(continued from Part 6)
Disclaimer: there is no simple way to get out of that area of Arkansas. True, the signs there really mean it when they proclaim “Scenic Drive,” but they also can make you laugh when they warn, “Crooked and Steep next 14 miles.” Um, the next 14? What the heck would you call the last 14?
It’s even tougher to get out when you need to go west but you go north.
Out of Alum Cove I turned right one road too soon and ended up on Arkansas Highway 327, not Hwy 16. I had driven that part of Hwy 16 only once or twice, nearly 10 years ago, so I had no idea I had messed up until we reached Jasper — a full 15 miles from where we started.
It turned out to be a beautiful drive. As the sun started to set we descended into a rural valley burg called Parthenon, and the land surrounding it was surprisingly untouched despite being privately owned. Fall colors surrounded us and a towering bluff shone above a field of free-roaming cattle. When I stopped to get a picture of a group of strikingly red trees against the cliffs, Shannon and Benjamin took turns mooing out the window at the cows to see who got an answer. They both hit paydirt.
We had driven west out of Jasper the day before while heading to Lost Valley, but had missed the elk and the Trumpeter Swans. This time, we got to see both.
It was dark enough that our binoculars still worked fine, but my cameras didn’t like it at all. The images of the animals are so poor that I won’t bother posting them, but the one of Shannon and Benjamin was too much of a moment to leave on the cutting room floor.
(to be concluded)