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Leatherwoods, part 1
May 24, 2003

I was glancing on the Geocaching web site and noticed a concentration of caches in the lower Buffalo River area and saw some enticing pictures. I loaded the coordinates of these places into my GPS receiver and noticed several of them corresponded with waterfalls noted in Tim Ernst's Arkansas Waterfalls guidebook. Next thing you know Cliff and I have permission from Stacey to go on a trip to Mountain View to geocache and waterfall hunt.
After spending Friday night in a motel, Cliff and I got up early Saturday morning to start the adventure, which would all take place along Rand Road north of Big Flat, Arkansas.  The first stop was beside a jeep trail going downhill to Loonbeam Hollow Lookout. This spectacular overlook was first published in the book The Buffalo River and Surrounding Watershed, by L.R. Alexander and Helen Elsner. This great little book  has pictures and GPS coordinates for over 100 scenic spots along the Buffalo. The book has a picture of Helen sitting on the same crag as the photo below with Cliff. I was also glad to see this location first-hand after reading in Tim Ernst's March 2002 online journal about the waterfall here being blown back by the wind into the trees and then freezing.
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The trail to our second destination, Funnel Falls, was on the other side of the road from where we parked. The Funnel is also featured in Alexander and Elsner's book. Words can't describe how wonderful this place is. It is a natural bridge with a forty-foot waterfall on one side and a fifty-footer on the other. The falls weren't going much but that didn't matter. On the hike out we passed right by a small cave entrance that looked so much like a bear home that I was anxious to get away from it.
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Our third and final stop was back at the intersection of Rand and Spring Creek roads. Almus Knob was the site of a geocache, but was first mentioned in the Alexander and Elsner book. Just off the road is a small cave in the side of the hill. This cave has an opening in the ceiling. After checking out the cave we found a faint trail going uphill and followed it around to the area above the cave. Of course Cliff was on a mission to find the cave opening. After that we walked down to a bluff line on the west side of the knob, with a view of Tater Hill and Big Creek beyond.
By this time it was after lunch. I wanted to see at least one of the four other waterfalls back to the East along Rand Road, but it suddenly got cloudy and started raining on the drive there. Cliff had fallen asleep anyway, so I just headed back to the motel in Mountain View.
Cliff and I had dinner that night at a great restaurant on the square, Old Bay Cafe. It rained the whole time so we didn't do anything afterwards except go back to the motel room. We played go fish, watched cartoons, and wrestled on the bed. While flipping through the channels I came across MXC - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, the show where the Japanese characters run through strange obstacle courses. We'd never seen it before and we both just sat there laughing until our sides hurt.
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