Mind Blowing Beauty and Adventure in NWA That No One is Talking

 

You Don’t Have To Be Good At Everything… Just Something

Let’s face it, these days in your early 30’s it’s not uncommon to not have everything figured out. I, for one, still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I do think that it’s important to have one thing no matter how big or how small that you can say with some certainty that you have mastered. We have mastered the indispensable and uncanny knack for putting together a comprehensive, hiccup-free, last minute camping trip in the most underrated place in Northwest Arkansas.

pigtraillookout

 

Decisions… Decisions…

Last weekend was the equivalent of going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Everything looks good and if you’re not careful you’re going to try to put two of everything in your cart. Just when I was feeling completely overwhelmed I found myself checking the local river levels, a habit I developed years ago.

I was shocked to find both the Buffalo and the Mulberry at peak levels which is unheard of in July much less August. So in spite of all of the goings ons in our area our decision was made for us. This left us with two days to plan, shop and pack. Luckily this wasn’t our first rodeo.

Mulberry River at Wolf Pen Camp Grounds
The Mulberry River directly behind our camp site

Adventure In The Ozarks

We managed to secure our favorite camping spot on the Mulberry River and like old pros set our site up just before dark on Friday after work. We allowed ourselves a moment’s respite in the unseasonably cool water and after a quick bite and a nice shot of whiskey by the fire we were ready for bed. In the pitch dark being lulled to sleep by the song of the river and the cicadas I couldn’t help but think that we were in heaven.

Camp at Wolf Pen Ozark AR
Is this tent too big for two people?… nah!

 

But Where’s The Eggs?

The next morning I felt like a princess as my husband made me an espresso while I enjoyed a good book in bed. The breeze that hung in the air was almost Autumnal which was just pleasant enough to offset the realization that A) We neglected to put the dog food away and it had wondered off in the night seemingly on it’s own (damn trash pandas) and B) I had forgotten to pack the eggs. Yes, Yes. Camping MASTERS.

Sad doggie
“But mom I’m hungry”

 

On The River Again

We procured dog food, eggs, a shuttle and a much later start than we had intended and hit the river. There were many exciting moments.

At one point my genius self overcorrected by pushing off of a tree and flooded my boat with Jasper (our dog) inside. My Dad’s training kicked in and as soon as I hit the water I grabbed my paddle, pulled it out of the water and wrapped my other arm around my overturned boat that was flooding fast. To my surprise I had pulled not one, but two paddles out of the water AND there was a stranger by my side helping me.

The man flipped my kayak back over just in time to pull Jasper out who was trying to dig his way out of the bottom of the boat. I was only able to repay the man by returning his severely bent paddle that he damaged and lost when he flipped. We did, however, pay it forward by staying put to help the next set of inevitable victims which didn’t take long.

We also found countless waterfalls, a rope swing, some breath-taking scenery, a great place to roast hotdogs, and several more challenges along the way.  Though against most millennial standards I choose to live in the moment on days like these and not take photos. Sorry not sorry.

We ended our float at Byrd’s Adventure Center where the staff is always friendly and helpful, the prices are fair, the café looks delicious and there is always something fun happening. We caught our shuttle back with the friendliest guy ever, made some jambalaya and were lucky to have made it to bed we were so tired!

A Better Breakfast In Bed

Being better prepared for a proper breakfast this time around I was really able to luxuriate in bed with coffee and my book. I was served breakfast in bed while listening to the river and taking in the fresh air while we discussed plans for the day.

River viewed from a tent
The coffee, the river, the breeze, the book… perfect!

In the end we decided to pack up and take it easy at our favorite swimming hole at the camp grounds.

Spring-fed falls
There is magic in the Ozarks

wulf pen bluff 2

We also took a little walk and got some great shots

 

and on our way home detour to White Rock.

white rock pano

 

The Beauty Of The Ozarks

It is not uncommon to hear about the Buffalo National River, Ponca, Lost Valley, and the surrounding areas. I by no means disagree with The Buffalo’s awe-inspiring beauty. I was lucky enough to be raised floating both and became familiar with the rare allure of the Ozark National Forest. On this trip my husband decided the Wulf Pen the Byrd’s is his favorite float between the two rivers both for the scenery as well as the excitement. After having a look at these photos I’m sure you’ll be willing to put the Mulberry on your bucket list for Northwest Arkansas.

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