Our next stop was Steele Creek, one of the most beautiful places along the Buffalo River. This is an amazing spot where the river curves gracefully around huge towering bluffs that stand hundreds of feet above the river. There was a good crowd of people waiting to put in canoes and kayaks in the river, which was running high after the recent rains.
Our first stop was near the campground, at a field covered in wildflowers. The sun was out, but it would soon go and hide behind some clouds for a few hours. This is the view of some wildflowers, with the bluffs along the Buffalo River in the background.
And this is a view of the competition - whoops I mean my photo buddies - out trying to get some shots of the flowery field.
We were right next to the campground, so we went and took some trails that led off into the woods towards the river. Our plan was to get a good shot of the huge bluffs along the river. Luckily a kayaker came by and helped to add a bit of scale for the bluffs.
We then tried to follow those same trails further down river. The trails went through thick bamboo (how is that growing in the Ozarks?), which at times almost needed a machete to cut through. Finally we made it out to a clearing where these awesome birch trees were growing along the riverbank.
From there it was easy to get along the riverbank, and explore the majesty of the Buffalo National River. I walked along the rocky shore and saw this spot, where the river had forked and then came back together right at the foot of a bluff.
Just downriver was a view of a neat waterfall, which only ever runs after heavy rains. When it is running, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state. The waterfall shoots over the bluffs and falls towards the river, and is amazing to see in person.
And this is a view of the same falls taken last year:
And one more view from this spot of the mighty Buffalo National River flowing through:
We got back to the car and headed off to a nearby parking lot filled with cars, canoes and kayaks. From there we took a short walk to a spot that is one of my favorite places to get a shot of the Buffalo River.
The same view taken in the Fall of 2006:
This was taken right above the spot where Steele Creek empties into the Buffalo River. The creek was running high, and any attempt to hike down along the creek meant nearly sacrificing a shoe to the thick mud. But this is the view further upstream, with Steele Creek flowing through the deep green that was saturated by some light rain that had begun to fall.
From there we headed off to the next stop, the amazing Lost Valley...