By Jan Badovinac
“If Mama ain’t hiking, ain’t nobody happy.”
It’s a slight variation of the original saying, but for those of us whose souls and spirits are rejuvenated after a day on the trails, truer words were never spoken. Several years ago, some like-minded girlfriends and I decided we should be more purposeful about getting our Zen on among the abundant Ozark blessings of mountains, waterfalls, rivers, caves, wildflowers, and wildlife, and decided to form an official hiking group. After a convoluted and highly caffeinated conversation one morning, we came up with the group name H2O, and we, as individual members, were christened The Drips (see what we did there?)
Master Drip is in charge of organizing everyone; Planner Drip does the scouting for our hike locations; Navigator Drip is charged with not getting us lost on the way to the trailhead, etc.
While we remain dedicated and serious about the activity of hiking itself, a fair amount of silliness and girly fun is inevitable. We have matching shirts, we partake in post-hike picnics with tablecloths, quiche, and frilly lemonade concoctions, and have amassed a lifetime of treasured memories through photographs and adventures such as the Great Chigger Affair of 2006, The Everlasting Scar of Indian Creek, and Epic Tarantula Encounter.
My time as a Drip has carried me over 120 miles of trails and countless locales of natural beauty; one of which is Pedestal Rocks/Kings Bluff, located off Highway 16 near Pelsor, AR.
After entering the trailhead, there’s a choice to take a 1.7 mile loop trail to your right, called Kings Bluff, or you can continue straight, or take the trail that branches off to your left, which is the 2.2 mile Pedestal Rocks loop.
Pedestal Rocks is a treasure during all seasons, but King’s Bluff is a sight after a heavy rainfall due to the ensuing waterfall that skates down a wide, smooth channel of rock and cascades 70 feet over the bluff edge. I am quite familiar with that bluff edge, as I watched one of my filters pop off my camera lens and plunge to its shattering demise below. (Contrary to my mother’s belief, I was never in danger of doing the same. The woman successfully and safely raised eight of us on a farm among all sorts of moving machinery, kicking animal hooves, grain bin death traps, and silo ladders just begging to be climbed, yet she still has no confidence in my ability to not kill myself while hiking. But, I digress.)
The Kings’ Bluff waterfall is certainly beautiful, but the Pedestal Rocks loop is a favorite, as it brings out the mountain goats in us and allows for scampering up and down big chunks of rocks and exploring caves and taking in the beautiful vistas from atop the bluff area. To get to the sweet spots, we like to take the first trail that branches to the left from the main trail. From there, we take every safe opportunity we can to go off trail and examine the base of the pedestals where there are all sorts of nooks and crannies and textured, drippy and wonderfully creepy caves. Back up top on the trail, you’ll be gifted with views that beg for you to sit a spell in silence and to give thanks for being alive and well to enjoy such creation.
Look for more area hike locations to be featured in upcoming editions of Marvelous!
For a map, visit: fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm8_042807.pdf
M! August/September 2013