I'll start my first "Going Places" Label with one of my favourite places in my home state. Lost Valley is a small state park in Northern Arkansas. This neat little hike is tucked away in the western part of the Buffalo River National Park. There are plenty of awesome rock formations and several "glades" with waterfalls.
Past this area is the first "real cave"...this a small lava-tube, with a small channel of water coming through it...this one goes back about 300ft., and ends in a small room, before the lava tube get's to small. A rather interesting (if somewhat cramped) spelunking experience. Make sure you're not claustrophobic!!!
As you get to the back of the trail you'll come to "Cob's Cave", named for all the corn cob's they found that the Native Americans left, when they abandoned the Gargantuant overhang...this place is big enough for a small village!!! The green cirle is my sister...this gives you an idea how big the the cave is!!!
Then you get to the main attraction...Lost Valley Falls. As you get to the back of the valley, you'll notice the trail veers off in two directions (with Cob's Cave to the right). If you want to get to the main cave, you'll have to take the high-road...Literally!!! Following the trail that goes up to the left will take to you the main cave...but be careful, as the trail itself is pretty steep, with lot's of loose rock...not too bad...just make sure you cling to the left side of the rock face. Once there, you'll have to navigate your way into the cave entrance, with lot's of water, and some slick areas...just check your footing as you go. Break out your flashlight or headlamp and make your way to the back!!! About half way back, the cave narrows to a big mouth...about 14ft. wide, but only 2-3ft. tall...at which point you'll have to crawl (this is where those knee/elbow pads come in handy) for about 50 ft. Then, it opens to a small pool, into a big cistern about 75' tall, with a waterfall coming from a hole in the ceiling!!! There's a better way to get to the back, where you don't have to crawl, but it's hard to find...it is on the right side of the cave before the mouth...much easier if you can find it!!!
Well, if this inspires at least one person to go see this wonderful piece of God's creation, then it will have served it's purpose...if not, enjoy the story and the pic's, and check out my next "Going Places" post next week...until then, ciao!!!
Here's my recommended gear list for this trip:
- Flashlight/Headlamp...or both!!! (waterproof recommened...see Pelican Lights)
- Camera (who wouldn't?)
- Shoes with good grip
- Knee/Elbow pads (recommended...not necessary though)
- Gloves (I prefer flight gloves...other than being light and breathable, they still protect your hands with out holding alot of water)
- Backpack (for all your gear)
- Water (in your pack), or Camel Back...Arkansas can get hot!!!
- Some Cyalume Light Sticks for marking yourself/friends/family, or for marking other paths in the cave...just make sure you don't leave any trash!!!