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Exploring Arkansas May 2014

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Mulberry Valley Falls / Wye Mountain Daffodils / Little Red Trout Fishing / Natural Bridge of Arkansas
In a remote area of the Ozark National Forest between Cass and Oark, along Mulberry Valley and the Mulberry River…is Mulberry Valley Falls – a spectacular three-tier waterfall hidden in the wilderness, and can only be reached by way of bushwhacking. Every spring, folks from all over make their annual pilgrimage to Wye Mountain northwest of Little Rock to view seven acres of more than thirty varieties of daffodils. The Little Red River in Heber Springs is a world-class trout stream where fly-fishing for rainbow trout is therapy for the soul. The Natural Bridge of Arkansas north of Clinton is a rock arch wonder that spans 105 feet and is more than three million years old.

TRANSCRIPT

WE HOOKED UP AGAIN WITH OUR BUDDY BRIAN EMFINGER WHO IS GOING TO TAKE US TO A SUPER WATERFALL IN THE OZARKS. LET'S DO IT BRIAN. OUR FOUR WHEELER ERKSCUTION IS THE LATTER HALF OF THE TRIP TO MULBERRY VALLEY FALLS LOCATED NORTHEAST OF OZARK AND GOING TO PINK TWIST ROAD YOU WILL WANT TO STAY ON THE ROAD TO THE BOTTOM OF THE MOUNTAIN AND COME TO A BARN BY THE MULBERRY RIVER AND WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH A FIELD AND EVENTUALLY TO A DRAINAGE AND YOU CAN BUSH WACK YOUR WAY TO THE FALLS. BRIAN EMFINGER DISCOVERED THIS WATERFALL IN THE SPRING OF 2013 AND NAMED IT MULBERRY VALLEY FALLS.

ABOUT THIS TIME LAST YEAR WE HAD A ARKANSAS PHOTOGRAPHERSES SPRING GATHERING WHERE THEY CAME UP THERE TO EXPLORE THE AREA, KIND OF A BASE CAMP, AND WE WERE EXPLORING AROUND AND THERE IS A TRAIL ALONG THIS BLUFF OVER HERE AND I HEARD A WATERFALL AND NOBODY ELSE HEARD THE WATERFALL AND THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY AND I WAS RUNNING UP AND THERE WAS A WATERFALL HERE. I CAN TELL WHEN THERE IS A WATER WALL BECAUSE OF THE SOUND IT MAKES AND THERE IS A WATERFALL AND WHERE THIS DRAINAGE IS THERE IS ONE TOO AND THIS IS LOWER AND YOU CAN SEE THE RIVER OFF IN THE DISTANCE SO MOST OF THE TIME THE WATERFALLS ARE HUNDREDS OF FEET HIGHER THAN THIS ELEVATION SO WASN'T EXPECTING TO FIND THEM ALONG THIS BLUFF LINE AND A WEEK LATER I HIKED OVER FROM THE FIELD AND PRETTY QUICKLY SAW THIS AMAZING SPOT. IT SEEMS TO FLOW MOST OF THE TIME AND IT'S A WONDERFUL SPOT AND I THOUGHT SINCE THERE IS THIS WONDERFUL VALLEY AND BY THE MULBERRY THAT MULBERRY VALLEY FALLS IS A GREAT NAME.

FAIR WARNING THOUGH DON'T TRY TO VENTURE OUT TO MULBERRY VALLEY FALLS WHEN THE SO-CALLED "DEVIL PLANT" IS GROWING RAMPID IN THE AREA IN THE LATE SPRING.

YES AND UNFORTUNATELY THE MAIN PROBLEM THAT DAY I TOOK MY WIFE. IT WOULDN'T BE A BIG DEAL IF IT WAS JUST ME AND SHE HAS BE COXED OUT TO NATURE ANYWAY AND WE'RE COMING BACK AND CROSSING OVER A TREE AND SHE SAID SOMETHING IS BITING ME AND WITHIN A FEW SECONDS IT TURNED INTO ANGRY SHOUTS AND YELLS AND BY THAT TIME I FEEL IT. IT FELT LIKE FIRANTS WERE ALL OVER MY LEGS AND EVERYWHERE ELSE. IT WAS ACTUALLY MY WIFE WHO FIGURED IT OUT IT WAS A PLANT AND SHE SAW IN THE SUNLIGHT THE LITTLE STINGING NETTLES ON THE PLANT AND YOU KNOW IT'S NOT A LAUGHING MATTER BUT IT WAS FUNNY BECAUSE WE LOOK AROUND AND WE'RE SURROUNDED AND A PATCH OF THIS STUFF. THERE'S NO WAY OUT. SHE'S UPSET AND EVERY STEP WE TAKE -- I GUESS LODGED IN OUR PANTS AND EVERY STEP IT WOULD GO INTO OUR BODY SO IT WAS QUITE THE EXPERIENCE. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS. I CAME HOME. POSTED THE PICTURE OF THE "DEVIL PLANT" ON THE INTERNET AND THEY SAID IT LOOKS LIKE A NETTLE AND THESE THINGS ARE KNOWN AND IT'S MY FIRST EXPERIENCE AND IF YOU COME IN THE SUMMERTIME I WOULD BRING A MACHETE FOR SURE AND THERE IS NO WAY TO GET THERE WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THAT STUFF AND FIRE ANTS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE.

NEEDLESS TO SAY HIS WIFE HASN'T BEEN OUT SINCE THAT SO-CALLED "DEVIL PLANT" ENCOUNTER.

EVERY MARCH FOLKS MAKE THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE 7 ACRES OF SEVEN VARIETIES OF DAV FILLS ON TOP OF WYE MOUNTAIN AND FOR MOST THEY HAVE BEEN COMING HERE FOR AS LONG AS THEY CAN REMEMBER.

I WAS ABOUT SEVEN LAST TIME I REMEMBER, BUT EVERY TIME I COME OUT HERE OH NO MY MOM IS GOING TO TAKE 28 MILLION PICTURES BUT OVERALL IT'S PRETTY AND I LIKE TO BE WITH MY FRIENDS AND GO TO THE WOODS AND HAVING A BLAST.

IT'S KIND OF A NEAT AREA ISN'T IT?

I DIDN'T THINK SO MANY FLOWERS CAN GROW IN ONE PLACE.

YEAH 30 VARIETIES OF DAFFODILS ACTUALLY.

I THOUGHT THERE WAS ONLY ONE. MY MOM SAID I HAVE BEEN COMING SINCE I WAS SIX MONTHS OLD SO I DON'T REMEMBER MUCH SO THE FIRST TIME I REMEMBER IT WAS SEVEN. I REMEMBER THAT ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS PICK THE FLOWERS AND ROLL AROUND IN THEM AND PLAY.

YEAH, IT'S HARD NOT TO PICK THE FLOWERS, ISN'T IT?

JUST A BIT.

I WAS ABOUT TWO YEARS OLD WHEN I CAME OUT HERE.

AND HAVE YOU BEEN COMING OUT PRETTY MUCH EVERY YEAR?

YEAH.

WOW.

THE FIRST TIME I CAME OUT HERE WAS TWO YEARS AGO AND CAME WITH MY MOM AND HER FRIEND AND ALL OF US, EIGHT GIRLS, AND WE COME OUT HERE AND TAKE PICTURES EVERY YEAR. I LIKE IT BECAUSE I LIKE TAKES PICTURES AND BECAUSE WE GET TO SPEND TIME TOGETHER, HANG OUT AS A FAMILY.

ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO MY MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS STILL ALIVE WAS AN ELDER OF THE CHURCH HERE AND SHE GUILTED ME INTO COMING HELPING THE OLDER PEOPLE GET FLOWERS AND IT WAS A LABOR AT FIRST AND THEN I GOT TO ENJOYING IT AND THE HAPPINESS IT SPREAD AND SINCE THEN IT' MY BLOOD NOW AND WE SET UP THE AREAS AND KEEP THE FLOWERS CLEANED UP AND ROWED UP AND EXPLAIN THE STORY OF THE MOUNTAIN.

IS IT A PROBLEM ESPECIALLY WITH THE KIDS OR THE ADULTS FOR THAT MATTER FROM PICKING THEM?

IT'S HARD TO TELL A KID THAT YOU CAN'T PICK A FLOWER BUT WE ALLOW PICKING AT THE LAST WEEK OF THE FESTIVAL BUT WE HAVE TO KEEP SOME HERE FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE FIELD. WE HAVE HAD THE FLOWERS GONE BY A 2:00 O'CLOCK ON A SATURDAY, WANT ONE LEFT IN THE FIELD AND THERE ARE SEVERAL FLOWERS OUT HERE.

THE HISTORY OF THE WYE MOUNTAIN DAFFODIL CENTERS AROUND THE WYE MOUNTAIN CHURCH THAT WAS BUILT WITH NATIVE STONE AND DEDICATED IN 1948 THE SAME YEAR THAT BESSIE "GRANDMA" HARMON AS SHE IS KNOWN AND HER HUSBAND PLANTED THE DAFFODILS WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.

MY HUSBAND PLOWED -- HE WAS 16 YEARS OLD AND NATURALLY WHEN WE GOT MARRIED -- 51, 52, WHATEVER YEAR IT WAS, AND SHE WAS JUST THE NICEST, CALMEST LADY YOU HAVE SEEN IN YOUR LIFE. SHE LIVED RIGHT THERE IN THAT HOUSE. AFTER THEY GOT RID OF THE BIG HOUSE IN THE WOODS THEY WANTED TO BE CLOSER TO THE FLOWERS SO THEY JUST MOVED THERE.

BETTY HARMON HAS WRITTEN A BOOKLET ABOUT THE WYE MOUNTAIN DAFFODILS AS TOLD TO HER BY BESSIE "GRANDMA" HARMON AND THERE IS A COOK BOOK THAT HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY THE CHURCH.

IT'S BEEN A GOOD THING FOR THE CHURCH. WITHOUT THE CHURCH -- I MEAN WITHOUT THESE WE WOULDN'T HAVE A CHURCH BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ABOUT 20 OF US ON A REGULAR BASIS, AND THAT WOULDN'T SUPPORT A PREACHER. WE COULD HAVE A CHURCH BUT WE WOULDN'T HAVE A PASTOR SO THESE KEPT THE CHURCH GOING SO THAT'S WHY EVERY YEAR SOMEONE SAID "WHY DO YOU DO THAT?" . I SAID IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A CHURCH YOU HAVE TO DO IT.

IN FRONT OF THE COTTAGE WITH GRANDMA HARMON AND HER HUSBAND LIVE SIDE THIS INSCRIPTION, "A PLACE TO STOP ON THE WAY TO HEAVEN" AND THAT IT IS.

AS THE MORNING SUN SPARKLES ON THE AREA BOATS GO OUT AND ANOTHER DAY BEGINS AT LINDSEY'S RESORT IN HEBER SPRINGS.

WE HAVE BEEN HERE SINCE 1965. MY GRANDFATHER BILL LINDSEY -- WE ALL CALLED HIM POP AND HIS WIFE AND MY DAD BILLY AND SISTER TERRY CAME HERE IN 1965. POP BOUGHT THE LAND AND HIS DREAM WAS TO HAVE A TROWFT FISHING RESORT AND IT WENT FROM THREE MOBILE HOMES AND SIX CABINS AND CAMPGROUND AND NOW WE HAVE 43 INDIVIDUAL UNITS, A FULL SERVICE CAMPGROUND, RESTAURANTS, ALL OF THAT, AND LIKE YOU WERE SAYING GROWING UP, AND I HAVE BEEN VERY FORTUNATE TO BE PART OF THIS AND MOST KIDS DREAM ABOUT THIS ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR AND I GET TO DO THIS EVERYDAY. I GET TO GO OUT ON THE RIVER THEY LOVE EVERYDAY AND YOU MEET SO MANY WONDERFUL PEOPLE AND IT'S REALLY -- I CAN'T DESCRIBE HOW BLESSED I HAVE BEEN TO BE BORN INTO THE FAMILY I WAS SO IT'S BEEN PRETTY AMAZING. .

NOW THE LITTLE RED IS A WORLD CLASS TROUT STREAM AND THE WORLD RECORD ONE WAS CAUGHT HERE ABOUT 40 POUNDS AND I HAVE THE NET HERE FOR THE NEXT ONE. RIGHT? THIS PARTICULAR DAY OUR GUIDE COLTON LINDSEY WANTED MY WIFE AND I TO USE THE TRADITIONAL FLY FISHING METHOD IN LANDING A TROUT.

WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE USING TODAY IS A SAL BUG. IT'S WHAT GROWS IN THIS MOSS. THIS IS THEIR MAIN DIET. BASICALLY FOR THIS YOU CAN BUY THEM READY OR TIE THEM MYSELF. I TIE ALL MY FLIES. YOU TAKE THE THREAD AND PUT THE BEAT HEAD ON. WE USE A 16 HOOK AND DUBBING AROUND IT AND THIS IS A OLIVE GREEN BLUE DUPING. THIS IS MY PREFERRED COLOR. WE CALL IT A CHRONIC AND YOU TAKE THAT DUBBING AND WRAP IT AROUND AND TIE IT OFF AND YOU HAVE A FLY. IT TAKES 30 SECONDS AND EASY. THEY'RE PRODUCTIVE. IT'S WHAT THE FISH EAT AND YOU BASICALLY TAKE IT -- WE'RE USING SIZE 6X TIBIT TODAY AND THE SIZE OF THE LINE AND NORMALLY ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF TWO AND A HALF POUNDS NORMALLY, SO YOU TAKE IT, TIE IT ON HERE. WHICHEVER KNOT YOU PREFER. WE DO OFFER CLASSES. WE OFFER CASTING INSTRUCTION AND FLY TYING INSTRUCTION. NORMALLY WE DO IT WITH 2-3 PEOPLE IN THE CLASS AND WE DO OFFER THAT HERE AS WELL THE GUIDED SERVICES AND ALL OF THAT. WE OFFER SHORE LUNCHES, BUT WE HAVE DONE SEVERAL TYING CLASSES AND CASTING LESSONS SO THAT IS SOMETHING NEW WE IMPLEMENTED.

THE BOAT WE HAPPEN TO BE IN IS ESPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR FLY FISHING.

THIS ACTUALLY IS A SHAWNEE BOAT. IT'S MADE IN ARKANSAS AND HE'S A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY AND HE'S DONE SEVERAL BOATS FOR US AND YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT THE SET UP WITH THE OARS. INSTEAD OF USING A TROLLEY MOTOR MOST TALK ABOUT BUT I CAN KEEP US WHERE WE WANT AND THIS WILL RUN OUT OF THE BATTERY AND IT WORKS THE OARS AND IT WORKS OUT GREAT.

AND WHAT WORKS OUT EVEN GREATER IS CATCHING TROUT. OH! LOOKY HERE NOW.

ALL RIGHT.

LOOKY HERE.

ALL RIGHT.

THERE YOU GO. (INAUDIBLE).

NOT TOO SHABBY.

NOT TOO SHABBY.

NOT ALL THE DAYS THOUGH HAVE RESULTED IN HAPPY FISH STORIES FOR THE LINDSEYS HERE ON THE LITTLE RED. WHAT HAPPENED ON CHRISTMAS IN 2012 TURNED OUT TO BE A STORY OF FAITH WHICH LEAD TO AN ARTICLE THAT COLTON WROTE FOR CHRISTIAN HUNTER & ANGLERS MAGAZINE.

OUR DOCK COLLAPSED ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT, AND THAT'S BASICALLY OUR LIVELIHOOD IS ALL IN THAT DOCK, AND WE HAD A FOOT OF SNOW AND 6 INCHES OF ICE AND 50-MILE AN HOUR WINDS AND BASICALLY TOOK EVERYTHING DOWN. SANK ALL OF OUR BOATS AND WE CAME DOWN AT MIDNIGHT ON CHRISTMAS DAY JUST TO UTTER DEVASTATION AT THE BOAT DOCK, AND THEY CAME TO MY DAD A FEW MONTHS AGO AND SAID WE WANT YOU TO DO AN RECALL ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, AND DAD KNOWING I LOVE TO WRITE AND ALWAYS HAVE HE TOLD ME HE WANTED ME TO DO IT, AND I NEVER DID A SENTIMENTAL PIECE LIKE THAT AND IT WAS FUN BUT IT WAS A STRUGGLE TO WRITE AND AT THAT TIME I WAS A LITTLE ANGRY TO LET SOMETHING -- I ALMOST FELT LIKE I WAS A LITTLE MAD AT GOD SO I KIND OF WANTED TO SHOW THAT IN THE ARTICLE AND FAITH IS TESTED ALL THE TIME AND IT'S GOD WHO COMES IN AND JUST TAKES YOUR HAND AND SAYS "I GOT YOU MAN" AND I KIND OF WANTED TO SHOW THAT IN THE ARTICLE BUT IT WAS A LOT OF FUN TO WRITE. I WAS VERY FORTUNATE TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT . IT WAS A TRUE MIRACLE. WE DIDN'T TELL HARDLY ANYONE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THE SECOND DAY AFTER WE'RE TRYING TO CLEAN THIS UP THERE ARE 30 VOLUNTEERS, ALL OF OUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, EXTENDED FAMILY, EVERYBODY CAME DOWN AND SAID WE'RE GOING TO GET THIS THING DONE. YOU SHOULD HAVE CALLED US EARLIER. WE'RE FAMILY. WE'RE HERE TO HELP AND IT WAS VERY COOL TO SEE THAT.

WHILE DRIVING ALONG HIGHWAY 65 NORTH OF CLINTON YOU HAVE SEEN THE SIGN AND NEXT TIME DON'T JUST DRIVE BY AND CHECK IT OUT. IT WILL BE WELL WORTH YOUR WHILE. WE WILL KEEP YOU IN SUSPENSE THOUGH FOR JUST A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE BEFORE GETTING TO THE AREA ITSELF THERE ARE REALLY NEAT THINGS YOU MUST CHECK OUT AT THE ENTRANCE. TWO AUTHENTIC LOG CABINS BUILT IN THE 1800'S AND REASSEMBLED HERE AND THE FIRST ONE IS WHERE A FAMILY OF SIX MADE THEIR HOME AND NOW IS A GIFT SHOP. THE SECOND CABIN IS FURNISHED LIKE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BACK IN THE DAY. SINCE THIS RUGGED AREA WAS REPORTEDLY WHERE OUTLAW BELLE STARR WOULD HANG OUT IN THE SECOND CABIN IS AWARD POSTER FOR HER AND HER HUSBAND'S APPREHENSION DEAD OR ALIVE. NOW FINALLY THE NATURAL BRIDGE OF ARKANSAS WHICH BY THE WAY ISN'T THE ONLY NATURAL BRIDGE IN THE STATE BECAUSE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS WE HAVE BEEN TO AT LEAST TWO OR THREE OTHERS BUT THIS ONE IS IMPRESSIVE TO SAY THE LEAST. 105 FEET IN LENGTH, 30 FEET HIGH AND IS BELIEVED TO BE MORE THAN 3 MILLION YEARS OLD.

THE BRIDGE ITSELF WAS USED BY THE EARLY SETTLERS TO GET TIMBER ACROSS, MOSTLY WHITE OAK AND WAS USED FOR BARREL STAYS AND RAILROAD TIES AND UP TO ABOUT 1920 THIS WAS AN EASY WAY TO GET THE TIMBER OUT AND USE HORSES AND MULES AND SOME OX THAT WOULD DRAG THE TIMBER ACROSS THE BRIDGE AND THEY WOULD WORK IT OUT OF THE HAULER AND MOST WENT TO LESLIE, A LITTLE TOWN NORTH OF HERE. IT WAS A BOOMTOWN AND ALMOST BECAME THE STATE CAPITOL AT ONE TIME BUT WHEN THE TIMBER DIED DOWN IT SLOWED DOWN BUT IT'S FREQUENTED BY THE LOCALS AND A GOOD PLACE TO HANG OUT AND SPLASH IN THE WATER A BIT. THIS IS USED FOR ALL OCCASIONS AND WEDDINGS AND FAMILY GATHER DISBLTION WE CAN TELL FROM THE PICTURES AND QUITE A GATHERING PLACE ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS.

YEAH IT WAS A GREAT PLACE BUT IN 1920 IT QOT GOT QUIET AND THE FARMERS TRIED TO FARM HERE AND SOME TRIED MOON SHINE AND STILLS THAT WERE FOUND IN THE WOODS USED MANY, MANY YEARS AGO.

SEEING THIS NATURAL BRIDGE OF ARKANSAS FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU'RE FROM CANADA TELL US YOUR REACTION?

WOW, IT'S JUST AN AMAZING MASTERPIECE. I AM JUST AMAZED HOW IT WAS FORMED AND HOW IT COULD BE USED TO HAUL WOOD AS WELL AS MOON SHINE RUNNING AFTER THE FOREST WAS EMPTY. IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU SAW THAT SIGN OFF THE HIGHWAY? WHAT WERE YOU ENVISIONING IT WOULD LOOK LIKE? >>I WAS ENVISIONING A WOOD COVERED BRIDGE IS WHAT I WAS ENVISIONING, NOT ROCK, BUT BEING IN ARKANSAS ROCK WOULD BE THE FORMATION OF THE LAND.

ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN CANADA?

NEVER. I NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT.

IT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIVE, THIS WHOLE STATE, PRETTY REMARKABLE. JUST HARD TO BELIEVE IT'S 3 MILLION YEARS OLD FOR ONE THING AND HAUL TREES ACROSS IT AND HELD UP TO IT.

WHEN YOU SAW THE SIGN OFF OF THE HIGHWAY THERE WHAT DID YOU ENVISION IT WOULD MAYBE LOOK LIKE?

TREES ACTUALLY. I DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE ROCK.

IT'S ALMOST YOU'RE LOOKING AT IT AND WONDER HOW IS IT SUPPORTING ITSELF?

YEAH. IT'S INCREDIBLE WHAT NATURE CAN DO I GUESS.

IT'S AMAZING TO SEE THAT HOW THE ROCKS ARE JUST BRIDGED ACROSS THERE. IT LOOKS LIKE IT COULD FALL AT ANY TIME. IT'S BEEN THERE FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS I AM SURE.

WHAT DID YOU ENVISION IT WOULD LOOK LIKE?

WELL, I DIDN'T HAVE ANY THOUGHTS PREVIOUSLY BUT IT'S SIMILAR TO WHAT I GUESSED IT WOULD LOOK LIKE, A BIG ROCK.

PRETTY AMAZING, ISN'T IT? IT IS TRULY AMAZING AND WORTH WHILE TAKING THE EXTRA TIME TO DRIVE DOWN THIS VALLEY AND EXPERIENCE IT.

SO EXPLORE FOR YOURSELF THE NATURAL BRIDGE OF ARKANSAS NORTH OF CLINTON AND FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION PLUS MANY OF OUR OTHERS OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AETN.ORG /"EXPLORING ARKANSAS" AND WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME ON AN ANOTHER EXCITING ADVENTURE OF "EXPLORING ARKANSAS".

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