Ozark/Buffalo National River Arkansas Run

I am most probably making a run up to the Upper Buffalo National River/Northern Ozark area of Arkansas the week of August 6th and thought I would throw it out here to see if anyone had an interest in joining in at some point. I know it's short notice, but figured I would throw this out here and see if anyone has any interest of exploring outside of Texas. I will be going that way regardless. I thought it may be novel to NOT be the only one taking pictures of any and everything I see whilst roaming there.

The area is full of trails, both long and short, that are mostly very well shaded with cool water mountain streams and rivers always close by. Plus the added draw of grotto's, waterfalls and the odd small cave (which are some of the few open in the Ozarks outside of show caves). Which are all a big draw to me right now with this lovely "balmy" weather we are currently enjoying in TX.

I tend to sleep in Jasper Arkansas and iNat around the Newton County area, up and down the Boxley Scenic Drive area to Ponca and over to Jasper. I always seem to find something new every time I hit the area. Here's my obv's so far.

Yes, I know I have a salamander problem.... And there is a small pond in the Henry Koen Experimental Forest that was loaded with Spotted sally egg masses early in the year, that I want to check back on. I haven't hit the odonata's as hard as I should have in the area, not to mention the plants (shush @sambiology), as I tend to get sidetracked on the herps (I still need to find a Pygmy Rattlesnake there).

Jasper is a small town with a few small family run hotels that tend to cater to hikers, canoers and bikers. Not the Ritz, but bed and showers type places, plus a couple of good cafes in town. There is also the Steel Creek campground next to Ponca for any that may prefer a tent.


Copying many that I have meet over the course of the last year or so as well as many of those that will be mothing this week. I'll be at Strawn Friday and Saturday am if anyone wants to chat in person or respond here if there is any interest.
@sambiology @annikaml @cgritz @kimberlietx @brentano @tfandre @tadamcochran @walkingstick2 @wildcarrot @butterflies4fun @catenatus @galactic_bug_man @aguilita @andyk @cwd912nb @cameralenswrangler @greg1414 @daniel112 @fiddleman @drtifflipsett @bob777 @jblinde @rehb @charley @lkholt @k8thegr8 @itmndeborah @birdsbatsandbugs @katelyn3 @kalamurphyking @mchlfx @sammyjames @mnbrewer @cdroz105 @littlebitt_of_nature @fratto @valt @jwn @schylerbrown @sara39 @cosmiccat @lbullington24 @gcwarbler @briangooding @sarahg @justjenny7 @bosqueaaron @postoak @spqnancy @betsymarsh @dorothy12 @lovebirder @amynature @daricrogers @apcorboy @naturemom @greglasley @lulubelle @pfau_tarleton @mikeintyler @nanofishology @alisonnorthup @hydaticus

P. S. What I would really like, if there were two or three folks who were adventurous and not claustrophobic who may want to spend a day over in Stone County at Blanchard Springs Caverns Recreation area about an hour and a half east of Jasper. The cave is managed by the US Forest Service and is amazing. I have been on the basic Dripstone Trail in the cave as the longer Discovery Trail is only open from June to August due to the bats that hibernate there. But I'd like to go on the Wild cave tour to see if we can turn up any troglobite species. I was fortunate enough to get shots of an Ozark Blind Grotto Salamander and a species of troglobite Harvestman on the upper short trail. But from what I understand this cave has pseudoscorpions, a type of beetle and other "creepy crawlies" further in.... Speaking to a couple of the rangers who work the cave, they have also seen the occasional cave crawfish. The area surround the cave and spring is amazing and has lots of observation opportunities as well.

Publicado el julio 21, 2018 10:33 TARDE por oddfitz oddfitz


How long do you expect to stay? I have to work the first part of the week, but will probably be ready for a break the weekend of 8/10-8/12.
Are the cave tours stand-up events, or crawl on your tummy events?

Publicado por cameralenswrangler hace casi 6 años

This is a place that I've really wanted to go to, but it's too short of a notice and I have to work. :-(

Publicado por cosmiccat hace casi 6 años

Thanks for the invite.. Would love to go but can't this time ... Hope you have a good time...Melanie

Publicado por butterflies4fun hace casi 6 años

Thanks for the invite. I also would like to explore that area. However, brand new work schedule prevents me. Good Luck!

Publicado por mchlfx hace casi 6 años

@cameralenswrangler I was probably going to go early in the week for a few days, as I may be going to Olympic National Park in Washington on the 13th to take advantage of some low tides. But dependent on what feedback here, may push it back if there is interest from other that need more time.

The smaller two caves around Ponca are on the Lost valley trail, the largest of those is only about 100 ft in length, but its a more stand/crouch, squeeze type of place depending on how far back you go. I always see Fishing Spiders, Cave orb-weavers (M. Ovalis), Cave Crickets, Cave and Western Slimy salamanders and this time of year the occasional roosting Tri-colored bat. The trail to the cave is ADA compliant about 1/2 the way back of its just over 1 mile length.

The Blanchard Springs Caverns complex in Stone county is huge. Guided tours only, the upper Dripstone tour is ADA compliant and about 1/2 a mile with several pauses and is worth the time. The Lower Discovery trail is about 1.2 miles and is a bit more strenuous as there are many stairs. The wild cave tour is to undeveloped parts of the cave and is more like true caving. Attached is a link to an article written about the Wild Cave tour. https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd539941.pdf

@cosmiccat @butterflies4fun @mchlfx completely understand. But as mentioned above may push it back if there is interest. I've been fortunate enough to find some great locations and would love to share.

Publicado por oddfitz hace casi 6 años

I am building a new house right now and it is expected to be completed end of Aug/early Sept. With all of this I think my year is pretty much shot trying to get an old house ready for sale and then moving into a new house and all the new things that will need to be completed... I'm also becoming a grandmother in Dec. Maybe next year for me. Thanks for thinking of us and I would like to see some of these sights. I'm not much of a cave person other then the outside since I like the pollinators.

Publicado por butterflies4fun hace casi 6 años

Ooooh I need to think about it. My schedule is pretty flexible around that time, only issue is money is tight (petsitter for 6 cats gets... expensive). I am 100% down for caving. If it doesn't work out this time, keep me in mind for the future. Last time I went caving I went with boring people who DIDN'T run up to photograph the scorpion??? https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/8337421

Publicado por nanofishology hace casi 6 años

Alysa, no worries if not, as I thought it may be too quick a turnaround for most. I can't pass up any 'creepy crawly" in a cave without trying to get a pic of it. I'll be heading up sometime the week of the 6th, just trying to hammer somethings out before I know what day.

But I will be heading back up that way in late September or October sometime, as that area has a 4 mile stretch of road that you can always find Elk in the morning and evenings (all day if its cool out). It's the one of the easiest places to consistently see/photograph bugling bull Elk during their rut. Plus the number of folks on the trails tend to decrease which always seems to increase the critters seen.

Publicado por oddfitz hace casi 6 años

So thought I would follow up about my quick Ozarks/Buffalo national River run. Got up to the area Monday around noon and left Wednesday around the same time. Was a little limited Wednesday as rain was moving through the area. Hit a few of my favorite spots and checked out a few new ones. I came across a Dwarf Rattlesnake, a lifer for me, on the first day not to mention finding three Grotto Salamanders in about an hour on the second day. Here is a listing of my observations:

Lots of Moths and Butterflies and found a few caves, crevices and sinkholes to "dive" into for salamanders.

I will probably be making another trip that way in late September or early October for a few more hikes. Send me a note if anyone has any interest and I will start another thread. Would be happy to "tour guide", or if you decide to go to that area on your own, I'll be happy to point you in the right directions for observations.

Publicado por oddfitz hace casi 6 años

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