After The Narrows, we got back out onto Hwy. 123 and headed to our next destination – Haw Creek Falls. As you drive north on Hwy. 123, the road serenely curves and dips as it delves deeper into the Ozark Mountains. This area is part of the Ozark National Forest, and there are several dirt roads that cut into the woods (probably for logging). We saw one of the dirt roads ahead while rounding a curve. The dirt road was flanked by thick wildflowers, heading off around a bend and into the woods.
The flowers are everywhere - the forest was almost literally carpeted with these flowers...
These are tickseed sunflowers, or if you want to get fancy, Bidens aristosa (thanks Matt!).
We weren’t that far away from Haw Creek Falls, and we quickly made our way to the campground. These falls aren’t the tallest around, just about five feet tall or so. But it’s a neat little spot, the water tumbles over a rock shelf that sticks out across the entire creek. Plus, they’re really easy to reach – you can drive right up the falls.
Both Zack and I were a little disappointed to see that there wasn’t much water flowing through the falls. Oh well, it was time to make do with what we had.
The water was low enough that I was able to hop across some rocks to get this shot of a small waterfall tumbling down..
And the typical view of the falls:
And from a few feet further back…
We got back into the car and drove just a bit further down the road, to a small parking area next to the creek. This is the spot to park if you’re going to hike into Pam’s Grotto, but we figured there wouldn't be any water for the falls there. Instead we went and paid another visit to Haw Creek. You can tell that it’s nearly autumn; there is a nice yellow hue to the leaves.
I only slipped once while making my way along the wet rocks along the creek..
One of my favorite things about this creek here is this huge rock that sits right in the middle of the water. I don't think I've ever been here when the water was this low, and I thought that the small rock that is wedged under the boulder was really interesting. How did it get there? Did the water of the creek somehow force it up and under the boulder? Who knows, but from here it looks like it's holding the huge rock up.
After that we got back on the road, but I made another quick stop by the old bridge over Big Piney Creek. There were more wildflowers along the road, including this one that had some company.
The narrow one-lane Big Piney Creek Bridge was built in 1931.
Camera bags skidded around in the backseat when I slammed on the brakes by this old barn. There was a convenient turn-off right in front of the barn, we took advantage of it for a few extra pictures.
This was the first of many neat barns we'd see that day...
It was lunch time, so we got onto Hwy. 7 and headed towards Jasper to have lunch at – where else? – the Ozark Café. While eating we tried to decide if we should continue on our waterfall hunt or try something else. We decided to try one more waterfall, this one not too far from Jasper. We'd end up visiting an unexpected but awesome place, more on that tomorrow...