Thursday, September 20, 2012

Petit Jean

It poured down rain last weekend, in fact I think we got more rain from that storm than we did when Hurricane Isaac lumbered over us.  All the drenching rain got me naively optimistic that some waterfalls would be running again.  So on Saturday morning I headed up to Petit Jean Mountain and hoped that the drive would be worth it...

It was heavily raining when I drove along the freeway, so hard that traffic was only going about 40 miles per hour.  But the rain slacked off as I left the interstate at Morrilton.  There was just a slight drizzle coming down as I approached Petit Jean, which was mostly hidden by a cloud of fog.  After the twisty drive up to the top, I stopped at the overlook at Petit Jean's grave.  Which of course, was slightly pointless since you couldn't see anything except fog.  It was eerily quiet in the woods, since there wasn't anyone else out there.


And another foggy road shot, taken while driving through the park:


Soon I passed over the old stone bridge that usually provides a decent view of the waterfall tumbling over the dam that creates Lake Bailey. I slowed down and looked to see if there was a decent waterfall and saw.....nothing. The lake was still several feet low. It'll take a lot more rain to get that going again. My plans of waterfall hunting were sorely crushed.

So I instead I visited a few other areas of the park. I headed down Red Bluff Drive, which has a couple of nice overlooks on it. The fog was breaking up some, so that you could actually overlook things.


I continued to putter around the park, and decided to drive over to the Cedar Falls Overlook. Even though the creek looked sadly low at the bridge, I was curious to see what the falls were like. Surprisingly, there was a small but decent amount of water flowing through. So there might be some waterfalls after all, perhaps?

I made the quick drive over to the Cedar Creek trail, which is a nice short (only about a mile and a half) and easy hike. Plus it passes by some neat little spots along Cedar Creek. The trail heads out into the woods, and then runs downhill along a small creek. It was surprising, but pleasing, to see a good amount of water flowing through the creek. The rains had pumped a lot of water into these side creeks, while Cedar Creek has been dry for so long that it must need a lot more water to get going again...



Cedar Creek was low, with just a scarce amount of water in the creek. I finished the hike without taking the camera out again. But when I got back in the car I drove through the park some more, and found a few other things to get pictures of. This was a fence along a field that was cloaked in more fog.


I drove by the overlook at Petit Jean's grave again and made another stop, since the fog seemed to have gotten thicker during the day. This was taken while looking through the shell of the old CCC lodge, towards the foggy forest.


And finally, one last shot from Petit Jean, of a field filled with fog:


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