Devil’s Eyebrow, near Eureka Springs, is a natural area consisting of stream beds, ravines, and old logging roads. Until 2012, it was privately owned land. Now, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (ANHC) co-own and manage this gorgeous spot in the Ozarks. Before I go any further let me emphasize—a natural area is a specific designation given to areas where steps are being taken to protect, preserve and sometimes restore the ecosystems as they existed before Arkansas settlement. Very cool.
Last week I hiked the area with a group of University of Arkansas Olli folks. With the glorious weather and turning leaves, I should have been embracing fall, but for whatever reason I was still clinging to summer—maybe because it flew by in such a blur I have to squint to remember it. And I was feeling a bit let down that I didn’t accomplish everything I meant to accomplish.
That’s my coulda, shoulda, woulda reality.
Do we ever get it all done?
This hike turned out to be good for my soul. I was reminded of the importance of taking a break. Channeling your inner kid is a good thing.
Devil’s Eyebrow. How great is that name? There’s a humorous story behind it. In 1880, when surveyors were working on the location of the Frisco Railroad, local Benton County resident Archibald Blansett said,
“Build a railroad right through these mountains?
You can’t do it, man; you can’t do it.
You might as well try to build a railroad on the Devil’s eyebrow
as to undertake to build one in such a place.”
The railroad men thought his description of the area was perfect. The name stuck and is even referenced in Frisco literature today.
LIKE A KID AGAIN…
- We walked along a dry creek bed and climbed some rugged, steep terrain. If you decide to hike Devil’s Eyebrow, be sure to take a walking stick to help with balance. Devil’s Eyebrow encompasses 2,503 miles with 3 miles of undeveloped shoreline along Beaver Lake. The trail isn’t a loop, though. So wherever you hike, remember you have to walk back the same way.
- We waded in water and walked on slippery moss. Again, walking stick…
- We watched skimmers skipping along the surface of the water and marveled at their reflection.
- We ate persimmons in the wild without washing them. To my knowledge, no one got sick or died.
- We studied leaves and looked for wildlife. The area supports over 550 species of plants— 27 rare and 5 globally rare species. This is a popular roosting place for bald eagles and is the only confirmed site in the state for the rare Black Maple tree. James Rogers of the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission said he’s seen more species of trees and plants on this area than anywhere in the state.
- I played in the water. When I was a kid, I loved to play in mud puddles and connect them together until water flowed in one muddy channel. Leaves became boats and the water moved like the muddy Mississippi. My kids did the same thing in our Dallas neighborhood after a big rainstorm. At Devil’s Eyebrow, I sailed a leaf. Just like old times.
On the way home, my friend Sarah and I stopped and bought pumpkins at a roadside stand because when you see a great roadside stand, you must stop. And I bought peaches because they looked and smelled perfect and again, I think I was trying to hang on to summer a little bit.
But here’s the thing. Everything has a season. When summer is over, it’s over. My peaches were mealy and mushy and they ended up in my compost.
Fall is here for real. I think I needed this hike to help reset my mind and move on toward year end.
Later folks, I have a pumpkin to carve.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
The Rascals – Beautiful Morning