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Exploring Arkansas November 2009

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Mountain Biking Cane Creek, Trail Riding-Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Jack Creek Recreation Area
The Cane Creek Lake Trail at Cane Creek State Park near Star City offers a unique mountain biking adventure through rolling terrain which includes suspension and timber bridges. The open range experience of the old West can be accomplished with a breakfast cookout trail ride at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch near Jasper pAcapulco style cliff diving into a natural pool is a popular activity at the Jack Creek Recreation Area in the Ouachita National Forest south of Booneville.

TRANSCRIPT

CANE CREEK STATE PARK NEAR STAR CITY. THE LAST TIME WE WERE HERE, WE TOOK A LITTLE KAYAKING EXCURSION ON CANE CREEK LATE. THIS TIME WE ARE GOING TO DO SOME MOUNTAIN BIKING AND TRAIL RIDING AT HORSESHOE CANYON RANCH NEAR JASPER AND CLOSE IT OUT AT JACK CREEK RECREATION AREA IN THE OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST SOUTH OF BOONVILLE. NOW, LET'S HIT THE MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAIL HERE AT CANE CREEK STATE PARK! ♪ [ MUSIC ]

CANE CREEK STATE PARK IS LOCATED 5 MILES EAST OF STAR CITY, ALONG HIGHWAY 293. ROAMING HILLS AND THICK HARDWOOD FOREST IS NOT THE KIND OF TERRAIN THAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO FIND IN SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS WHILE MOUNTAIN BIKING BUT THESE ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CANE CREEK LAKE TRAIL. THE REASON THERE'S SUCH VARIED TERRAIN HERE AT CANE CREEK STATE PARK IS ITS LOCATION, BEING ON THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN TWO DIFFERENT ECOLOGICAL AND GEOLOGICAL WORLDS. THIS MULTI USE TRAIL PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE BOTH, THE TIMBER LANDS OF THE WEST GULF COASTAL PLAIN AND THE FOREST OF THE MISSISSIPPI ALLUVIAL PLAIN, BETTER KNOWN AS THE DELTA.

THERE AREN'T ANY BACKPACKING OR MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS IN SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS. SO OUR PARK SUPERINTENDENT, MIKE WILSON, HE JUST WANTED TO FIND A TRAIL IN THIS AREA. HE WANTED ONE IN OUR PARK. HE SAW THE NEED, AND SO HE FOUND A GRANT THROUGH THE ARKANSAS HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT AND HE GOT A TRAILS GRANT, ALONG WITH -- IT WAS STATE PARKS WORKING WITH THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND FISH COMMISSION, AND THEY WORKED TOGETHER AND THEY BUILT THIS TRAIL WHICH IS 15.5 MILES LONG ALL AROUND CANE CREEK LAKE. IT WAS BUILT MOSTLY BY VOLUNTEERS. WE HAD 550 VOLUNTEERS WORKING ON THIS TRAIL WHO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. IT'S A LOT OF WORK. THERE ARE A LOT OF BRIDGES. LOTS OF BRIDGES. WE ACTUALLY WANTED SUSPENSION BRIDGES. WE HAVE THREE OF THOSE AND COUNTLESS OTHER SMALL BRIDGES TO GO ACROSS. IT WAS QUITE AN UNDERTAKING, NOT TO MENTION WE HAVE TWO SHELTERS LIKE THIS ON THE TRAIL.

YES, WHAT IS THE -- TELL US ABOUT THE SHELTERS. I MEAN, THEY ARE QUITE -- THEY ARE NOT JUST, YOU KNOW, LITTLE MAKESHIFT THINGS.

NO. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL TO START WITH. I THINK THEY ARE REALLY BEAUTIFUL ON THE TRAIL. THEY DON'T -- YOU KNOW, THE TRACK IS FROM THE NATURAL BEAUTY IN THE AREA. AND WE HAVE TWO OF THESE SHE WILLERS ON THE TRAIL THAT PEOPLE ARE WELCOME TO COME AND USE FOR THE PUBLIC. YOU JUST CALL THE PARK AND SINCE WE ONLY HAVE TWO, IT'S JUST SMART TO MAKE A RESERVATION BECAUSE IT'S POSSIBLE THEY BOTH COULD BE FULL. CALL THE PARK. IT'S FREE, BUT YOU DO NEED A PERMIT TO COME OUT TO THEM.

YOU CAN CAMP HERE. THERE'S A CAMP FIRE PIT HERE.

YES. WE HAVE THE TABLE FOR YOU, THE CAMP SHELTER WHERE YOU CAN JUST TAKE YOUR SLEEPING BAG UP IN THERE AND THEN THERE'S A FIRE PIT. IT'S ALL RIGHT HERE. YOU JUST WALK IN OR BIKE IN AND THEN IT'S HERE FOR YOU, AND A GREAT SPOT OUT OF THE -- OUT OF THE WEATHER.

SO IF YOU WANT TO DO A LITTLE -- LIKE A FAMILY OUTING, MOUNTAIN BIKING AND CAMPING, YOU DON'T EXACTLY HAVE TO ROUGH IT. YOU'VE GOT THIS BEAUTIFUL FACILITY HERE.

EXACTLY. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BRING -- YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BRING A TENT WITH YOU, WHICH CAN WEIGH A LOT IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SMALLER TENT FOR BACKPACKING. IT'S JUST A GREAT SPOT TO COME IN, AND IT'S -- I THINK THIS TRAIL IS A PERFECT TRAIL TO COME ON, IF YOU ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT, DO I WANT TO BE A BACKPACKER. YOU ALREADY HAVE THE SHELTER HERE. IT'S ONE LESS STEP YOU HAVE TO TAKE. YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST A GREAT TRAIL TO TROT TRY, EVEN IF YOU A BEGINNING MOUNTAIN BIKER OR HIKER. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO HIKE IT ALL IN ONE DAY. YOU CAN JUST HIKE THE WHOLE TRAIL IN ONE DAY. ♪ [ MUSIC ]

THE CAMPING SHELTERS, IN FACT, ARE REMINISCENT OF THE SAME TYPE OF STRUCTURES BUILT BY THE CIVILIAN CONVERSATION CORPS DURING THE EARLY YEARS OF THE STATE PARK.

EXACTLY. IT IS. AND I JUST LOVE THAT IT'S A BEAUTIFUL SHELTER. IT'S NOT LIKE SOMETHING THAT WAS JUST THROWN TOGETHER TO KEEP PEOPLE OUT OF THE RAIN.

YEAH.

IT'S REALLY AN ASSET TO THE TRAIL. ♪ [ MUSIC ]

THE SINGLE TRACK TRAIL IS FOR MOUNTAIN BIKING AND HIKING ONLY. ATVs AND HORSES ARE NOT ALLOWED. THE TRAIL RANKING IS EASY TO LIGHT/MODERATE AND OFFERS AN EXCITING RIDE FOR BOTH NOVICES AND EXPERIENCED MOUNTAIN BIKERS. THE MANY BRIDGES ALONG THE WAY DO KEEP THE RIDE EXCITING, ESPECIALLY ON THE SUSPENSION BRIDGES, WHICH IF YOU ARE NOT USED TO TRAVERSING THEM CAN PRESENT AN EXTRA ADDED CHALLENGE. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS CONTROL YOUR BIKE IN A SAFE MANNER, NOT IN THIS BANNER.

WHOA!

YEP, IF YOU ARE NOT USED TO RIDING A BIKE ON A SWAYING SUSPENSION BRIDGE, YOU WILL FEEL LIKE YOU ARE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN IN LEARNING HOW TO RIDE A BIKE. I THINK I WILL KEEP IT ON SOLID GROUND FROM HERE ON IN. [ CHEERS ]

THE MAIN TRAIL HEAD FOR THE CAIN CREEK TRAIL HEAD IS LOCATED IN THE STATE PICNIC AREA, WHERE YOU CAN SIGN IN AND SIGN OUT. OTHER ACCESS POINTS WITH PARKING AREAS ARE AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE 15.5-MILE ROUTE. AND WHETHER YOU MOUNTAIN BIKE OR HIKE THIS TRAIL, BE SURE TO BRING ALONG PLENTY OF WATER AND SNACKS. ALSO, MONITOR THE WEATHER AND DRESS APPROPRIATELY. ♪ [ MUSIC ]

SO ENJOY IT FOR YOURSELF, THIS UNIQUE TRAIL WHERE TWO NATURAL LAND FORMS MEET AND, OF COURSE, WE CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH TO HELP PROTECT THE PARK LAND THAT IS YOURS. IF EACH OF US DOES OUR PART AND LEAVES NO TRACE, THEN IT'S POSSIBLE FOR THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO USE THE NATURAL STATE'S TRAILS TO LEAVE THESE NATURAL AREAS JUST AS THEY FOUND THEM, BACK COUNTRY THAT'S PRISTINE AND REMARKABLE WITH A SINGLE PATH ROAMING THROUGH IT. ♪ [ MUSIC ]

WHOA!

ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? [ BIRDS CAWING ]

FOR A TRUE COWBOY OR A COWGIRL WESTERN EXPERIENCE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO ALL THE WAY OUT WEST. YOU CAN STAY RIGHT HERE IN THE NATURAL STATE AT HORSESHOE CANYON RANCH NEAR JASPER. HEAD 'EM OUT AND MOVE 'EM OUT! IS THAT WHAT THEY SAY? ♪ [ MUSIC ]

TO GET A REAL TASTE OF THE OLD WEST AND HOW LIFE WAS ON THE OPEN RANGE, WE SET OUT ON ONE OF HORSESHOE CANYON'S BREAKFAST COOKOUT TRAIL RIDES. RIDE 'EM HIGH, PILGRIM. RIDE 'EM HIGH! ♪ [ MUSIC ]

WE STARTED ABOUT 12 YEARS AGO WITH WE OPENED UP. AMY AND I MET AT A RANCH WORKING IF WYOMING WHEN WE WERE GOING TO COLLEGE AT BYU. SO I'M FROM ARKANSAS AND I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING A LITTLE CLOSER TO HOME. AMY WAS NICE ENOUGH TO COME WITH ME AND WE HAVE BEEN HOSTING FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES FOR -- THIS IS OUR 12t 12th SEASON NOW. SO PEOPLE DO A LOT OF RIDING, A LOT OF ROCK CLIMBING AND DO SOME CANOEING, COOKOUTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

IMAGINE FAMILIES SHARING OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES. WHAT A NOVEL IDEA! AND FAMILIES DO COME HERE NOT JUST FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, BUT FROM OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL, SAY, FRANCE.

SO WE HAVE BEEN ONE WEEK BEFORE COMING HERE, IN TEXAS TO MY BOYFRIEND'S MOTHER'S. NOW WE ARE HERE. THREE NIGHTS RIDING. IT'S WONDERFUL. IT'S PERFECT.

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING LIKE THIS HORSEBACK RIDING OR KIND OF RANCH IN FRANCE?

I DON'T THINK WE HAVE IT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. MAYBE FOR ONE DAY OR TWO YOU CAN COME AND RIDE, BUT I DON'T THINK -- WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE, I THINK FOR A RANCH OR THIS TYPE OF LANDSCAPE.

YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO MISS YOUR EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU --

YEAH. YEAH. YEAH. OF COURSE.

THE RANCH OWNERS BARRY AND AMY JOHNSON, IT IS ALL ABOUT MAKING LIFE LONG FRIENDS.

YEAH. THAT'S THE PERK OF THE RANCH. PROBABLY THE BEST THING IS MEETING THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE AND MEETING EVERYONE FROM ALL OVER, AND HAVING FRIENDSHIPS, TO REALLY ENJOY SOCIALIZING WITH PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY AND JUST THE --

THE WORLD.

THE WORLD. ♪ [ MUSIC ]

SO THIS IS THE SECOND TIME I'M HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. I WAS HERE IN TEXAS SIX YEARS AGO TO SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS. WE HAVE DONE IT AGAIN THIS YEAR. WE WENT TO TEXAS AND NOW ARKANSAS. SO IT'S MY FIRST TIME HERE.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ARKANSAS?

IT'S GREAT. IT'S AMAZING BECAUSE THERE IS NOT -- WE ARE NOT AROUND A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE.

YOU GET A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE TRUE AMERICAN COWBOY.

YES. I AM NOW.

YEAH, YOU ARE A REGULAR JOHN WAYNE!

MAYBE.

I DON'T HAVE MY PISTOL.

CAN YOU SAY, "WHAT DO YOU SAY, PILGRIM?"

WHAT.

CAN YOU SAY, "WHAT DO YOU SAY, PILGRIM?"

I DON'T KNOW.

BUT EVERYONE DOES UNDERSTAND A HEARTY COWBOY BREAKFAST. YEAH, THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT RIGHT HERE, I'M TELLING YOU WHAT. A NICE COWBOY BREAKFAST. CHARGE UP YOUR BATTERIES. HASH BROWNS, EGGS, HAM, MM-MMM! MIGHTY FINE! ♪ [ MUSIC ]

WELL, THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT ARKANSAS. IT'S ABOUT SOMETHING REAL. THE WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN SEEMS SO VIRTUAL, WHETHER YOU ARE GAMING OR BEING ONLINE ALL THE TIME. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S TANGIBLE, THE SMELL OF LEATHER AND THE HORSES AND THE VIEWS AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN SEE AND TOUCH AND FEEL. AND, REMEMBER, IT'S A REAL EXPERIENCE THAT WE LIKE TO GIVE PEOPLE. ♪ [ MUSIC ]

SINCE THE SURROUNDING BLUFFS MAKE FOR IDEAL ROCK CLIMBING, A DEMO IS USUALLY GIVEN AFTER THE BREAKFAST COOKOUT.

OH, MY GOSH. [ APPLAUSE ] ♪ [ MUSIC ]

WELL, I'M NOT REALLY SUPPOSED TO LET MY HORSE EAT, BUT, YOU KNOW, HE'S HUNGRY. HE WANTS LUNCH TOO. I THINK IT'S ABOUT TIME WE HEAD ON DOWN TO THE TRAIL, AND DOWN TO THE BARN AND MOSEY ON OUT OF HERE INTO THE SUNSET. COME ON, MAX. QUIT EATING. QUIT EATING, BOY! ♪ [ MUSIC ] ♪ [ MUSIC ] [ BABBLING BROOK ]

PRISTINE, PICTURESQUE BEAUTY AT OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST. IF IT'S PEACE AND QUIET YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, IT'S ALL HERE. TO GET TO JACK CREEK RECREATION, GET ON HIGHWAY 16 FOR FOUR MILES AND FOREST ROAD 141 FOR ONE MILE. SCENIC OVERLOOKS AND RUGGED ROCK BLUFFS IS WHAT THIS AREA IS KNOWN FOR, WITH THE NATURAL POOL BEING THE HIGHLIGHT. A COMBINATION OF ALL THE ABOVE MAKES FOR THE NEXT BEST THING TO ACAPULCO-TYPE CLIFF DIVING ARKANSAS STYLE. AS THE SIGNS WARN, THOUGH, EXTREME CAUTION IS URGED. DIVING FROM TOO HIGH OF A LEVEL IS NOT RECOMMENDED, AND ALWAYS DIVE FEET FIRST. AND IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY YOUR SKILL AT SOMETHING ELSE HERE AT JACK CREEK, SOMETHING THAT'S A LITTLE BIT SAFER, THERE IS A HORSESHOE PIT. IF HORSESHOES AREN'T YOUR THING, THE CREEK IS FULL OF SMALLMOUTH BASS AND PERCH, SO DON'T GET TO BRING YOUR FISHING POLE.  -- DON'T FORGET TO BRING YOUR FISHING POLE! THE JACK CREEK RECREATION AREA HAS BEEN ENJOYED BY MANY A FOLK FOR MANY A YEAR, SUCH AS JOYCE FRANKLIN WHO REMEMBERS COMING HERE DURING HER EARLY TEEN YEARS.

WHEN WE FIRST COME DOWN HERE, MY PARENTS, MY MOM'S FAMILY USED TO COME DOWN HERE FOR OUR FAMILY GATHERING, UP HERE IN THIS PAVILION UP HERE AND WE WOULD ALL GET ON HERE. THERE WAS A WHOLE SLEW OF US AND WE WOULD ALL GET IN THIS WATER. AND IT WAS WAY ON UP HERE, COMPARED TO WHERE IT IS NOW, BUT WE WOULD ALL GET ON THE INNER TUBES, FLOAT AROUND, AND IF YOUR FEET DIDN'T TOUCH THE GROUND, YOU WERE IN TROUBLE!

SO SOME GOOD TIMES HERE?

YEAH. WE DID HAVE GOOD TIMES. MM-HMM. I ENJOYED IT BECAUSE WE LIVED IN SUG GROVE AND WE WOULD COME UP HERE.

I GUESS 4th OF JULY PICNICS WERE POPULAR HERE.

THEY WERE.

THE BEST WAY TO SEE WHAT THE JACK CREEK AREA HAS TO OFFER IS TO TAKE THE HALF MILE SCENIC LOOP TRAIL. THIS TRAIL WILL LEAD YOU UP AND OVER THE ROCK BLUFFS AND TO THE SCENIC OVERLOOKS WE MENTIONED EARLIER. SO FROM HIKING TO SWIMMING TO PITCHING HORSESHOES OR IF ONLY TO CATCH A FEW FISH FOR THE FRYING PAN, THE JACK CREEK RECREATION AREA IN THE OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST COME HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR EXPLORING ARKANSAS DESTINATIONS. ♪ [ MUSIC ] ♪ [ MUSIC ]

SO CHECK OUT JACK CREEK RECREATION AREA, IN OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST SOUTH OF BOONVILLE. DEFINITELY WORTH MORE THAN ONE VISIT. 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." ♪ [ MUSIC ]

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