Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Secret Falls, Arkansas Ozarks

1/3/2015 -  Secret Falls

Pet Friendly: Yes, dogs on or off leash should be fine. 

Motorcycle Friendly: Yes, sort of.  The last half mile or so is a gravel road, but not too bad.

Secret Falls (~45 ft)
It was our son Scott's birthday today.  Since we went hiking a couple of weeks ago on my birthday, it seemed only fitting we did the same for his.  He only had a couple more days before he had to head back to Arizona, so we collected my Grandson Presley and loaded up Boomer then headed up to Secret Falls.  This really nice waterfall is relatively unknown, as it is on private land and not in any publications that I know of.  I was asked to NOT publish directions by the folks that let us visit, so I will be breaking with my tradition of doing that.  Still, it was a great day to be out in the wilderness with three generations of guys (and dog), so I'm documenting for my benefit this time.

This waterfall is actually a fairly easy hike.  It is also normally easy to get to the base of the falls on the side opposite to where we parked.  Usually, the creek is low enough to allow crossing easily, but after recent rains it was swollen too much for Presley to make it over safely.  In fact, if safety was a criteria, I would have to say none of us could do that safely today.  So we kept hiking down the side of the creek we were on to find a break in the bluffline.  We found one maybe 60 yards downstream.  Once at creek level, it was easy to hike upstream to the base of the waterfall.  

Secret Falls - note Scott (6 ft) relative to the waterfall
Secret Falls is about 45 feet tall, by my estimation.  We didn't take any rope to get a better measurement, but I can estimate pretty well by the height of Scott, who is six feet tall, nest to the waterfall.  With normal flow, it falls short of a couple of very large boulders at the base of the waterfall.  Today, the flow was strong enough to take the main flow out and directly down on the rocks, making a spectacular effect.

Unnamed Waterfall on tributary
upstream of Secret Falls
Today was my first hike with my new hiking camera, a Nikon 1 V3 my wonderful wife had given me for a birthday present.  Talk about a fantastic camera for hiking!  It has all the high-end DSLR features, but is quite compact and lightweight.  Mine came with an optional viewfinder, but I quickly learned that it wasn't really needed.  The display screen is also a touch screen, so it works out pretty good poking the screen to adjust shutter speed, ISO, aperature, etc.  while watching the effect on the display and light meter.  After taking the required photos, and playing with my new toy, we headed back.  

On the way back, we checked out another small waterfall on a tributary creek that I had noticed on the way down.  It was quite picturesque in it's own right, although much smaller than Secret Falls.  There are probably a number of other waterfalls and features in this drainage, but exploring is an all day thing and was best left for another day without the kiddos.  It was getting late and they were already cold and wet from the waterfall spray, so we headed on home.  All in all, another great day out in the woods made all the better for having Scott and Presley along for the hike.

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