Monday, November 6, 2006

Saturday at Flatside

This Saturday I went out to Flatside Pinnacle, out in the Flatside Wilderness in the Ouachita National Forest. Flatside is a great place, a mountain very similar to Pinnacle Mountain. It has great views, with lots of rolling hills to enjoy, and is probably one of the best places in the state to sit and watch the sunset. But unlike Pinnacle, the area around it is completely undeveloped. The only sign of man you can see is the dirt road that leads to the mountain. Which is so unlike Pinnacle, which (not to complain too much) is being competely ruined by all the development around there. People hike the mountain to see nature, not to see the tops of houses and apartment complexes. OK, I'll end this because it really annoys me and I could write pages about it.
But Flatside is great place to visit, and is located fairly close to Little Rock. Unlike Pinnacle, which may be too "loved" to death, the mountain and the views there are really unspoiled. To get there, you take Highway 10 past Pinnacle and Lake Maumelle for awhile, then come to an intersection with Highway 9 at a place called Williams Junction. From there go south on 9 for a few miles and there will be a turn-off on the right for a dirt road. That dirt road is called the Winona Scenic Drive, and it is a scenic little drive:
Winona Scenic Drive
The road passes a few little turn-offs, here is the view of one. I think the lake in the distance is either Lake Winona or Lake Sylvia:
Ouachita Mountains
The drive isn't too long, maybe only 40 miles or so from Little Rock to the mountain.
Winona Scenic Drive
Before you know it, a mountain pops out in front of you.
The road to Flatside Pinnacle
And unlike Pinnacle, the road actually travels pretty far up the hillside. So that the trail to the top of the hill is only .2 miles long! But like Pinnacle, that trail is also quite steep. It will remind you of just how out of shape you are. It is humbling.
The view from the top is worth having to exercise. This is looking out towards the west:
Flatside view
This is a closer view of the above view. The peak seen below is called Forked Mountain.
View from Flatside
The views were nice, all these shots were taken from walking along the area at the top of the hill:
Tree with a view
From Flatside
From Flatside
The peak of Flatside Pinnacle
Tree atop Flatside
This is the road you take to get up to the mountain. It is the only man-made thing you can see while up at the top. Well, that and some clear-cutting can be seen (which annoys me too). But it is still pretty, anyways.
The road less traveled
I had never been there for a sunset before, so I decided to wait awhile for it to get dark. This meant sitting on the mountain top for an hour or so. But it was probably worth it. As the sun set, it really lit up the hills...
Just as the sun is about to set over the Ouachitas
The sunset was nice, here are a few shots:
Sunset from Flatside Pinnacle
Sunset from Flatside Pinnacle
I left the hilltop before the sun finished setting, so I think I might have missed the best light. But I was worried about trying to hike the trail back while it was dark. Next time, I'll try to remember to bring a flashlight.

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