Saturday, May 30, 2015

Acord Hollow Falls

It seems like it’s rained just about every single day during the month of May, which means that waterfalls have definitely been up and running lately.  So a few weeks back, Zack and I headed up to the Ozarks to try hit a few waterfalls before the dry summer doldrums set in.  The first stop was a small waterfall that sits right along a dirt road near the town of Dover.


But even with all the recent rains, the waterfalls there weren’t really running all that well. So we continued on, heading back towards Dover.


Along the way we stopped and walked along this small creek, which had a nice little cascade on it. You can’t see the creek from the road, so it doesn’t seem like this spot ever sees many visitors.


We were there until it was nearly too dark to take pictures, and headed back to the car. The next stop was Acord Hollow Falls, which is near the small town of Oark. I soon felt a pang of regret for driving on this trip, when we decided to try to take a shortcut. We left the smoothness of the pavement and hit a bumpy dirt road, which would prove to be just a little too much for my poor little car. Rocks would menacingly scratch and scrape the bottom of the car, and mysterious and ominous noises erupted from under the floorboard. Eventually we reached a large mud hole, which seemed like it would swallow up the car, and had to turn around. So the bottom of the car got to pay a return visit to all of the sharp rocks that we drove over before.

The other way to get to the falls follows another dirt road, but this one is mostly in great shape (it was like driving the Autobahn compared to the rock and crater infested road we just tried to navigate). But as we got close to the start of the hike, we reached another large mud hole and decided to not attempt a crossing. Since we were fairly close to the start, we decided to park at a safe spot on the road and camp in the car for the night.

It was a good thing we weren’t trying to camp in a tent that night. A huge storm moved in around 3 AM, which dropped a lot of lightning and a lot of rain. Tons of rain, actually. The storm dumped somewhere between two and three inches of rain in the span of a few hours. The woods were drenched, and there was water everywhere. My car actually looked spotless after the rain washed away the cake of mud that had accumulated during the drive in.

The storm had moved out, so we decided to begin the hike into Acord Hollow. The trail starts out following the Ozark Highlands Trail for a bit, but then veers off into the woods. The first part of the hike was deceivably easy, just a nice stroll through the woods. But soon enough it turned into a difficult bushwhack on steep hills that were slick, muddy and coated with poison ivy.

Eventually we made our way to Acord Hollow Falls, which was swollen and a little muddy after the storm. The falls are 66 feet tall, and this is the view of the upper tier. The bluff was thick with vegetation (not all of which was poison ivy!).


We found a spot to drop below the bluff, getting this view. The spray from the falls was flowing out like wind from the base of the falls.


And the view from the bottom of the falls, from under the overhanging bluff.


We took a lot of pictures there, stopping for one last shot at this spot along the creek. This was actually taken with the tripod sitting in the middle of the muddy creek.


We then headed to another nearby waterfall, which was located in a small horseshoe shaped canyon.


The falls are actually about 40 feet tall, and are surrounded by a few umbrella magnolia trees.


And a view of the creek, as the muddy waters make their way down the hollow.


And from there we headed up the steep hill. The bushwhack to the falls is short (only a few miles), but steep. I was happy, and a little sore, when we finally made it back to the car.

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