June 5, 2015
Wendy and I spent a full day up on Mount Nebo after our migration from Mount Magazine. We made our own breakfast in the cabin, and she joined me for a hike over to the waterfall, where she posed near one of the upper falls. Then she braved the heat and insects to descend the 80 feet to the lower falls.
Near an upper cascade, I spotted a side trail leading south along the mountainside, between the upper Rim Trail and the Bench Trail far below. Wendy waited at the falls while I explored this overgrown path. Later I would find that it eventually ascends to intersect the Rim Trail.
We returned to the cabin, stopping to pick up a few bottles and other items previous hikers had discarded. The trails here are too beautiful to tolerate any trash. Wendy was willing to hike some more in the hot and buggy conditions, but I knew she was still nursing the painful bites on her head. So instead we drove over to the park office and store so she could get some sugar for her coffee. She bought some lavender jelly, although we later found that neither of us liked it. We took in the panorama to the east of the Arkansas and Lake Dardanelle, noting the plume off the cooling tower of Arkansas Nuclear One.
We drove to Sunset Point for the view north before returning to the cabin, where Wendy repaired her sunglasses while I read. My peripatetic nature led me to embark on a solo hike later in the afternoon, when the heat was less severe. I headed out along the southern rim of the mountain while Wendy read the news in the cabin and out on the sunny patio.
My hike on the Rim Trail wound up being 1.25 miles, with me taking a wrong turn at a fork and walking up high on the rim behind some cabins before turning about to rejoin the Rim Trail. This deviation rewarded me with a nice panorama.
I passed a ribbon tied around the tree, like ribbons we had seen along the trails at Mount Magazine. I could decipher the first part of the code written on these ribbons, with “MN” for Mount Nebo versus “MM” on the Mount Magazine ties, but the rest of the code meant little to me. The trail back to the cabin was quite beautiful. A deer ahead of me on the trail eyed me warily as I approached. It finally fled,with its white tail bobbing back and forth. Sunlight dappled the mossy bluff on this final afternoon of hiking.
I passed the turnoff for the neglected side trail to the waterfalls, marked by a stone in the trail. Earlier, a teenage boy and girl had looked rather hot and weary as they emerged from the overgrowth along that route.
I returned to the cabin, where Wendy was happy to see me. We had more hot dogs and ice cream and went out on the patio to enjoy the sunset. To the east Wendy spotted a hang glider up in the sky, so we got to swivel back and forth between the sunset to the west and the glider wheeling about to the east. My superzoom camera allowed us to see the pilot more clearly.
Wendy arranged the last photograph of our trip when she saw our spectacles lying together on the patio table. She noted that sometimes it is nice not to have a laser focus on all of the details of life. Just appreciating the big picture can be a welcome relief.
The next day we packed out and headed home. We had a great time in Arkansas, but the heat and humidity will likely prevent us from returning until late summer. In about a month we’ll be in New Mexico and southern Colorado, escaping July in Joklahoma.