Weekend in the Ozarks & Arkansas Elk

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Faulkner, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Location:
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    October is the best time of year for a ride through the Arkansas Ozarks. The leaves are starting to change and in the Buffalo National River area the Arkansas elk can usually be found grazing in the open in the early morning and late afternoon in the remote areas of the Buffalo River valley. I've ridden this area a number of times and don't always see elk, so I'm hoping to get lucky this time.

    The VStrom is loaded and I'm ready for a solo trip through the Ozarks for a couple of days. First stop is at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier to visit a couple of buddies who were camping out.

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    Wooley Hollow has an old single room log cabin from decades past in the park.

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    After I left the park I take a short cut up to Hwy 25 and stop in downtown Guy, Arkansas, for a picture. Seems not much going on downtown this time of day.

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    More to come . . . .
    #1
  2. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Location:
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    I left Guy and cut through Pinnicle Springs road to Batesville Mountain on US Hwy 65 and made another stop at Hutch's General Store and Auction.

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    Looks like Hutch buys and sells about anything. Glad I didn't need any fuel 'cause not sure I'd have known how to use the pump.

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    There is also a place set aside for weary bikers to stop on the way to camp out. US Hwy 65 is the main path going north for those wanting to experiance the country music meca of Branson, Missouri, which is about 130 miles north of here. I've seen riders set up camp for the night here a number of times.

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    Not far away is the US Hwy 65 bridge over Cadron Creek. I have floated this creek a number of times in a kayak during the spring when it's at level III rapids. Today, it's but a trickle.

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    More to come . . . .
    #2
  3. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Location:
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    The goal for the day is to end up at the Cliff House Inn outside of Jasper, Arkansas. Right in the heart of the Ozarks and the Buffalo National River. The roads are twisty, often steep, and overall seem to be well maintained.

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    My Wee Strom and I love to see signs like these . . . .

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    I have my Nikon pocket camera on a lanyard around my neck so that I can snap quick pictures, but drop it when I need both hands. Sometimes I almost miss the window of a good picture.

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    They put guardrails on these roads for a reason . . . miss a turn and they won't find you 'til spring. :eyes

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    Cliff House Inn, here we come. I just hope the elk are out in the morning.

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    More to come . . .
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Nice ride :thumb

    :lurk
    #4
  5. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Location:
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    I make it to the Cliff House Inn later afternoon. Good thing I have reservations as they only have 5 or 6 rooms and the parking lot was full.

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    Went to check in and it turns out a group of Triumph riders were passing through and stopped for a bite to eat at the Cliff House resturant.

    The view from the Cliff House is just plain awesome.

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    After I check in I find me a rocking chair on the veranda to rest my weary legs a spell.

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    Tomorrow I'm heading out before daylight to Boxley Valley in search of the elusive Arkansas elk herd.

    More to come . . . .
    #5
  6. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Just as a teaser, here's a few pictures I took last year in Boxley Valley. It was one of those winter days where it warmed up enough to pull the bike out of the stable for a day. I wasn't looking for elk, but as I rounded a turn I came face to face with cow elk standing in the road, probably as surprised to see me as I was it. It was only when I stopped that I noticed the bull elk just off to the side.


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    I pulled over to the shoulder and snapped a few pictures as the small herd came out of the woods on the right and crossed the road and then jumped the fence to graze in the field on the left. It's amazing how graceful they can be and they jumped the fence with no effort whatsoever.

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    This trip I'm actually looking for elk for picture taking.

    More to come . . . .
    #6
  7. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

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    The Ozarks is a wonderful place to ride a motorsickle. Gonna try to get down there soon myself. We are lucky to live so close to it. Great pics of the elk.
    #7
  8. motorcyclefanatic

    motorcyclefanatic The name says it all

    Joined:
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    Came down through Arkansas on a trip I took in '08. Your picture above reminded me of this one I took on hwy 7 just south of Jasper.
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    Looking forward to more of your report.
    #8
  9. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Thanks for checking in guys. The Ozarks seem to be a well kept secret for motorcycle riding and Highway 7 is definitely one of my favorites. :thumbup
    #9
  10. prometheus rising

    prometheus rising Ghost In The Machine

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    Sweet :thumb
    #10
  11. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Got up well before daylight Saturday morning to make the ride over the mountain to Boxley Valley to see if I could locate any elk. It was still dark and foggy as well in the Ozarks. It is about a 45 minute ride from the Cliff House Inn to Boxley Valley in the daytime, so I'm figuring a little longer in the pre dawn fog.

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    I've made the ride over the mountain from Jasper to Ponca through Lowgap many a time in the daylight and know the road is mostly curvey and steep, both up and down. The fog cuts the distance I can see in front of me in half with the headlights and I'm constantly on the watch :eyes for deer.

    It took longer than I anticipated so it's after daylight when I decend off the mountain into Boxley Valley. What I didn't consider, though, was that the valley is on the west side of the mountain, so the sun won't be up over the mountain for another 20 minutes or so . . . I may have timed it perfectly after all.

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    #11
  12. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    I hang a left at the bottom of the mountain and I figure I'm getting close. I pull the Strom to shoulder and shut it down to see if I can hear any elk bugling. Nope, natta. I crank it back up and ease on down the road a quarter mile and figure I must be getting close since the highway department has put up signs . . .

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    There is a good bit of fog, a lot of it generated by the nearby Buffalo River, and it's still a ways off before the sun will pop up over the mountain to burn it off. Still, this is beautiful country.

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    I stop by an abandonded and dilapidated old farmhouse and barn to listen for bugling. The fog is thinning out with each passing moment and I think I see something moving in the field . . . .

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    . . . yes, I've found them!



    :scratch No, no, sorry. It's cows, of the bovin type. Hard to tell in all this fog.

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    #12
  13. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Okay, so I didn't get up before dawn and ride all the way out here in the dark and fog to see cows. I've seen cows galore for the past two days. My neighbor raises cows, I could have stayed home and watched his if I wanted to see cows. Where are the elk?
    :topes



    Just then I hear a bugling, and it's close! Then a answering elk bugle that seems to be even closer. The fog is lifting some more . . . wait for it.

    Yes! I think I can see some elk, maybe a whole heard of them! :eyes


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    More to come . . . .
    #13
  14. CottonTop

    CottonTop Rider

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    Great RR my friend... Keep it coming!:clap
    #14
  15. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    CottonTop, wish you'd been with me on this one. Last time you and I were here we walked right up to the elk.

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    Okay, we have a little problem. The elk did not turn up where I thought they would. In between the elk and where I am is a beaver pond where a family of beavers have dammed up a small stream.

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    Even with maximum zoom on my camera I can't quite get the elk shots that I'm looking for.

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    This ain't gonna work, it's time for plan 'B' . . . okay, let me think, exactly what is plan 'B'? I need to figure out a way to get a little closer without running them off. One thing is for sure, I'm not doing any ATGATT wading through that beaver pond.

    Stand by for more . . . .
    #15
  16. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Plan 'B' -

    Okay, after pondering the situation a while I think I'll just wait for the sun to come on up over the mountains and burn the fog off. This way my camera will have more lighting to perform better and I'll get to see more of where the elk are. Besides, they are moving south as they graze, I may be able to get around this beaver pond downstream.

    In the meantime while I'm waiting, I'll just play around with my camera some.

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    Uh oh, the elk are on the move. Stand by for more . . .
    #16
  17. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    I ease down the fence row about a hundred yards and lean up against a tree and stand very still. As the sun comes over the mountain I see some movement not too far off. Two elk bucks are walking along the fence row and I can see that they know I'm there.

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    They don't seem to mind me too much and they just graze and mosey out into the field.

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    A couple of nice looking elk bulls, but surely I can get closer than this.

    More to come . . . .
    #17
  18. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    I got around the beaver pond and set a spell. As the fog continued to burn off I could see more elk all around. I was watching a couple of particular bulls who it seems were a little wired up this morning.

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    More to come . . .
    #18
  19. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    Last of the elk pictures . . .

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    #19
  20. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    I hike back to the Strom and decide it's time for some breakfast in Jasper, or actually, it'll probably be closer to lunch by the time I get there. I head back over the mountain and enjoy the scenary I didn't get to see in the foggy darkness of my ride over.

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    I see a couple of more bull elk on the ride out . . .

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    I seek out the Ozark Cafe right on the town square. I've eaten here before and it's always been great.

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    The town is full of motorcycles. Just across the street at the Newton County Courthouse are parked a gaggle of cruiser riders just finishing up a meal at the Ozark Cafe. I stopped and visited with them a while and and trade information of favorite roads in the area.

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    Some of the Triumph riders are in town as well. I noticed the ammo box pannier set up on this one.

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    From the looks of the oil spots on the pavement, this KTM is parked over where a bunch of Harley's have parked in the past. :pot

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    The Ozark Cafe is a hot spot in Jasper. Great food and great service and a good deal of history to boot.

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    Anyone remember DogPatch USA, the original hillbilly theme park?

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    I settled on the Cajun Burger with fresh cut fries and cheese . . . mmm mmm good.

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    #20