Graphic of A E T N Logo Graphic of P B S logo

Exploring Arkansas September 2008

Loading the player…

Longpool Falls, Lake Ouachita Snorkeling, Nars & Skull Bluff
The Longpool Recreation Area in the Ozark National Forest northwest of Dover is well known for its camping and swimming opportunities-but not too many folks are aware of the falls behind the camping area. It's not quite the Caribbean coral reef, but the rock reefs in one of the clearest lakes in the country-Lake Ouachita make for quite a snorkeling outing at Crawdad Island. The "Nars" and Skull Bluff along the middle portion of the Buffalo National River are two very unusual rock formations which are explored in the closing segment.

TRANSCRIPT

LONGPOOL RECREATION AREA NEAR DOVER IS I POPULAR CAMPSITE AREA BUT BEHIND THE CAMPGROUNDS, THERE IS A TRAIL THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO THIS SPECTACULAR SITE, LONG POOL FALLS. AND IT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS WEEK'S SHOW. SO NOW, LET'S EXPLORE LONGPOOL FALLS AREA. THE LONGPOOL RECREATION AREA IS NORTHWEST OF DOVER OFF HIGHWAY 164 IN THE OZARK NATIONAL FOREST. THE AREA IS EXTREMELY POPULAR WITH SPRINGTIME FLOATERS ALONG WITH, OF COURSE, ALL OF THE CAMPING OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE OFFERED HERE. A TRIP TO LONGPOOL IS NOT COMPLETE WITHOUT A HIKE TO THE FALLS. WE JOINED UP WITH OUR FRIEND, KERRY MOORE, OF MOORE OUTDOORS WITH WHOM WE TOOK A RAFTING EXPEDITION ON A PREVIOUS EPISODE. KERRY'S OUTFITTER BUSINESS IS DOWN THE ROAD FROM LONGPOOL.

THE HIKE INTO LONGPOOL FALLS IS NOT A DIFFICULT ONE AT ALL. BEHIND THE LOOP CAMPGROUND AREA THERE IS AN OLD ROADBED TRAIL THAT'S BOLDERRED UP AT THE TRAILHEAD. AT THREE QUARTERS OF A MILE IT WILL TAKE YOU TO THE FALLS. FIRST, YOU WILL COME UPON A CREEK WHERE YOU WILL SPOT A SMALLER WATERFALL FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT AND PICTURE TAKING. AFTER YOU GET YOUR FILL OF LITTLE LONGPOOL FALLS, CONTINUE HIKING UP SCREAM, BEING CAREFUL OF A FEW SLIPPERY SPOTS AND YOU WILL EVENTUALLY REACH A BLUFF LINE. FOLLOW THIS BLUFF LINE WHICH IN ITSELF IS WELL WORTH THE PICTURE TAKING AND AFTER A FEW HUNDRED FEET OR SO YOU WILL COME RIGHT UP TO THE FALLS. THE HEIGHT OF LONGPOOL FALLS IS ABOUT 45 FEET OR SO, BUT ONCE YOU GET UP TO IT, IT SEEMS A WHOLE LOT TALLER. THIS SITE IS JUST ANOTHER PERFECT EXAMPLE OF WHY ARKANSAS IS CALLED THE NATURAL STATE.

WE ARE REAL FORTUNATE -- I'M REAL FORTUNATE TO LIVE WHERE I DO. I THANK THE GOOD LORD EVERY DAY I LIVE WHERE I DO, WATERFALLS LIKE THIS AND THE CREEK FALLS THE GROTTO FALLS, IT'S SUCH A NICE AREA. PEOPLE -- NOT EVERYBODY ENJOYS THE RIVER, AND A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE COME WITH THEM AND THEY HAVE GOT STUFF TO DO BESIDES PADDLE THE RIVER. OTHER PEOPLE ON THE RIVER CAN GO HIKING AND THE PEOPLE THAT PADDLE THE RIVER ON THE OFF DAYS THEY COME AND ENJOY DOING THE SCENIC SCENERY. LONGPOOL IS A FAVORITE CAMPING AREA, BUT NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS FALLS BACK HERE.

WELL, YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED AT THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN CAMPING HERE FOR YEARS THAT DON'T KNOW ABOUT IT. I WILL TELL THEM BA IT AND THEY WILL SAY I HAVE CAMPED HERE 15 YEARS AND NEVER KNEW IT WAS THERE. BUT I THINK THE FOREST SERVICE IS STARTING TO PUT IT IN ITS LIT LITERATURE THAT IT'S HERE.

IN JULY WHEN WE ARE TAPING THIS, THIS IS UNUSUAL. PEOPLE WANT TO SEE THAT AMOUNT OF WATER COMING OVER THE FALLS REALLY FROM MARCH TO MAY.

USUALLY IN EARLY SPRING, NO DOUBT. BY THIS TIME OF THE YEAR IT'S DRIED UP, WE ARE COMPLETELY, THERE IS NOT WATER RUNNING OVER AT ALL. BUT THE LAST TWO YEARS THERE HAS BEEN IN JULY.

IT'S AN AMAZING SIGHT.

IT'S REAL PRETTY.

SO EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF THE LONGPOOL RECREATION AREA, NOT JUST FOR THE CAMPING OR SWIMMING OR FLOATING THE BIG PINEY, BUT FOR THIS, THIS, ANOTHER GEM OF WHY WE ARE SO FORTUNATE TO LIVE IN THIS STATE AND WHY WE MUST CONTINUE TO KEEP IT THE NATURAL STATE.

A GREAT WAY TO ENJOY ARKANSAS' LARGEST LAKE IS TO GO UNDER WATER. LAKE OUACHITA HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF THE CLEAREST LAKES. AND LAKE OUACHITA OFFERS AN UNDERWATER ADVENTURE. YOU WON'T FIND CORAL REEFS HERE, BUT ALL IN ALL, IT'S A GREAT OUTING. LET'S SEE WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT.

THIS IS CALLED KRAWDET ISLAND AND WE ENJOY THIS PLACE BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH CLEAR WATER AND IT GOES DEEP SO YOU CAN SEE DOWN TO THE FISH THAT ARE HERE. THERE ARE USUALLY PRETTY MUCH FISH AND THERE IS ONE THAT'S ELUSIVE A LITTLE BIT CALLED A LOG PERCH. HE IS THIS LONG, THIS BIG AROUND AND HAS STRIPES GOING THIS WAY. IF YOU WRESTLE UP THE WATER TOO MUCH THEY WILL HIDE. SO THAT'S ONE OF THE NEAT THINGS TO TRY TO FIND.

YOU WANT TO SLOW DOWN AND DON'T STIR UP THE WATER.

A FEW YEARS AGO ONE OF OUR SUPERINTENDENTS NOW DECIDED TO PUT THIS TRIP TOGETHER TO THAT PEOPLE COULD GET A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHY WE WANT TO KEEP THIS LAKE SO CLEAN. THIS LAKE IS ONE OF THE CLEANEST LAKES PROBABLY IN AMERICA, AND SURELY IN ARKANSAS. AND THE BEST WAY TO SEE THAT IS TO GET ON THE WATER AND BE ABLE TO LOOK DOWN AT SOME OF THE WILD LIFE AND THE ROCKS THAT WE HAVE HERE. THIS IS AN OLD OCEAN BASIN AND THERE IS A LOT OF SHALE HERE IN LAYERS THAT ATTRACTS CERTAIN KINDS OF FISH. THERE IS ONE LITTLE ELUSIVE FISH WE LIKE TO LOOK FOR CALLED THE LOG PERCH, A LITTLE GUY, TUBULAR SHAPE WITH STRIPES GOING ACROSS. SO I SEND THE CITY OF NEW YORK LETTERS OUT AND THE FIRST WOULDN'TED OUT CAN GET TO HIM. WE HAVE THE BLUE GIL AND PERCH RUNNING AROUND, USUALLY THE SMALLER TYPE, BUT ONCE IN AWHILE A LARGE BASS WILL VISIT. AND THERE IS A MOTH FLYING AROUND HERE. WE EXPLAINED TO THE VISITORS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON'T TAKE CARE OF THE LAKE AND THE HYDRILLA BEGINS TO FILL IN. AND THE FACT THAT IT THREATENS SOME OF THE WILD LIFE HERE. I SAW A LOT OF PERCH AND I SAW -- I THINK I SAW A BASS. IT WAS A PRETTY BIG BASS. IT WAS THAT BIG, AND THEN I THINK I SAW A BABY ONE ABOUT THAT BIG. IT WAS COOL.

IT WAS FUN.

WHAT DID YOU SEE DOWN THERE?

I SAW A COUPLE OF BIG ROCKS.

ANY BIG FISH?

UM-HUM.

BLUE GIL? SUN FISH? BASS?

BASS.

YOU SHOULD HAVE GRABBED ONE.

I COULDN'T, I HAD A LIFE JACKET ON.

DIDN'T SEE ANY STINGRAYS, JELLYFISH? OH, I'M SORRY WRONG BODY OF WATER.

WHAT ELSE DID YOU SEE?

I DID SEE ONE LITTLE BITTY KRAWDAD.

I BELIEVE THAT'S WHAT THIS ISLAND IS CALLED CRAWDAD ISLAND.

SO THERE WERE EIGHT FISH.

YEAH.

MILLIONS OF BIG ROCKS.

YES, THERE ARE PLENTY OF NEAT LIVE LOOKINNEAT-LOOKING ROCKS D.

WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS CONNECT THE PARK VISITORS AND SHOW THEM WHAT THEY OWN. THIS IS THE STATE OF ARKANSAS WHERE WE ALL HAVE A PIECE OF THIS. WE OWN THIS TOGETHER. SO WE WANT THEM TO SHARE IN WHAT WE FOUND AND LET THEM LITERALLY SUBMERGE THEMSELVES IN IT AND HAVE A GOOD TIME. WE DO THE SNORKELING STRIP FOR THAT REASON. THIS IS ONE OF THE FUNNER RECREATIONAL DEALS ALONG WITH KAYAKING AND CAN USIN CAN USING. SNEE AND I GUESS ADULTS GET AS MUCH OF A THRILL AS THE YOUNGSTERS.

THEY LIKE WATCHING THE KIDS GET A THRILL, BUT I WATCH THEM AND THEY HAVE A SMILE ON THEIR FACE TOO. THE ADULTS LOVE IT.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I ACTUALLY SNORKELED. I'M GLAD I WENT ON THE TRIP FOR THAT. IT'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN YOU GO OUT THERE WHEN YOU GO DOWN AND SEE THE FISH EATING OFF THE ROCKS, TRYING TO IDENTIFY THEM ALL. YOU GOT A LOT OF WILDLIFE WHEN I WAS FISHING OFF TO THE RIGHT, THE BEAVER CAME OUT AT NIGHT AND SLAPPED HIS TAIL. I WASN'T SURE WHAT IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING. I THOUGHT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A HUGE SOMETHING. I REALIZE NOW IT'S GOT TO BE A BEAVER THERE. FNLGTHERE.

MY WIFE AND I ARE FROM DES MOINES, IOWA. AND WE CAME DOWN BASICALLY FOR A GOLF VACATION. WE ARE GOING  TO GOLF FIVE TIMES IN SEVEN DAYS AND WE HAVE BEEN TO THE STATE PARK HERE. WE HAVE HOUSEBOATED IT ONE DAY. WE HIKED IT ONE DAY. WE KAYAKED IT ONE DAY, AND NOW WE HAVE SNORKELED IT.

YOU COVERED IT ALL.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S LEFT. SO WE HAVE BEEN HERE FOUR DAYS WE LIKED IT SO MUCH. THE HIKE WAS NICE. THE KAYAK TRIP WAS NICE. THIS SNORKELING IS NICE. IT'S NICE WATER. YOU JUST SIT IN THE WATER, IT'S ALMOST JUST NICE SITTING IN IT AS IT IS SNORKELING.

WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE CLARITY OF THE WATER?

USUALLY AT HOME WHEN YOU COME OUT OF A LAKE, YOU JUST CAN'T WAIT TO GET IN THE SHOWER. AND WE GOT OUT OF HERE AND IT WAS LIKE, BOY, I DON'T KNOW IF I NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER TONIGHT. I WAS IN THE WATER ALL DAY. IT'S NICE. IT'S NICE, CLEAN WATER.

AT HOME YOU GET OUT AND IT'S LIKE A FILM, YOU KNOW, YOU ARE COVERING WITH A FILM OF STUFF.

WELL, THE NATURAL STATE, WHAT CAN WE SAY?

IT'S SURPRISING HOW NATURAL IT IS. IT'S A REALLY GOOD NICKNAME. WE HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE, BUT IT'S AN APPROPRIATE NICKNAME FOR THE STATE.

WHAT'S FOR SUPPER, FISH?

I HOPE NOT.

BIG OLD STEAK? MAYBE?

MAYBE CHICKEN NUGGETS.

IN THE MIDDLE PORTION OF THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER THERE ARE TWO RATHER INTERESTING AND UNIQUE BLUFFS. ONE IS CALLED THE NARS AS THE LOCALS CALL IT AND THE OTHER IS SKULL BLUFF. GOT YOUR INTEREST? WELL, LET'S GO AND EXPLORE THEM. LOCATED WEST OF JAINT SO AND SILVER HILL IN THE MIDDLE PORTION OF THE BUFFALO NEAR THE WOOLUM ACCESS, THE NARS AND SKULL BLUFF YOU COULD SAY ARE THE UNUSUAL ROCK FORMATIONS ALONG THIS RIVER.

WELL, THE NARS IS A VERY NAR, LIMESTONE OUTCROP THAT WAS CREATED BY THE BUFFALO RIVER AND CREEK. THE CREEK IS ON THE SOUTH SIDE AND THE BUFFALO IS ON THE NORTH SIDE AND THEY HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER TO CARVE OUT THIS REALLY RAZOR THIN LIMESTONE OUTCROP THAT WE ARE STANDING ON HERE. AND NOT TOO LONG OF GEOLOGIC TIME. MOST LIKELY THE BUFFALO, WHICH IS ALREADY UNDERCUTTING THIS FORMATION, WILL CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH, AND THEN WE WILL HAVE WHAT WE CALL IS A NATURAL BRID BRIDGE. AND THE WATER WILL PROBABLY FLOW THROUGH THERE AND THEN WHEN WE COME CAN USING DOWN THE RIVER, INSTEAD OF GOING DOWN THE RIVER, WE WILL CUT THROUGH AND BE OVER HERE ON THIS SIDE. IF WE LIVE LONG ENOUGH, WE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THAT. GEOLOGIC TIME THOUGH AS ED MENTIONED, MEANING SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND YEARS, JUST IN CASE YOU WANT TO WAIT AROUND TO SEE ANY SORT OF NATURAL BRIDGE BEING FORMED HERE AT THE NARS. OTHER THAN AN ALL DAY FLOAT TRIP TO GET TO THIS LOCATION, THE OTHER QUICKER WAY IS BY HIKING IN. FOR THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO CROSS THE RIVER AT THE WOOLUM ACCESS AND CONTINUE ON COUNTY ROAD 14 OR WHAT'S LEFT OF IT, FOR 1.2 MILES UNTIL YOU REACH A SLIGHT PULL OFF AREA AT THE BASE OF THE NARS. OR YOU CAN HIKE DIRECTLY TO SKULL BLUFF PAST THE GATE THROUGH A VAST GRASSY FIELD DOWN AN OLD ROADBED.

WHICHEVER WAY YOU CHOOSE TO GET HERE, BY FLOATING OR HIKING, THE ACTUAL TREK UP THE NARS IS QUITE A BIT TRICKY. IT'S LIKE TRYING TO WALK ON TOP OF A HUGE FIN. THE SECRET IS DON'T LOOK DOWN. INSTEAD, KEEP YOUR EYES FOCUSED IN FRONT OF YOU. COMING BACK DOWN IS EVEN TRICKIER. IN SOME SPOTS MANEUVERING BACKWARDS MAY BE THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE OF YOUR FOOTING. THAT WAS KIND OF AN INTERESTING TREK UP THERE. IT KIND OF GETS TRICKY. IN SOME SPOTS IT'S ONLY A COUPLE OF FEET WIDE. A MAFL MIGHT DOWNSTREAM FROM THE NARS IS SKULL BLUFF, LOOKING INDPEED LIKE A HALF SUBMERGED SKUL SKULL.

THIS IS QUITE A UNIQUE FORMATION HERE.

FOR ABOUT A MILE AND A HALF UP FROM WOOLUM AT THIS POINT.

I GUESS THERE IS NOT TOO MANY FOLKS THAT MAKE AS FAR AS THE FLOAT TRIP, IF THEY HAVE TO START ABOUT EIGHT MILES UP RIVER.

RIGHT. THERE IS A TRAIL ON TOP OF THIS THAT EVENTUALLY GOES OVER TO THE NARS. YOU WALK UP THE BACKSIDE OF IT. OF COURSE, THERE IS CAVES UP THERE THAT HAS THE BUZZARDS IN THEM.

THIS WOULD BE A GOOD PLACE FOR SHELTER IN A THUNDERSTORM.

IT WOULD.

WATER COMES AROUND HERE PRETTY SLOWLY. THERE WAS TRASH 20 FEET UP THE BANK. SO WHEN THE WATER COMES THROUGH HERE IT COMES THROUGH HEAVY AND BACK OUT. THE HOUSE CONTAINS A SUBTERRANEAN CHAMBER REACHED BY AN UNDERWATER PASSAGE.

NICE SWIMMING HOLE HERE TOO, NICE SPOT TO -- WITH THE BEACH AND ALL OVER THERE. THIS PART OF THE BUFFALO HAS ITS OWN BEAUTY.

SO HEAD ON OUT TO THE MIDDLE PORTION OF THE BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER NEAR THE WOOLUM ACCESS AND EXPLORE FOR YOURSELF THE NARS AND SKULL BLUFF. FOR MORE ON THIS DESTINATION AND MANY OTHERS AND TO VIEW OUR MAPS OR TO ORDER A COPY OF AN EPISODE, VISIT OUR WEB SITE, www.aetn.org/exploringarkansas/. WE WILL EYOU AGAIN THE NEXT TIME FOR ANOTHER ADVENTURE ON EXPLORING ARKANSAS.

AETN.org > Programs > Exploring Arkansas > Exploring Arkansas September 2008