS. I MISS THE POWER TOOLS, THE CHAIN SAWS, THE MODERN CONVENIENCES WE MISS. BUT IT'S VERY REWARDING, YOU KNOW, SPENDING A DAY AND WORKING HARD AND HAVING A VERY SMALL PIECE DONE AT THE END OF THE DAY.

DEFINITELY IS A FIRST-TIME EXPERIENCE WITH THIS TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION, AND YOU ARE USED TO GOING TO THE STORE AND BUYING YOUR MATERIAL PRECUT. IN THIS CASE WE HAD TO HAND SPLIT EACH LOG IN TWO AND ASSEMBLE THE POSTS. YOU ARE USING HAND TOOLS AND THAT'S A BIG DIFFERENCE FROM THE MODERN DAY POWER TOOLS. YOU ONLY HAVE A FOURTH DONE, WITH WHAT IS USUALLY DONE WITH POWER TOOLS. IT'S JUST A WHOLE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE. IT'S REALLY ENJOYABLE.

SO DO YOU PLAN ON STICKING IT OUT FOR THE DURATION?

YEAH, I DO. I PLAN TO STAY HERE, HOPEFULLY FOR THE 20 YEARS IT'S GOING TO TAKE TO COMPLETE THE CASTLE AND ALL THE BUILDINGS SURROUNDING IT.

YES, THIS IS MY FIRST TIME, AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S VERY DIFFERENT, AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT I REALLY ENJOY BECAUSE JUST THE HISTORY THING ABOUT IT, AND, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN LEARN SOMETHING DIFFERENT, LEARN THE WAY THEY USED TO DO THINGS IN THE 13th CENTURY. AND YOU USE A LOT OF THE TOOLS AND YOU DO IT THE HARD WAY. AND IT'S REAL -- IT'S REAL INTERESTING.

DOES IT GET TO BE FRUSTRATING MAYBE AT TIMES?

OH, YEAH. YEAH. YEAH, A LOT OF TIMES WHENEVER YOU HAPPEN TO WHITTLE THOSE ROCKS OUT AND -- WIDDLE THOSE ROCKS OUT AND CARVE THEM OUT. SOME OF THEM IT'S EASY AND GOES GOOD, AND SOME OF THEM ARE REALLY STUBBORN AND THEY DON'T WANT TO BUST OUT. YEAH, IT GETS HARD AT TIMES.

DO YOU PLAN TO STICK IT OUT FOR THE DURATION?

YEAH. OH, YEAH. YEAH, I'VE -- I'M HOPING EVERYTHING GOES WELL AND I WILL BE HERE FOR 20 YEARS.

THE JOB OF A BLACKSMITH PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CASTLE.

YEAH, IT'S JUST -- IT KEEPS THE TOOLS SHARPENED UP. MAKE NEW TOOLS WHEN THEY BREAK. I MAKE THE HORSESHOES FOR THE HORSE AND JUST TO KEEP THE CASTLE GOING UP. AND THEN EVERYTHING IS MADE RIGHT HERE.

WHAT SORT OF AN EXPERIENCE HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU, THUS FAR?

GREAT EXPERIENCE. IT'S DIFFERENT THAN THE MODERN TOOLS. GETTING BACK TO THE OLD WAY OF DOING THE ORIGIN AND WORKING OF THE METAL -- FORAGING AND WORKING OF THE METALS.

DO YOU PLAN TO STAY THE DURATION, THE 20 YEARS.

HOPEFULLY. HOPEFULLY. YEAH. RIGHT NOW, THAT'S WHAT I HAVE IN MIND. IT'S DIFFERENT, BUT HOPEFULLY I CAN STAND THE HEAT.

THERE ARE ACTUALLY THREE ASPECTS TO THE OZARK MEDIEVAL FORTRESS PROJECT.

ONE IS SCIENTIFIC, BECAUSE WE HAVE SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS THAT ARE FOLLOWING THE PROJECT SO THAT IT'S AUTHENTIC AND IT'S REAL AND IT FOLLOWS CANONS OF THE 13th CENTURY. IT'S ALSO EDUCATIONAL. IT'S A PERFECT OPEN AIR HISTORY BOOK FOR PEOPLE TO COME OUT, GROUPS, SCHOOLS, ANYBODY TO COME OUT AND LEARN A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HISTORY, ARCHITECTURE, MATH, ART, ALL KINDS OF THINGS. AND IT'S ALSO A HUMAN PROJECT BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR GUYS THAT ARE BUILDING THE CASTLE, BUT WE WILL ALSO HAVE VOLUNTEERS THAT COME AND WORK TOGETHER WITH THE PROFESSIONALS BUILDING THE CASTLE. YOU'VE GOT THE EXPERTS, NOVICES, VOLUNTEERS, EMPLOYEES. IT'S A WHOLE HUMAN INTERACTION. IT GIVES A REAL SPIRIT TO THE PROJECT.

AFTER COMPLETION, PLANS TORE BUILD I MONASTERY OR A CONVENT AND A VILLAGE IN ORDER TO CONTINUE PORTRAYING LIFE IN THE MIDDLE AGES. SO COME AND EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF AN AMAZING FEAT IN THE ARKANSAS OZARKS NORTH OF HARRISON, ONGOING UNTIL THE YEAR 2030. THE MIDDLE AGES IN ACTION, THE LIVING HISTORY BOOK. THE AGE OF CHIVALRY LIVES ON. ♪

350 MILLION YEARS IN THE MAKING WITH FORMATIONS THAT TOTALLY ENGULF YOU. FOR A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE, YOU WILL FIND IT HERE AT BULL SHOALS CAVERNS. SO.

SO AS MINERAL WATER IS COMING THROUGH, IT WILL PICK UP THAT RUST AND LEAVE IT ON THE FORMATIONS. SO IT TAINTED BROWN CLAY, YOU WILL HAVE TANNEN BROWN FORMATIONS. IF YOU GO TO NORTH CAROLINA WHERE THEY HAVE RICH ORE DEPOSITS. I'M SAYING SOIL CONTENT AND THE BED ROCK LEVELS WILL GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE YOU EVER STEP INSIDE ANY CAVE.

BULL SHOALS CAVERNS HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF THE OLDEST CAVERNS IN THE WORLD.

IT'S 350 MILLION YEARS OLD WHICH MEAN IT'S DOES OLD THE CLAIM TO FAME FOR HAVING EVERY KNOWN FORMATION THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES. THE OTHER THING THAT MAKES IT INTERESTING IS THAT IT'S A MUCH MORE TUNNEL-LIKE EXPERIENCE. USUALLY MANY CAVES YOU GO TO, SUCH AS BLANCHARD SPRINGS OR MYSTIC OR COSMIC, THEY ARE MUCH MORE DOME-LIKE EXPERIENCES AND VERY LARGE. I TELL PEOPLE TO APPRECIATE THOSE CAVES FOR THAT SIZE BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WHEN YOU COME TO US, YOU HAVE A CAVE, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY, THAT'S IN YOUR FACE. AS YOU ARE WALKING AROUND, YOU ARE WITHIN INCHES OF THINGS, AS OPPOSED TO SEVERAL FEET FROM THINGS. THE OTHER THING I LIKE ABOUT THIS CAVE IS ITS LOCATION AND A LOT OF PERSONAL HISTORY THAT ATTACHED TO IT. INDIANS UTILIZED IT AS A HOME, ALL THE WAY UP UNTIL THE EARLY SETTLERS MOVED INTO THIS AREA. AFTER THEY LEFT THE AREA, THE SETTLERS TOOK IT OVER FOR STORING SUPPLIES, THINGS LIKE THAT. BY PUTTING LOGS IN A LOCKER SIMILAR TO THAT OF A WILL CORE AND THEN LATER ON DOWN THE ROAD, WOULD YOU HAVE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS UTILIZE IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING GUN POWDER AND TRIAGE, THE REASON IS THE TEMPERATURE. THE HUMAN BODY REACTED WAY BETTER TO THAT, AND THE WORKING CONDITIONS FOR WORKING UNDERGROUND WERE MORE COMFORTABLE THAN WORKING OUTSIDE. AFTER THAT, IT WAS UTILIZED BY MOONSHINERS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER PROHIBITION, JUST FOR SIMPLY HIDING A STILL IN YOUR CAVE INSTEAD OF YOUR BACKYARD. AND AFTER THAT, IT WAS PUT UP FOR TOURISM IN THE '50s.

ALL RIGHT. OUR NEXT POINT OF INTEREST IS ABOVE OUR HEADS, BUT WE ARE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT THESE THREE BEASTIES RIGHT HERE. EACH ONE OF THESE WEIGH APPROXIMATELY 3 TONS PLUS AND CAN SUPPORT UP TO EIGHT TIMES THEIR OWN WEIGHT, WHICH BASICALLY MEANS YOU CAN TAKE MY UGLY BLUE EXPLORER FROM OUT FRONT AND JACK IT UP AND IT WILL OLD ALL THREE WITH NO PROBLEMS.  -- IT WILL HOLD ALL THREE WITH NO PROBLEMS. THEN WE HAVE THIS STONE WATERFALL LOOKING THINGS. ITS COMPLICATED NAME IS FLOW STONE, JUST THINK OF FLOWING STONE. AND BEHIND THIS GENTLEMAN'S HEAD IS CAVE CORAL AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST BEHIND YOU GUYS IN THIS CUBBYHOLE IS A COLUMN. NOW, ALL OF THESE FORMATIONS HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON. THEY ARE MADE FROM CALCITE. THIS COMES TO PASS AS WATER GOES THROUGH TOPSOIL, HITTING POCKETS OF CARBON DIOXIDE, AND SO IT LEACHES AND DISSOLVES AND EVAPORATES AND LEAVES THOSE MATERIALS BEHIND.

THE ONE THING ABOUT BULL SHOALS CAVERNS, IT DOES HAVE AN ABUNDANCE OF WATER.

THE WATER IS SPRING FED TO THE BEST OF MY CURRENT KNOWLEDGE, IT'S 99.32% PURE WITH THE OTHER JUST MINERAL CONTENT. IT'S VERY HEALTHY TO DRINK. THE ONLY PROBLEM IS IT LACKS ITS OWN BIOLOGY. SO BASICALLY, YOU GO DOWN, AS LONG AS YOU ARE NOT BEING FLOODED OUT AND GRAB YOURSELF A CUP OF SOMETHING TO DRINK AND FEEL REFRESHED.

ALONG WITH ALL THE WATER, THERE ARE ALSO SALAMANDERS, CAVE CRICKETS THAT DON'T CHIRP. I GUESS THEY LIKE TO KEEP QUIET IN A CAVE AND, OF COURSE, BATS. INTERESTING THING ABOUT CAVES, YOU CAN VENTURE INTO THE SAME ONE MANY TIMES AND EACH TIME IT'S A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE.

IT'S REFRESHING BECAUSE YOU ARE ALWAYS SEEING SOMETHING NEW. NOT JUST WITH OUR CAVE BUT I HAVE TO SAY ALMOST EVERY CAVE THAT YOU COULD GO TO, YOU CAN GO THROUGH IT 100 TIMES AND THEN IF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AROUND, YOU ARE GOING TO SEE SOMETHING NEW EACH AND EVERY TIME, BECAUSE BELOW GROUND IS SO DIFFERENT FROM ABOVE GROUND.

AND THAT IT IS! I'VE SAID IT BEFORE AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, GOING INSIDE A CAVE IS LIKE GOING TO ANOTHER PLANET.

200 YEARS AGO THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI RIVER VALLEY CONTAINED SOME 24 MILLION ACRES OF BOTTOM LAND HARDWOOD FOREST. TODAY ONLY ABOUT 4 MILLION ACRES REMAIN. OVERFLOW NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE WITHIN THE TRIBUTARY OF OVERFLOW CREEK WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1980 TO PROTECT ONE OF THE LAST REMAINING BOTTOMLAND HARDWOOD FOREST, CONSIDERED VITAL IN MAINTAINING WATERFOWL ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI FLY WAY. (BIRDS CAWING).

IT IS DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE JUST HOW MUCH OF THIS LAND WAS BOTTOM LAND HARDWOOD FOREST.

IT WAS JUST COVERED. THE BIG LAND CLEARING STARTED PROBABLY AROUND THE CIVIL WAR, WHEN THERE WAS LABOR TO CLEAR THE LAND. AND, OF COURSE, THE INDIANS WERE CLEARING LAND HERE ALONG BARTHOLOMEW EVEN BEFORE THEN. THERE WERE VERY LARGE FIELDS CLEARED ALONG THE BAYOU, THAT THEY WERE HIGHER GROUND. THE BAYOU, BARTHOLOMEW, THE SANDY BANKS ARE STILL THE BEST FARMLAND IN THE COUNTY AND THAT'S WHERE MANY INDIAN ARTIFACTS ARE FOUND. STILL QUITE A FEW SIGNS OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION, INDIAN MOUNDS. MANY HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT LEVELED. SOMEWHAT DISTURBED AND ARTIFACTS COLLECTED AND SO ON AND SO FORTH, BUT THERE'S PLENTY OF EVIDENCE THAT THEY WERE HERE, AND MODERN DAY LAND CLEARING STARTED OCCURRING REALLY IN THE 1960s. AND THIS VERY GROUND THAT WE ARE SITTING ON RIGHT HERE, THAT WE ARE STANDING ON RIGHT HERE, WAS MOST LIKELY CLEARED IN THE EARLY '60s.

ABOUT 2,000 ACRES ON THE REFUGE HAVE BEEN REFORESTED WITH THE HARDWOODS THAT ONCE GREW HERE.

THOSE BEING ALL OF THE NATIVE OAKS, WHICH CONSIST OF WATER OAK, WILLOW OAK, POST OAK, IT'S ACTUALLY CALLED DELTA POST OAK DOWN HERE. IT'S A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SPECIES OR SUBSPECIES AND CHERRY OAK. MANY, MANY, MANY OAK SPECIES. ANYONE THAT SAYS THEY KNOW ALL THE OAK TREES IS PROBABLY NOT TELLING YOU QUITE THE TRUTH BECAUSE IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY AND MOST VALUABLE FOR FOOD FOR WATERFOWL PRODUCING THOSE ACRES.

REFUGE MANAGER, LAKE LEWIS, IN TALKING TO US, INADVERTENTLY MENTIONED WHY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES, OVERFLOW INCLUDED ARE REFERRED TO AMERICA'S BEST KEPT SECRET.

MOST PEOPLE FROM STUTGAARD, AND PINE BLUFF ARE NOT AWARE THAT THE REFUGE IS HERE. WE STILL HAVE GREAT DUCK MIGRATIONS. NOTHING QUITE LIKE THEY USED TO BE IN THE OLD DAYS, BUT WE USUALLY HAVE A FULL PARKING LOT WHENEVER WE DO HAVE PLENTY OF WATER AND PLENTY OF DUCKS. THIS YEAR PEOPLE HAD SUCCESS, MORE THAN HALF THE DAYS OF THE SEASON, PEOPLE HAD GREAT SUCCESS DUCK HUNTING IN THE GREEN TIMBER, PRIMARILY MALLARDS ARE THE MAIN SPECIES OF WATERFOWL, AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF GREEN-WINGED TEAL IN THE GREEN TIMBER DOWN HERE. AND LOTS OF WOOD DUCKS AND OCCASIONALLY EVEN A FEW PIN TAILS AND SOME GADWALS. OUT HERE IN THE FIELDS, WE HAVE A DIVERSE ARRAY OF DUCKS. GADWALS, GREEN-WINGED TEALS, BLUE-WINGED TEALS, DIVING DUCKS, PLENTY OF MALLARDS. GADWAL AND MALLARD ARE PROBABLY THE TWO MOST SOUGHT AFTER SPECIES HERE. AND AS WINTER GOES -- AS WINTER COMES TO AN END AND WE EASE INTO THIS TIME OF YEAR, WE START SEEING FEWER DUCKS AS WE HAVE TODAY. WE HAVEN'T SEEN VERY MANY DUCKS BUT THE SHORE BIRDS START MOVING ON THEIR NORTHERN MIGRATION BACK TO CANADA. THAT'S WHAT WE ARE LOOKING OUT HERE ON THIS WETLAND TODAY AT IS A VARIETY OF SHORE BIRDS. THEY ARE FEEDING. THEY WILL FEED STILL THEY JUST CANNOT STAND IT ANY LONGER. THEN THEY WILL PICK UP AND MIGRATE FURTHER NORTH UNTIL THEY LOSE PRACTICALLY HALF OF THEIR BODY WEIGHT AND THEN THEY WILL LOOK FOR OTHER WETLANDS LIKE THIS IN THE MIDWEST, AS THEY MOVE THEIR WAY UP THROUGH THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER VALLEY. AND THEN THEY WILL SET BACK DOWN AND FEED AND THESE ARE VERY, VERY IMPORTANT AREAS, THESE LITTLE SMALL WETLANDS LIKE WE MANAGE RIGHT HERE FOR THESE SHORE BIRDS. AND AS THE SHORE BIRDS LEAVE IN THE SUMMERTIME, THESE -- THESE WETLANDS WILL FILL UP WITH CRAW FISH AND SMALL FISH AND WADING BIRDS WILL COME IN HERE AND OFTEN BE VERY THICK AT TIMES. THIS RIGHT HERE IF WE KEEP IT FULL OF WATER, LIKE WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS SUMMER, IT WILL BE LITERALLY WHITE WITH WHITE EGRETS AND EVEN LATER ON WHITE IBIS, WOOD STORKS, GREAT BLUE HERONS, GREEN HERONS.

IN OTHER WORDS, PLENTY OF WILDLIFE YEAR ROUND FOR EVERYONE TO COME EXPERIENCE AND ENJOY. [ BIRDS CAWING ]

IT IS THE LARGEST SANDSTONE CREVICE AREA IN THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES AND IT HAPPENS TO BE LOCATED AT DEVILS DEN STATE PARK IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS.

WELL, IT'S CERTAINLY A BEAUTIFUL AREA TO COME AND EXPLORE. IT'S QUITE AN ADVENTURE. YOU ARE REALLY ON THE EDGE WHEN YOU COME UP HERE. THE ROCKS TELL A STORY OF THE GEOLOGY OF THE AREA. THESE SAND STONES AND SENDMENTARY ROCKS ARE WHEN THERE WAS A PREHISTORIC OCEAN. WE STILL FIND FOSSIL EVIDENCE OF THAT TODAY. AND SO IT'S BEAUTIFUL TO SEE ALL THE LEICHENS THAT ARE LIVING ON THE ROCKS AND ALL THE HYDRANGEASS AND THE FERNS THAT STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE UP HERE. IT'S A REAL ADVENTURE UP HERE.

THAT'S WHAT WE ARE ON, AN ADVENTURE. THE CREVICE AIR BEGINS BEHIND THE VISITORS CENTER. THIS IS A PART OF THE NATIONAL TRAIL SYSTEM. THE CREVICES ARE ALSO RECOGNIZED BY THE ARKANSAS NATIONAL HERITAGE COMMISSION AS A RARE HABITAT CRITICAL FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES.

THE CREVICES WERE ACTUALLY FORMED AT THE SAME TIME AS THE CAVE, AND THEM BEING IN SANDSTONE THEY WERE NOT DEVELOPED IN WATER, LIKE YOU FIND IN MOST CAVES IN THE WORLD. THESE WERE ACTUALLY CREATED WHEN A CHUNK OF THE PLATEAUS SLID DOWN INTO THE VALLEY AND CRACKED OPEN. THAT'S WHY WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE TWO SIDES YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE HOW THEY FIT BACK TOGETHER. OF COURSE, WE ARE IN THE OZARK PLATEAUS. PLATEAUS ALL THE ROCKS SHOULD BE COMPLETELY HORIZONTAL WITH THE HORIZON BUT WE HAVE A DECLINE IN THE ROCK LAYERS. HAVING THIS SANDSTONE THAT'S PERMEABLE TO WATER, SITTING ON SHALE THAT'S BEEN ERODING AWAY FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS WHICH IS IMPERMABLE TO WATER SET UP JUST THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCE TO HAVE THE SANDSTONE SLIDE DOWN OFF OF THE BLUFF AND CRACK AND BREAK OPEN, CREATING THIS HUGE FRACTURE OR CREVICES THAT WE SEE TODAY.

AS PARK INTERPRETER, REBECCA SPERLOCK AND I MADE OUR WAY DOWN INTO THE CREVICES, YOU CAN SEE HOW WE WERE SWALLOWED UP BY ITS ENORMOUS SIZE.

AS WE GO DOWN, YOU CAN FEEL HOW IT GETS A LITTLE BIT COOLER.

MM-HMM.

AS THAT COLD AIR SINKS. IT'S KIND OF A THERMA CLIMB LIKE YOU WOULD FIND AT A LAKE OR A POND.

WHEN VENTURING DOWN INTO THESE CREVICES, TRY NOT TO STARE TOO LONG AT THE MOSS, LIKE I DID.

AND MANY PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT THE ROCKS, WHEN THEY ARE SPLIT OPEN ARE ACTUALLY ORANGE. SO THEY LOOK GREEN AND GRAY AND BLACK BECAUSE OF ALL THE DIFFERENT LEICHENS AND MOSSES GROWING UP THE SIDES, BUT --

WHOA!

ARE YOU ALL RIGHT THERE?

YEAH. ALL RIGHT. I MADE IT. I'M LOOKING AT THIS MOSS HERE. THAT'S AWESOME.

PRETTY AMAZING.

AND IF YOU REALLY LOOK AT THE TWO SIDES, YOU CAN START TO SEE HOW THEY WOULD FIT BACK TOGETHER. YOU SEE HOW THAT PIECE HANGS OUT?

YEAH, MM-HMM.

AND THEN THERE'S A BREAK IN THAT PIECE. IF WE WERE STRONG ENOUGH, WE COULD PUSH THIS BACK INTO ONE SOLID BLUFF SIDE. AND OBVIOUSLY, THESE DO NOT FILL UP WITH WATER. A LOT OF PEOPLE ASK IF THEY FILL UP WITH WATER EVER, BUT THE ROCKS ARE SO POROUS.

YEAH.

THAT IT GOES RIGHT THROUGH. YOU CAN REALLY SEE ALL THE LAYERS OF TIME DOWN HERE.

YEAH.

SO IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY YOUR ATTEMPT AT A LITTLE CREVICING, SIMPLY GET IN TOUCH WITH ONE OF THE PARK INTERPRETERS AT DEVILS DEN STATE PARK. AND FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION, PLUS MANY OF OUR OTHERS AND TO READ MY BLOG OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEB SITE AETN.ORG/EXPLORINGARKANSAS. AND WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN THE NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE ON "EXPLORING ARKANSAS."

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