Monday, March 30, 2009

The Glory Hole

The Glory Hole is one of the most unique (if not the dirtiest named) waterfall in the state. It is a neat spot. Most waterfalls are content to just spill over rocks and bluffs. But no, this one decided to bore a hole through an overhanging bluff, where a 30 foot tall waterfall spills out below. It’s an amazing sight to see from under the bluff - this waterfall just appearing out of a hole above you. It reminds me of the time the people who lived in the apartment above tried to wash a comforter in their tiny washing machine, which flooded their place and sent showers of water falling down through the ceiling of my apartment.

The Glory Hole is located in the Ozark National Forest, way up near the Buffalo National River. I met up with Matt Kennedy in Conway, and we made the long drive up into the hills. The trail to the falls isn’t that long, about two miles round trip. We had to add an extra half mile to that because part of the way in is via a jeep road that was too muddy for my car, which we left precariously parked on the side of the main road when we started the hike.

The Ozarks took a savage beating in January from an ice storm, which damaged most of the trees up there. There were several fallen trees along the trail, but paths had already been worn into the fallen leaves around it so the trail was quite passable. The trail heads down a hill, then crosses Dismal Creek, which is the creek that made the Glory Hole. I wonder why it was named this, since the creek isn’t dismal at all and is really quite scenic. There are several other waterfalls along the creek on the way to the Glory Hole, which were running wild after all the rain we’ve had over the past few days.
P3284069

It was cold out there, and snowing. Now that seemed weird, isn't it supposed to be Spring? But it would continue to snow on us for the rest of the day.
P3284080

And one more view, trying to get that one small waterfall in with the larger waterfall...
P3284103

I had been to the Glory Hole once before, but then it was hardly running and it was cold enough that icicles hung everywhere. This trip the falls had a good amount of water flowing through, which was great to see.

The trail runs up to the top of the Glory Hole - the hole that the creek has made into the top of the bluff. My waterfall guidebook stresses that people should be careful at this spot, since "there have been a couple of folks fall through the 'hole' recently and were seriously hurt and had to be airlifted to the emergency room, so please don't go near the upper part of the falls!" I wondered what it would be like to slide through the hole, and came to the easy conclusion that it would not be a fun place to slide down...

We carefully made our way down to the base of the bluff, where the waterfall pours out below. It is an amazing sight.
Glory Hole

And a view looking out from the back of the bluff. The waterfall blends in a bit with the background here...
P3284135

And one more view from under the Glory Hole:
P3284152

Heading out, we made a few stops along some of the other waterfalls and cascades along Dismal Creek that we missed while hiking in.
P3284171

P3284180

The sun struggled to come out a few times, but it was still lightly snowing. Luckily the sun went behind the clouds and we were able to get some more waterfall shots along the wrongly named Dismal Creek.
P3284185

P3284210

From there we headed back, and I was reminded that I need to actually get in shape while heading up the hill to the car. Finally making it up there, we then headed off in the snow towards the next waterfall....

3 comments:

satlink said...

Glory Hole was running really good! I was there last year and about half the water the you had. Great shots! Perfect weather!

wondy said...

Very, very nice! Looks like it was worth all the mud to make it there and take those pictures.

Cormackphotos said...

Thanks satlink, we were lucky to be there with good weather!

Thanks Windy!