ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE
RADICAL ROCK CLIMBING CLIMBS WORTH
Rock Gyms, Outfitters, essential GEAR & MORE Arkansas Amputee Owns Everest
rock on at horseshoe canyon! page 41
State Parks Preview Quail Questions Hope for a Comeback
A Tasty Twist on Venison
SPRING 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 1
Hook. Reel. Laugh. they are only this big for so long...
consistent temperatures in the white river keeps trout active year-round which means you should catch your limit!
we have something for everyone:
explore our nature trails for hiking, running & biking cottages & rooms fly-in private air strip fine dining at our restaurant fly fishing school tennis court & pool boat rentals guided fishing trips weddings and more!
reconnect with your family this season
1777 river road | lakeview, arkansas 870-431-5202 | gastons.com lat 36 20’ 55” n long 92 33’ 25” w follow us on
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Andrea Anzalone, Andrew Bothun and Eric Brown are just some of the climbers who have made HORSESHOE CANYON one of Arkansas’ top climbing destinations. See story page 40.
Great climbing abounds in the Natural State
FUN FOR ALL Your Arkansas State Parks are ready to bring excitement
32 PHOTOGRAPHY BY NOVO STUDIO
HUNTS THAT HEAL
Buckmasters NWA sponsors very special trips
TOP OF THE WORLD Jeff Glasbrenner takes Everest
Childhood’s first introduction to the outdoors lives in Arkansas
10 OUTDOOR ESSENTIALS 12 CONSERVATION 16 GAME & FLAME 20 ARKANSAS OUTOOOR ARTISANS 24 OUT & ABOUT 50 OUTDOOR ORIGINALS
4 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
ON THE COVER: Climber Andrea Anzalone takes control at Horseshoe Canyon. Photography by Novo Studio.
Hibernation season is over! Time to get out and enjoy the culture and scenery of the Arkansas Delta! And what better way to drink in our natural beauty than on two big wheels? Whether you prefer the free-wheeling adventure of following an unknown trail or the efficiency of an organized tour, we have the cycling experience youâ€™re looking for. Visit us!
Photo: Bicycling the trails of Village Creek State Park is fun for the entire family. This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 5
Push YO U R BO DY AS W E L L AS YOU R L I M I T S .
ARKANSAS WILD ARKANSASWILD.COM | FACEBOOK.COM/ARKANSASWILD
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Play On. It’s what we do. We’re a big, diverse family of tennis players, swimmers, runners, CrossFitters, cannonballers, stairmaster-ers, weekend warriors, big kids, little kids and kids who never grew up. We love to run, jump, serve, swim, splash, sweat, lap, lunge, squat, compete and do pretty much any other verb you can associate with fitness. We believe that fitness and fun not only can co-exist, but that they are soul mates that should never be apart. It’s why this club exists. And it’s why we come to work. It’s why, more than ever, we’re committed to helping you – our members – play often, play hard and Play On.
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6 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
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201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 200 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2017 Arkansas Wild
PHILIP THOMAS is the owner and
operator of Novo Studio, a photography, video and graphic design company located in northwest Arkansas.
Float he Legend.
KAT ROBINSON is an Arkansas
travel writer and foodways enthusiast living in Little Rock. The author of three travel dining guides (including Arkansas Pie: A Delicious Slice of the Natural State), the veteran journalist spends her time exploring highways and byways wherever she may wander.
Get your Buffalo National River float on with Buffalo Outdoor Center, Arkansas’ adventure resort. We can provide everything you’ll need to enjoy a float trip on America’s legendary first national river. And our fully furnished cabins – many with hot tubs – will welcome you home after a great day on the river.
870-861-5514 BuffaloRiver.com Buffalo Outdoor Center is authorized within Buffalo National River to provide canoe rentals and transportation services.
FOR ALL YOUR FISHʼN NEEDS!
DWAIN HEBDA is a Little Rock-
based journalist and president of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths. He has written on a range of subject matter for a number of publications in the Natural State and beyond.
6506 WARDEN RD SHERWOOD, AR
ZOË ROM is a post-punk vegetarian with a knack for misadventure. When she's not running, she's climbing, and when she's not climbing, she's cooking or eating. Writer, podcaster and avid gardener, she starts every day with a cup of strong coffee and a good story.
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 7
FROM THE EDITOR
• ROCK CLIMBING • BACKPACKING • CAMPING • APPAREL AND FOOTWEAR • KAYAKING • FLY FISHING • RAPPELLING • CANOEING • HIKING
501.767.1373 • 112 Blackhawk Lane Hot Springs, AR • ouachitaoutdoors.com
GET UP & OUTSIDE Arkansans impress and inspire me—and that’s one of the greatest joys in being a part of Arkansas Wild. In each issue, we seek out the unique personalities that make the Natural State such a wonderful place to explore, and this first issue of 2017 is no different. Join us as we head to North Little Rock’s Flyway Brewing for a tasty treat, then check out the wonderful philanthropic work done by groups like Buckmasters NWA and local apparel manufacturer Homegrown Arkansas—you’re sure to be inspired, too. As always, we like to use our first issue of the year as a motivational tool for everyone (ourselves included) to shake off the winter cobwebs and get out into the wild places that surround us. To that end, we’re profiling some of the best rock climbing spots in the state—plus giving you the details about where you can hone your skills and get great equipment to boot. I’d also like to congratulate long-time Arkansas outdoorsman George Dunklin Jr.—the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently voted to rename the Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area for George, and I think it’s a well-deserved honor. George served on the AGFC from 20052012, has spent more than 30 years volunteering with conservation group Ducks Unlimited—and he’s known far and wide as one of the Natural State’s premier waterfowl advocates. In both his capacity as a duck hunter and rice farmer, George has made it his mission to keep Arkansas’ land and water clean. I continue to meet such wonderful people, each with wonderful stories to tell. If I haven’t met you yet, don’t be a stranger. Get in touch with us and let us hear how the Arkansas outdoors inspire you!
PHOTOGRAPHY: BRIAN CHILSON
MON - FRI 9-6 • SATURDAY 9-5
Michael Roberts Editor, Arkansas Wild @ArkansasWildMag
8 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
EVERY JOURNEY BEGINS HERE!
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1. POWERFUL PROTECTION
“As I made the transition from bouldering to sport and alpine climbing, I soon realized the importance of a comfy helmet that I’ll actually wear. The Black Diamond Half Dome is a great entry-level helmet for climbers unsure of how much trad, alpine or big wall climbing they’ll be doing. It’s possible to put safety first without having to splurge.” $60 blackdiamondequipment.com
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“This simple yet stylish chalk bag is sure to lend you hipster cred at the gym or the crag. Having chalk on hand is vital in the sticky, sweaty south and these convenient little chalk carriers are handmade in Colorado.” $29 topodesigns.com
3. FIERCE FOOTWEAR
“My Anasazis are by far my favorite shoe. The slim, low volume fit is comfy but grants amazing control up on the rock. They strike a good balance between comfortable fit and an aggressive, downturned toe that makes powering off on boulder problems a breeze. Plus, they’re made in the USA” $165 fiveten.com
4. BOULDERING BESTIE
“My crash pad is my most prized possession. Organic Climbing Company hand sews their pads out of fabric scraps from other projects. Though they’re happy to design a custom pad for you, I just told them I liked purple and turquoise, and they designed me an awesome, 90s inspired pad fashioned from leftovers. They’re personalized and environmentally friendly, and boast some of the best foam on the market.” $175 organicclimbing.com
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5. SIMPLE STRENGTH
“This is my favorite belay device because it doesn’t have much of a learning curve and is really easy to handle. As a climber girl who often ends up belaying guys that outweigh me, the GRIGRI holds another climber’s weight easily and makes hang-dogging up a route less obnoxious for the belayer. I’ve taken many a fall on my GRIGRI, and have caught many friends. I trust this little guy with my life and beyond.” $100 petzl.com Be sure to check out your local outfitter for these products.
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505 Rector Street Little Rock, AR 72202 @ezgo_littlerock @ARpowersports ARKANSASWILD.COM | 11
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF THE UNITED STATES FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Bobwhite quail were once one of the most common game birds in Arkansas. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hopes to rebuild the species’ numbers.
RESTORING QUAIL HABITAT, NUMBERS A BIG CHALLENGE
BY DWAIN HEBDA
arcus Asher has only been on the ground in Arkansas for a little more than a month, but that’s long enough for the new State Quail Coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) to realize that bringing back Bobwhite Quail populations in the Natural State presents several major challenges. Still, the former private land conservationist from the Missouri Department of Conservation holds an optimistic attitude about what the future holds for a game bird that was once plentiful from one end of the state to the other. “A grade [for population numbers] would probably be like a C to a D, as far as the numbers right now,” he says. “I’m not saying the actual hunting itself is bad or anything—if you can find some birds. But overall, throughout the state, the bird population is just low. You’re going to end up basically having a whole lot more exercise than shooting birds.” According to the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s (NBCI) “State of the Bobwhite Report 2016,” Arkansas’ quail population has declined 70 percent over the past 30 years. The birds are so scarce, only four percent of Arkansas residents with hunting licenses hunt quail. Unlike past eras where quail ran as thick as squirrels, what hunting remains today tends to be limited to certain areas of the state. “[The best area] is probably up in the northwest around the Fort Chaffee area,” Marcus says. “That’s where I do hear some success stories from people that still quail hunt. And then also in the Ouachitas where they have a restoration area.” 12 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Arkansas is our top priority.
And our only priority.
There’s a lot to love about the Natural State. We should know because Arkansas has been our home since 1932. Throughout the years, we’ve added locations, services and solutions. And we’re still growing – not outside the state, but deeper in. We’re invested in our home. Your home. When your bank is only in Arkansas, you know it’s all about you.
O N L Y IN A R K A N S A S
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Since frontier days when the abundance of Bobwhite Quail was noted by early explorers and pioneers, the bird has endured decades-long periods of depletion and renewal. According to its book, Arkansas Wildlife, A History, the AGFC reported in 1915 that quail were more abundant than wild turkeys, having experienced two years of “splendid increase.” The commission credited that bump in bird numbers to conservation programs, including habitat demonstration projects at Roe and Monticello. The federal government took notice, and in 1940 funded a project patterned after the AGFC demonstrations. This resulted in nearly 3,000 conservation acres in 24 counties. The birds’ numbers stayed relatively steady for the next four decades, during which time the majority of those overwhelmingly privately-owned conservation acres were turned over to other use. The quail population took a steep dive in the 1980s as farming practices did away with the quail’s preferred habitat of weedy, shrubby sections of prairie land—and have remained low ever since. “In an agriculturual stretch like the Delta, there’s virtually nothing out there now that would suffice a quail to have a nest or take its brood anywhere,” Marcus says. “They have beans and corn and stuff like that, but quail can’t survive strictly on that. They need a whole lot more field borders of broomsedge and other native grasses to make good nesting habitat. They also need a lot of weedy areas, and nowadays if you’re a farmer, weeds are sprayed out. They don’t want anything other than their crops there.” Today, the AGFC is doing more than wringing its hands over the alarming decline in numbers. Earlier this year, the commission convened a day-and-a-half meeting of Bobwhite experts from Arkansas and other states to examine the problem. In December, Arkansas joined seven other states in a National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative proposal approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service under its Working Lands For Wildlife program. NBCI is the unified strategic effort of 25 state fish and wildlife agencies and various conservation organizations to restore wild populations of Bobwhite to levels comparable to 1980. Marcus, who grew up in Jonesboro, also said there are various programs that provide financial incentive to farmers and landowners to turn a portion of their property into quail habitat. “Anyone that owns ground can sign up areas that are less productive—like field edges where trees are overhanging,” he says. “The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) pays that farmer to set that ground aside. That’s one avenue.” He said his department is also looking to demonstrate how to manage existing pasture land in a more quailfriendly manner. “In the instance of pasture grounds, producers can choose not to graze it so heavily or graze during certain times of year to get a better response of weeds,” Marcus says. “And then just educating farmers about weeds as not such a bad thing as far as they’re not just completely taking over his pasture. You don’t have to change the entire way you do business, maybe just here and there.” 14 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Changes in farming practices have reduced the weed-heavy prairies that quail prefer for their nests (top). Once common throughout the state, quail such as this female are now mainly hunted in the Fort Chaffee area of Arkansas (bottom).
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We have a park for every week, every activity and every personality. You like history? Got it. You like music? Got that. Paddling, fishing, swimming, climbing, soaring, sunning, hiking, campingâ€Ś? Yep, yep and double yep. So come take advantage of your Arkansas State Parks.
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ARKANSASWILD.COM | 15
GAME & FLAME
PHOTOGRAPHY: BRIAN CHILSON
Pair with a Flyway Bluewing Blueberry Wheat.
Fresh blueberries and arugula balance the venison.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK’S FLYWAY BREWING COMPANY TAKES US ON A VENISON ADVENTURE BY MICHAEL ROBERTS 16 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
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Clockwise from left: Head cook Dylan Graves grew up cooking in Mountain Home, and sees Flyway as something very special. He combines venison, bacon, green onion, Worcestershire and an egg to make his slider mixture, then tops it with a decadent blueberry reduction.
t was clear from the moment we entered Flyway Brewing Company’s North Little Rock brewpub that Arkansas Wild had found a group of brewers, cooks, bartenders and servers as excited about the Natural State’s outdoor abundance as we are. After all, the brewery’s name itself is a reference to the Mississippi Flyway, and duck-related décor is the rule in the dining room. This outdoor theme extends well beyond decoration—a love of wild game also informs the brewery’s excellent menu of delicious bar food. “The idea was to try things that can be harvested in the state,” says Flyway co-founder Jess McMullen. To that end, ingredients like bacon-wrapped quail, wild boar meatballs and fresh trout adorn a menu that’s unlike any other in the state. And, of course, Flyway’s rotating cast of 11 different microbrews make everything very easy and enjoyable to wash down. We were here to learn some wild game secrets from the folks who have made that their culinary niche. Jess led us to Flyway’s spotless kitchen, turning us over to head cook Dylan Graves, who introduced us to the dish he was preparing: a venison slider topped with goat cheese, arugula and a fresh blueberry reduction made with Flyway’s Bluewing Blueberry Wheat beer (and a copious amount of luscious berries). After expressing a bit of skepticism that a decent burger (even a small one) could be made using ultra-lean venison, Dylan smiled and revealed his secret ingredient: bacon. “I’ll cook up some bacon and retain the fat,” he said. “Once the bacon grease cools off, I’ll add that and the crumbled bacon to the venison—along with some green onions, sautéed garlic and an egg for binding it all together. That way there’s some fat added to the lean venison.” 18 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
As the blueberry reduction simmered into a thick, syrupy glaze that smelled like springtime, Dylan prepared several four ounce patties and let them chill for about 10 minutes, moving with practiced ease. “I grew up cooking,” he said. “My grandparents owned a restaurant in Mountain Home, and so this has always been in my blood.” It was just at that moment when Ryan Frank, one of Flyway’s brewers, dropped into the kitchen holding pint glasses of something very dark and delightful: an 11% ABV chocolate stout the brewery is calling the “Lord God Bird”—a colloquial name for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. It’s a beer that’s heady without being heavy, and it made for excellent palate preparation. We watched in hungry anticipation as Dylan seared the venison patties in a cast iron grill skillet, then layered on the toppings. The first bite was perfectly balanced bliss: savory, slightly gamey venison backed up by smoky bacon, the bite of arugula, tangy goat cheese and all pulled together by the succulent sweetness of the blueberry reduction. The second bite was just as good. As a matter of fact, the second (and third) sliders that yours truly ate were too. It’s clear that wild game is not just a gimmick for Flyway—it’s a way of life. Want to try your hand at Flyway’s venison sliders? Dylan was kind enough to let us have the recipe. And if you’d like them to do the cooking for you, be sure to check out their fantastic North Little Rock taproom. They’ll be announcing their Otto Blonde brew coming up in March— and $1 from every pint of that beer sold will go to the Audubon Society. For more information on Flyway’s upcoming events, new menu items and current beer line-up, visit facebook.com/flywaybrewingcompany.
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Fry bacon until crisp, remove and let cool. Sauté the garlic in the bacon fat until translucent. Allow bacon fat to cool. Mix all ingredients by hand, taking care not to overwork the meat. Form small patties and allow to chill for 10-20 minutes. Cook until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Yields 12-15 sliders. BLUEBERRY REDUCTION: 6 ounces beer 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries ¾ cup sugar In a small saucepan, bring beer to a boil. Add blueberries, sugar and lemon zest and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened (about 20 minutes). To build your sliders, place arugula, a venison patty, a slice of soft goat cheese and a dollop of the blueberry reduction on a slider bun. Serve and enjoy!
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 19
HOMEGROWN ARKANSAS MAKES DRESSING LOCAL FUN BY MICHAEL ROBERTS
20 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
ooking for truth in a name? Then Fayetteville apparel designer Homegrown Arkansas is just the company for you. Founded in 2013 by Jacob Gould and Jason Sumner, the company has quite literally grown from each of the men’s homes. “Our operations have only been at two locations,” says Jacob. “My house and Jason’s. My wife, Rachael, does our accounting and Jason’s wife, Jessica, runs our website.” After making fast friends during a ride home from a 2011 Avett Brothers concert, Jacob and Jason realized they and their wives all shared a passion for art, music, sustainability and the outdoors. For the two couples, those shared values mean their business goes beyond the Natural State-themed shirts, hats and stickers they design and manufacture. “We built our business structure around our friendship,” says Jacob. “We tend to get more accomplished when we put our relationships ahead of everything else.” Those relationships go beyond just the two couples behind Homegrown, though. “Our circle of friends is an eclectic group of artists, vagabonds, musicians and likeminded folks,” says Jacob. “We affectionately refer to our crew as ‘Hambones.’ Homegrown is a creative outlet for us.” Drawing from the combined strength and aesthetic provided by the Hambones, Homegrown has developed some of the most unique gear available in Arkansas. “One of our mottos is ‘Live. Love. Local,’” continues Jacob. “Much of our design is inspired by our surroundings in the Natural State.” Such one-of-a-kind designs include t-shirts with cleverly printed maps of float favorites like the Buffalo and Mulberry rivers as well as shirts with designs that shout out the Mississippi Flyway and Big Piney Creek. “We work with local artists on all of our shirt designs,” says Jacob. “We like to give our artists freedom, too.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: HOMEGROWN ARKANSAS
Colorful t-shirts, hand printed in Arkansas, are the flagship product of Homegrown Arkansas.
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Selection: MariDeck allows you to choose from 20 different combinations of color, texture, thickness and width. Ideal for pontoon and aluminum fishing boats. Call or email to request free samples.
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 21
“ONE OF OUR MOTTOS IS ‘LIVE. LOVE. LOCAL.’” —JACOB GOULD
Clockwise from top left: The t-shirt printing process is something that partners Jacob Gould and Jason Sumner still do themselves. The result is a wide variety of shirts that reflect the bikers, floaters and all-around Arkansas lovers. The partners also sell their wares at local events like this year’s Frost Fest in Fayetteville.
22 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Great designs are only a part of the Homegrown process, however. “We hand print all our designs in small batches,” says Jacob. “Our printing has always been done in-house.” As the company grows, Jacob admits that such handson printing might not always be feasible, but he views that as a potential positive. “We like the idea of focusing more energy on art, philanthropy and sustainable textiles, so having another local company print [our shirts] may be a future option.” It’s this philanthropic urge that forms the last—and in some ways, most vital—aspect of Homegrown’s philosophy. The company has partnered with local organizations like The Mulberry River Society, veterans’ program Soldier On Service Dogs, Friends of White Rock Mountain, Keep Arkansas Beautiful and more. “Our intentions with Homegrown were never to make money,” says Jacob. “That has made it easy to give back to others we believe in.” Such efforts to give back can mean a lot of fun for Arkansans, too. “One of the greatest accomplishments is our nonprofit, the Homegrown on the River Music Festival,” says Jacob. “The festival began last year, and featured The Wood Brothers and Leftover Salmon. This year’s lineup includes groups like Steep Canyon Rangers, White Denim, Hot Buttered Rum, Arkansauce and more.” The entire event is focused on promoting sustainability—particularly eliminating single-use plastic products. To that end, they provide stainless cups and utilize a solar dishwashing station for cleaning. It’s all part of becoming the earthconscious company Homegrown strives to be. “At the end of the day, we’re really just all best friends doing something we enjoy and believe in,” says Jacob. “We hope that our friends, family and customers believe in what we do as well.” For more information on Homegrown Arkansas, including information about the August Homegrown on the River Music Festival, visit homegrownarkansas.com.
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ARKANSASWILD.COM | 23
OUT & ABOUT
ZIP LINES, CLIMBING AND MORE AT LOCO ROPES BY KAT ROBINSON
Whether embarking on a challenge by yourself or working with a team, Loco Ropes offers zip lines (left), a climbing wall (center) and rope obstacles (right) that are designed to engage you both mentally and physically.
Connect with nature in the treetops of Mountain View at Loco Ropes, a neat attraction on the grounds of the Ozark Folk Center. This collection of obstacle courses rises 10 to 40 feet above the ground and offers great opportunities for both self-challenges and team building. Bob and Judy Cox opened the adventure in the fall of 2010. Their mission is two-fold: motivation and team-building. “One of the focuses of Loco Ropes is to encourage and motivate people to get out from behind all the electronics and get in touch with nature,” Bob shares. Indeed, tightrope walking, balance beam striding and critical thinking all take place on each of the attraction’s challenge courses. Wood, wire and rope in various combinations have been assembled in the trees to create unique and complex aerial paths. More than 30 different elements are offered. There’s no time limit to complete the course—some folks rush to see how quickly they can get through, while others take their time and enjoy the lofty views and close-up sights of being in the verdant canopy.
24 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Bob, who started rock climbing and rappelling in the Texas Hill Country in the 1970s, says the top questions he hears are about safety. “Everyone is in a harness,” he assures. “Everyone’s on a belay, or fall protection system. Before you start on the course, we lock you in on a safety wire. You’re locked onto it the entire time, continuously.” The course is inspected every day by the staff, and annually by the Association of Challenge Course Technology. “We take risk management very much to heart. Every person goes up in the trees with a trained, certified facilitator. We practice our skills during the season and recertify annually.”
LOCATION: Just over two hours north of Little Rock, or three hours east of Fayetteville at 1025A Park Avenue in Mountain View. GPS: 35.3073664, -92.6577282 870-269-6566 locoropes.com
COME AS YOU ARE
You might think you need a special outfit to participate on the courses at Loco Ropes, but that’s not the case. “Dress for the weather. We have had times where there’s been snow on the ground and platforms. Dress in layers if it’s cold. When it’s hot, wear shorts or whatever’s comfortable. We recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots, but it’s whatever you want to wear, as long as your toes are covered.” “We do have Crocs we can provide for rental, from little bitty to size 13 adults. But as long as the toes are covered you are okay. We’ve had people wear everything from cowboy boots to ballet slippers.” In addition to the courses, Loco Ropes offers zip lines called the Flying Pig and the Screaming Pig, as well as a free fall and a climbing wall. While the courses can be strenuous, they are open to all ages and to anyone who wants to attempt them. A 250-pound weight limit is set for Tower Adventures just because of the safety equipment, but for Treetop courses the only requirement is that each participant is at least 43 inches tall. Cox says he’s had people from ages four to 76 in the treetops and two to 93 on the climbing walls.
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM
TRAVEL THE TREETOPS
Safety is important at Loco Ropes, with each participant harnessed in at all times. This makes challenges like the tightrope walk no less arduous, but certainly less frightening. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 25
Loco Ropes is open to people of all ages, and owner Bob Cox urges everyone to come just as they are.
TEAM BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
The second focus of Loco Ropes is team building. “There are a lot of neat things that happen in the trees,” Bob says. “As [participants] go through the challenge, bonding takes place, and you get shared experiences with a group. I’m not exaggerating when I say that life changing things have taken place—we’ve [had] people who have never done the Flying Pig, it’s like they’ve conquered the world. “Our Loco Ropes Leadership Relationship Development is our Team Building Area. We offer a variety of challenges over there. We’ve had all sorts of different groups participate—from school groups and teams to marching bands and chambers of commerce. Team building helps address what things we can do to have a more efficient team to work better together, or how to perform like a team. Our challenges are problems to solve, outdoors in a different environment, which gives them a chance to figure out what works. We give them these tools to take back into their environments. People can use the things we cover and teach in our team-building in any relationship in their lives, friends, family, work, play—tried and true tested things.” After each team building exercise, the group is debriefed and Loco Ropes facilitators talk with them about what worked and what didn’t work. Programs last from a few hours to overnight. “We like giving folks a challenge,” Bob says. “We give them the equipment, the tools and the information.” 26 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
AFTER SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
Of course, being near the rest of the Ozark Folk Center provides ample opportunities to experience the great music, crafts and artisan demonstrations the park is famous for. Some of the best caving in the country is also nearby at Blanchard Springs Cavernsâ€”and while youâ€™re at it, fish for trout at Mirror Lake, fed by cold water from the caverns. And be sure to stop by the OK Trading Post in Mountain View to take a piece of the Ozarks home with you.
Enjoy a trip through Blanchard Springs Caverns (top), then fish for trout in nearby Mirror Lake (bottom).
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 27
FuN FOr all YOUR ARKANSAS STATE PARKS ARE READY TO BRING EXCITEMENT
1. eager beaver
There is a reason Arkansas is known as the Natural State. From the Mississippi River Delta to the Ozark and Ouachita mountains, our state abounds with some of the best terrain ever found on God’s green earth. What’s even better is the sheer number of unique state parks we have to choose from, each staffed with knowledgeable folks who develop and produce some of the most fantastic programs around—and, of course, there’s the hiking, biking, fishing, floating, swimming, climbing and more to make sure there’s never a dull moment in the Arkansas outdoors. We’ve gathered up our top six favorite outdoor activites available this year from our state parks:
28 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Experience the wonders of Arkansas’ largest state park: 12,056-acre Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area near Rogers. In addition to the wonderful hiking and expansive 17,531-square foot visitor center, visitors can also take a stand up paddleboard (SUP) out onto the clear waters of Beaver Lake—or take a shot or three at the state’s only public, outdoor shooting range with a bullet trap. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks.com/ hobbsstateparkconservationarea.
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM
2. cache in In recent years, technology has made geocaching a very popular activity across the country, and our Arkansas State Parks have gotten in on the craze. Visitors are encouraged to search out and explore the parks to find hidden caches—and to leave something small for the next person. Different geocaching opportunities are available for kids, couples and groups across the state. Each of our 52 state parks is involved in geocaching, meaning there’s something to find everywhere you look. Be sure to check out the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s geocaching policy, and download the Department’s handy sheet for tracking coordinates at all our state parks. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks.com/ things-to-do/geocaching.
THERE’S A LOT TO LOVE ABOUT THE DIAMOND LAKES REGION.
Much of which you can see all around you – scenic drives, lakes and rivers, mountains, forests, state parks, attractions – while others are waiting to be discovered when you dig a little deeper. There are a myriad of lodging options from downtown hotels to lake resorts and award-winning marinas to use as outposts to access lake adventures. It’s a special place with history, adventure and beauty in these Ouachita Mountain foothills.
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3. dig in
Arkansas’ place along several ma jor North American waterways means we have an abundance of archaeological evidence of long-ago peoples. The most famous of these are the earthen mounds at Toltec Mounds State Park in Scott, where park interpreters will host an artifact identification day on March 18. It’s a great way to learn about the people who walked these lands long before Europeans settled here. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks/ toltecmounds.
4. Eagles all over There are several opportunities around the state to check out Arkansas’ abundant bald eagles. Eagle tours are held at Cane Creek State Park in Star City, DeGray Resort State Park in Bismarck and Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, while Bull Shoals State Park regularly promotes eagle awareness. There’s nothing quite like these ma jestic birds of prey—and nothing quite like Arkansas’ efforts at eagle conservation. For more information, visit degray.com, arkansasstateparks. com/canecreek, arkansasstateparks/ lakedardanelle or arkansasstateparks.com/ bullshoalswhiteriver.
30 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Address etc.) And center it as best as possible.
5. sail away Take to the skies from one of 1,350-foot Mount Nebo State Park’s two launch sites. The park also holds both spring and summer fly-in events (provided the weather cooperates). Visitors wishing to soar over the park are required to register at the park’s visitor center and provide proof of an advanced pilot’s license. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks. com/mountnebo or ouachitahanggliding.com.
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6. time for music There’s always great music at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, so head that way for some toe-tapping fun. Of particular note is this year’s Spring Bluegrass Festival, held March 9-11 at the park. For more information, visit ozarkfolkcenter.com.
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HUNTS THAT HEAL
Buckmasters NWA sponsors very special trips
PHOTOGRAPHY: LINDELL ROTH
BY DWAIN HEBDA
Lieutenant Ti Augustine gets a deer in his sights during his Buckmasters NWA Hero Hunt.
t’s been close to a year since the day the call came in, the one reporting a suicidal man with a shotgun. Ti Augustine and his fellow sheriff’s deputies responded to the situation with a plan to talk the man down. Then, everything went sideways. “We had been there multiple times for similar calls and always got him some help, got him to the hospital,” says Ti, a lieutenant in the enforcement division of the Washington County Sheriff’s office. “This time, when we responded, he ambushed us. I was shot with a 12-gauge slug in the left femoral. It blew out my hip and the neck of my left femur.” Ti, whose passion for law enforcement was rivaled only by his love of the outdoors, was suddenly sidelined in a very big way. Surgery, physical therapy and a lot of down time over the next few months would begin to mend his hip, but also started to rot his soul. “I spent a lot of time in bed and just not getting to do the things I wanted to,” he says. “I love to do outdoor stuff. I love to go kayak fishing. I love to go floating and hiking and all those things and I wasn’t able to do that.” Shortly after he was shot, Ti’s wife got a call from nonprofit Buckmasters Northwest Arkansas with an unexpected offer. They wanted to take the wounded officer on a deer hunt whenever he was ready. An October date was set. “It was my first major outing [since being injured],” Ti says. “I had been going to work a couple days a week just for a few hours a day and going to physical therapy and stuff, but I hadn’t found anything recreational or anything that would really bring enjoyment. I was excited to do it.” 32 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
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Buckmasters takes care of all the logistics for hunts involving veterans, injured police officers like Ti Augustine and terminally ill children.
Lindell Roth co-founded Buckmasters NWA last March and serves as president of the chapter and its roughly 16 active members. He said the idea to make sponsored hunts part of the group’s mission grew out of a national Buckmasters program called Life Hunts. “Kind of what got me is the Buckmasters Life Classic down in Selma, Alabama,” he says. “They take 10 to 12 disabled or critically ill children from around the United States and bring them together at Sedgefield Plantation. It’s like a three- or four-day event. “I saw it on TV and it kind of hit a spot with me. Years ago, my nephew died of leukemia and he loved hunting. I thought if I’d known about this organization it would have been a good opportunity for him.” With the formation of Buckmasters NWA, Lindell and his fellow members were determined to host Life Hunts of their own. They also decided to host Hero Hunts for veterans and first responders, borrowing from an organization in Louisiana by the same name. “We set a goal of having two Hero Hunts and two Life Hunts last year,” he says. “We did a fundraiser back in April 2016 to help us build our funds because we basically didn’t have any money starting out.” Ultimately the group sponsored three youth hunts on the hero side and three Hero Hunts, Ti Augustine’s being the first, followed by taking out two area veterans. The process was made easier by willing landowners who provided access to their property. Mobility, as one can imagine, is one of the bigger challenges of such hunts, so property with easy access was crucial 34 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
to a positive outdoors experience—for some kids, their very first. “Our biggest goal this year is trying to get a bigger location where we can take three or four at a time and spend a weekend with them hunting, fishing and just to getting to know them,” Lindell says. “One thing we keep going back to on this is we don’t want this to be a one-time deal. We’re not out there just to give these hunts to them then say, ‘Nice seeing you, hope you do all right.’ We want a long-term relationship with them and their families.” “A lot of people think, ‘Well you take kids out hunting, big deal,’ you know? But there’s a lot more to it. We want to make it a lot more than just that.” As for Ti, he continues to heal, is walking with assistance and has returned to part-time desk duty. He points to his Hero Hunt as a key pick-me-up during his recovery. “I wasn’t terribly mobile then. I was still on crutches and honestly, I had been in bed for so long that my muscles were pretty atrophied,” says Ti—who got a 10-point deer on his October outing. “But you know what, it made me feel like I could do something again.” “I would encourage anybody that had been active [and then hurt] to do it. If you’re feeling well enough, get out there a little bit, go do it. It did wonders for me.” The northwest Arkansas group funds its activities through donations and its annual banquet in March. In addition to the hunts, it sponsors Venison for Vets where donated game is processed and the meat given to needy area veterans.
GET INVOLVED WITH BUCKMASTERS
Buckmasters NWA will be holding their annual banquet on March 4, 2017 at the Springdale Rodeo Community Center. The event will include gun raffles, an auction and a meal. All proceeds go to providing hunting and fishing opportunities to chronically ill children and disabled veterans. Buckmasters is also currently accepting applications for disabled hunters and severely ill children to participate in hunts. Information for how to apply is available on their Facebook page. For more information, visit facebook.com/BuckmastersNWA.
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JEFF GLASBRENNER TAKES EVEREST BY MICHAEL ROBERTS PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF TEAM GLAS
rom the age of eight, when a farming accident left him a below-the-knee amputee, Jeff Glasbrenner has not only had something to prove—he’s had incredible success in doing so. The three-time Paralympian and former professional wheelchair basketball player has always insisted on pushing his body to its limits, competing in (and finishing) more than two dozen Iron Man competitions, setting scoring and rebounding records (63 points and 27 rebounds in one game), and, most recently, tackling the tallest mountain peak in the world: Mount Everest. When I caught up with Jeff, he was just returning from the Sundance Film Festival, where he had been helping promote Capturing Everest Virtual Reality, a new project that will allow everyone an immersive experience from the comfort of a VR headset. He’s direct and straightforward about what motivates him: “People see my disability and not my ability,” he says. “I want to show people what I can do.” Jeff splits time between Arkansas and Colorado, and says he’d never done any climbing before moving to Denver. “I went to the Grand Tetons two years ago,” he says. “I got into a group by chance, and there I was, no experience with altitude, climbing. Being an endurance athlete made that easier, but there were still many things to learn.” There were multiple obstacles to surmount in the lead-up to Jeff’s trip to Nepal. The first, and perhaps most vital, was developing a prosthetic leg that could serve two functions: be light and flexible while insulating his leg where it attached. 36 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
Jeff Glasbrenner shows off his customdesigned carbon-fiber prosthetic leg among the treacherous ice floes of Mount Everest. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 37
"Don't make it to the peak an d miss the point.”– jeff glasbrenn er
He worked with a doctor in New York to develop a oneof-a-kind leg that would allow him to tackle the extreme conditions of Everest. The result was a $60,000 carbonfiber and carbon-foam prosthesis. “It’s unique,” he says. “But the research and development that went into it will advance prosthetics moving forward.” Once his prosthetic leg was in place, he then had to convince a guide service to work with him. “Finding a guide was a challenge,” he says. “Most guide services considered me quite a liability due to being an amputee—plus not having a lot of experience. I finally connected with Madison Mountaineering, and they gave me a shot.” That shot required Jeff to travel to Argentina and scale a 22,000-foot peak there in order to prove he had the skills to tackle the Himalayas. “Once they knew I had developed good climbing skills, they agreed to take me on for Everest.” “I left on March 31, 2016 and two days later I was in Katmandu,” Jeff says. After a few days of touring the 38 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
city, Jeff and his team got ready for the main event. “They lined us up like gym class,” Jeff says with a laugh. “The sherpas got to pick who they wanted to climb with, and of course, I was picked last.” The skepticism of the native guides was quickly put to rest during the preliminary obstacle courses and practice climbing required of those wishing to summit Everest. “After being the first one through the obstacle course, my guide realized I could do this.” The actual climb of Everest was a combination of grueling climbs and patience. Of particular concern to Jeff was a section of ice floes that had a tendency to break and crash to the ground at unpredictable moments. “We started our climb at 10 p.m. just because that’s when the ice is the most stable. Still, there were instances when massive amounts of ice would crash right in front of us. You’re playing the odds, really,” he says. His greatest moment of doubt came during his first night at base camp—19,500 feet above sea level. “The air is so thin. I woke up that night feeling like I was
Part of the preparation for climbing Everest involved obstacle courses in the Himalayan foothills (top). Dangerous ice floes and high altitude combined to create an enormous challenge for everyone on Jeff’s team. (Facing page) An exuberant team celebrates their ascent of the world’s tallest peak. Jeff (bottom) had to wear up to 20 pairs of socks to maintain the fit of his prosthetic leg after losing an enormous amount of weight on the climb.
drowning, gasping for breath. Your body and mind are just stressed and it takes a while to acclimate.” Lucky for Jeff, he endured—with some help from a teammate— and woke the next day ready to climb again. “That was the only time that happened, thankfully. I just view it as another way my body got stronger,” he says. After making it from base camp to camp 2, Jeff’s team had to contend with massive storms, waiting for six days until they could continue the climb. This resulted in something that affected Jeff more than anyone else on the climb—weight loss. “They call it the Everest Diet,” he says with a laugh. “I lost 20 pounds in those six days. And the thing about being an amputee, my leg is custom-designed to fit me at a certain weight. Losing weight means this device I depend on doesn’t fit as well anymore.” He had the foresight to pack extra socks to make up for the weight loss—a lot of extra socks. “I normally wear a pair over my stump, and after that week I was wearing 20 pairs.” Taking the best weather-window they’d had still meant traveling to the oxygen-deprived “death zone” of Everest in white-out conditions. Their initial plan to make a seven hour climb with eight hours of oxygen turned into a grueling journey of 12 hours—in an area of the world where rescue is impossible. “We had to spend an extra night in the death zone,” Jeff says. “It was like being on another planet.” Finally, after weeks of maneuvering the cliffs, 10,000foot drop-offs and storms of world’s tallest peak, Jeff and his team made their summit push, utilizing a method of climbing that required taking a single step, then resting for three breaths. “When we got to the summit, I spent 25 minutes there; just reflecting on everything—and the 1,200 miles of visibility such a height provides you.” Of course, then came the climb down. “We always say, ‘Don’t make it to the peak and miss the point,’” says Jeff. “I had to get back down so I could see my family. Most accidents happen on the way back— people are tired, there’s limited oxygen and food, and people take risks.” Finally, after six weeks of making Mount Everest his home, Jeff arrived back in Katmandu, tired and relieved—and also a man who had conquered the world’s highest peak. For Jeff Glasbrenner, Everest was just another example of pushing himself to every possible limit—and not letting the loss of a leg mean the loss of any experience. He’s going to be one of the first amputees to run the Moscow Marathon next fall, and has several Iron Man and speed climbing ascents in Europe planned as well. “I’m always trying to be the best I can be,” Jeff says. For more information on Jeff’s Everest climb, his public speaking schedule and a link to buy his book, The Gift of a Day, visit Team Glasbrenner’s website at teamglas.com. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 39
GREAT CLIMBING ABOUNDS IN THE NATURAL STATE BY MICHAEL ROBERTS
PHOTOGRAPHY: NOVO STUDIO 40 | Arkansas Wild Â¸ SPRING 2017
rkansas might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of excellent rock climbing, but Arkansas Climbers Coalition (ACC) board member Reed James says that’s a mistake. “Arkansas is very fortunate to have some of the country’s best moderate climbing,” he says. Cole Fennel, Reed’s fellow ACC board member and author of Rock Climbing Arkansas, agrees. “The characteristics of the rock in Arkansas lend themselves well to climbing. It’s more athletic than thoughtprovoking, almost like climbing a ladder,” he says. “It’s a great place to get your fundamentals down.” Groups like the ACC spend much of their free time working to conserve and improve Arkansas’ climbing hot spots, including clearing storm damage and rebolting routes in order to provide the safest climbing conditions possible. The hope is that the rock climbing community in Arkansas will continue to grow. According to Reed, the best way to get involved is to reach out to the existing communities. “When it comes to rock climbers, 99 percent of them are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They’re willing to help,” Reed says. “Starting indoors isn’t a bad idea. Work with experienced guides to learn the basics of safety and rope handling.” To that end, we’ve compiled a list of great spots for both experienced and newbie climbers alike. There’s nothing quite like experiencing the greatness of the Arkansas outdoors while scaling some of the sheer bluffs and rock faces that overlook our scenic and expansive vistas.
HORSESHOE CANYON, JASPER GPS: 36.0046973, -93.292728
If there’s one place where the heart of Arkansas’ rock climbing scene beats strongest, it’s Horseshoe Canyon Ranch outside the little town of Jasper. Experienced guides stand ready to get you out into some of the best sandstone climbing around—and climbs geared toward different skill levels make this one of the best places for beginners to cut their teeth. In addition, the ranch also hosts “24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell,” an endurance climb event that draws participants from around the world. “[Horseshoe Canyon owners] the Johnsons have really stepped up in order to cater to the needs of climbers,” says Arkansas Climbers Coalition (ACC) board member Reed James. “Anyone wanting to get into climbing should contact Horseshoe Canyon and book a trip.” AFTER YOUR CLIMB: Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is a working dude ranch, so horse-lovers will find themselves in an equine paradise. Thrill-seekers will gravitate toward the ranch’s Iron Horse zip line, one of the fastest zip lines around. The Buffalo National River is just minutes away, meaning that in addition to worldclass rock climbing, there are also some of the best float opportunities in the country right next door. And once you’ve gotten good and tired out, rest your weary muscles in the ranch’s hot tub. For more information, visit horseshoecanyonduderanch.com or call 800-480-9635.
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 41
SAM’S THRONE, BIG CREEK TOWNSHIP
GPS: 35.8749191, -93.0496989
“People have been climbing at Sam’s Throne since the 1970s,” he says. “We’ve seen a resurgence in popularity recently due to ACC restoration efforts.” Those efforts include hundreds of man-hours invested in bolt replacement and cleaning ice storm damage around the area. AFTER YOUR CLIMB: Head into the town of Jasper for one of Arkansas’ most unique community experiences, and while you’re there, grab some good eats from the Boardwalk Café. From lamb chops to elk steaks, this local restaurant is one of the crown jewels of Newton County. Or if you’re in the mood to shop, check out Emma’s Museum of Junk, one of Arkansas’ most eclectic antique shops in the Natural State. For more information, visit exploretheozarksonline.com.
42 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM
Reed refers to Sam’s Throne as Arkansas’ “legacy climbing area” due to its longstanding popularity. The area offers a wide variety of climbing opportunities, from short bouldering excursions to more vigorous ascents of Mount Judea. The sandstone makes for relatively easy climbing, and the breathtaking views of Big Creek Valley make it a great place for photos as well. The area is also home to some excellent hiking and primitive camping areas.
TALLEST PEAK IN ARKANSAS!
“WHEN IT COMES TO ROCK CLIMBERS, 99 PERCENT OF THEM ARE THE FRIENDLIEST PEOPLE YOU’LL MEET.” —REED JAMES
ALWAYS CLIMB SAFE Keep these basic safety tips in mind whenever climbing: • Make sure all of your gear is in good working condition. • Never climb alone. • Watch for falling rocks and be careful about dropping rocks on people below.
MOUNT MAGAZINE, PARIS GPS: 35.167312, -93.6449152
At 2,753 feet tall, Mount Magazine is the tallest point in the Natural State. The terrain is chock full of rugged bluffs and expansive canyons, making for some of the best rock climbing, rappelling and bouldering opportunities in the state. The mountain’s south bluff features a 1,500-foot wide stretch of sandstone with more than 100 routes of varying difficulty. People are also known to jump right off the mountain when the weather’s right—strapped to hang gliders, of course! AFTER YOUR CLIMB: The State Park offers a host of trails for hiking, mountain biking and backpacking as well as geocaching and horseback riding. Looking for something a bit different? The Arkansas Historic Wine Museum is in nearby Paris—or pay a visit to Arkansas’ own hot-sauce-and-peanut-brittle-making monks at Subiaco Abbey, Academy and Retreat Center.
• Wear a helmet. • Take drinking water. • Be careful where you reach. Snakes may hide in crevices in rock faces. • Be able to identify poison ivy. • Know what to do in any emergency, including injuries, evacuations or rapid changes in weather. Source: The National Park Service. For more information, visit nps.gov.
For more information, visit mountmagazinestatepark.com or call 479-963-8502.
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 43
LITTLE MOE, BIG FORK
GPS: 34.4226139, -93.9196611 “Little Moe” isn’t really an official name—it’s what the locals call the area around the Little Missouri River. This clear, cold stream cuts its way through the Ouachita Mountains, providing one of Arkansas’ most unique climbing experiences. The area is relatively unexplored for rock climbing, but from sheer bluff faces to bouldering challenges, it stands as one of our greatest hidden gems.
THE FALLS ARE PART OF THE CHALLENGE!
AFTER YOUR CLIMB: Relax in the refreshing mountain waters of the Little Missouri River. Or make your way toward the Spa City and enjoy the local flavor at Kollective Coffee & Tea, located in historic downtown Hot Springs. For more information, visit fs.usda.gov.
CLIMB SHOP GUIDE Visit some of these great shops around the state for great gear and expert advice: CENTRAL ARKANSAS
OZARK OUTDOOR SUPPLY 5514 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock 501-664-4832 ozarkoutdoor.com
LEWIS AND CLARK OUTFITTERS 2530 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy., Rogers 479-845-1344
GENE LOCKWOOD’S 1328 Albert Pike Rd., Hot Springs 501-623-2508 1211 W. Markham St., Little Rock 501-227-7678
44 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
4915 S. Thompson St., Springdale 479-756-1344 gooutandplay.com PACKRAT OUTDOOR CENTER 209 W. Sunbridge Dr., Fayetteville 479-521-6340 packratoc.com
THE WOODSMAN 511 Rogers Ave. (in the Central Mall), Fort Smith 479-452-3559 thewoodsmancompany.com
PINNACLE MOUNTAIN, ROLAND
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM
GPS: 34.8425597, -924779145
Standing at 1,011 feet, Pinnacle Mountain is one of Arkansas’ best-known peaks. In addition to nearly 2,000 acres of hiking trails, interactive wildlife experiences and some of the most diverse habitats in the state, Pinnacle also offers multiple climbing routes on its south and east faces. Use of permanent attachments and rappelling is prohibited, but don’t let that stop you from attacking central Arkansas’ tallest mountain. AFTER YOUR CLIMB: The joy of Pinnacle Mountain is its proximity to everything the major urban areas of central Arkansas have to offer. Head into the city to check out the great food and craft beer at Vino’s Pizzeria and Brewpub, Lost Forty Brewing, Blue Canoe Brewing or Rebel Kettle Brewing—or head across the river into North Little Rock and visit Flyway Brewing or the Diamond Bear Arkansas Ale House in North Little Rock. For more information, visit arkansasstateparks.com/ pinnaclemountain or call 501-868-5806.
ARKANSASWILD.COM | 45
ROCK GYM GUIDE
We offer half-day, full day, multi-day and women’s only guided climbing instruction for the beginner to the advanced climber. All of our guides are American Mountain Guide Association Certified.
We’ll Buzz your hair and Shine your shoes! Best Barbershop 1996-2004, 2006-2016
Mon-Fri 8am-5:30pm • Sat 8am-1pm Closed Sun 5815 Kavanaugh • In the Heights
LA CASA POLLO SPORTS CLIMBING 17495 Lake Sequoyah Rd., Fayetteville 479-444-6132 lcp200.com
THE CRAG AT EARL BELL COMMUNITY CENTER 1212 S. Church St., Jonesboro 870-933-4604 jonesboro.org
LET US HELP YOU FIND YOUR ADVENTURE Contact us at: 1-501-454-4391 firstname.lastname@example.org adventureclimbingguides.com
Can’t make it out to the mountains? You can still climb! Arkansas has several excellent rock gyms where you can hone your skills, learn new techniques—or just scratch that itch to climb.
THE WALL AT RUSSELLVILLE CLIMBING CENTER 2016
PHOTO BY LANCE JOHNSTON
1605 N. Phoenix Ave., Russellville 479-890-9255 thewallrussellville.com
ZION CLIMBING CENTER 118 N. Spruce St., Searcy 501-492-9227 zionclimbingcenter.com
OZARK CLIMBING GYM
875 E. Robinson Ave., Springdale 479-756-0900 ozarkclimbing.com
A LEGENDARY ATTRACTION IN FORT SMITH FOR 42 YEARS! OVER 12,500 SQUARE FEET OF HUNTING & FISHING SUPPLIES
Buy, Sell & Trade Guns Belgium Room High Grade Collectible Guns Flyfishing Center
Hottest Crappie Baits in the Country!
Open Monday - Saturday • 3001 Zero St. • Fort Smith, AR 72901 • 877-5TACKLE 46 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
ELEVATE SPORTS GYM
805 Cottonwood Rd., Harrison 870-688-0127 elevatesportsgym.com
LITTLE ROCK CLIMBING CENTER
12120 Colonel Glenn Rd., Ste. 7000, Little Rock 501-227-9500 littlerockclimbingcenter.com
Come shop and celebrate Arkansas and our world-class craftspeople AT WAR MEMORIAL STADIUM IN LITTLE ROCK
MARCH 31 & APRIL 1 FRIDAY MARCH 31, 6 P.M. TO 9P.M. Preview Party and Private Shopping event at War Memorial Stadium. Wine, Beer, Heavy Hor dâ€™oeuvres and Silent Auction Tickets $25 at CentralArkansasTickets.com Please purchase your tickets online early. Tickets are limited.
SATURDAY APRIL 1 10A.M. TO 7 P.M. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Visit with Arkansas artisans and see some of the finest work in America. Textiles, metal, glass, fine art, jewelry, wood, food and more! Admission only $5 at the door! Food and drinks available for purchase.
Brought to you by War Memorial Stadium, the Arkansas Times, and ARKANSAS Arkansas Wild WILD
For more information call Vickie Hart, 501 529 7624 or email at email@example.com ARKANSASWILD.COM | 47
CHILDHOOD’S FIRST INTRODUCTION TO THE OUTDOORS LIVES IN ARKANSAS
BY MICHAEL ROBERTS
ust about everyone knows Daisy Airguns—for many of us, the company’s lever-action youth models were our first introduction to learning about firearms and firearm safety. Others know the company from its status as the Holy Grail of Christmas presents in the 1980s holiday classic “A Christmas Story.” For Arkansans, however, the Daisy story is one that holds a special place in the hearts of the Natural State, having been involved in various methods of manufacturing in the Rogers area since 1958. Daisy Outdoor Products didn’t start in Arkansas—but then again, the company didn’t start as an airgun manufacturer either. The company was founded in Plymouth, Michigan as Plymouth Iron Windmill Company back in 1882, and the airguns that would become its bread and butter were initially just an item given as an incentive to sell more windmills. When the guns proved more popular than the windmills, a change in manufacturing was instituted. It was general manager Lewis Cass Hough who named the company, remarking after firing one of the guns “It’s a daisy!” An icon was born. After outlasting dozens of competitors in the late 19th century, Daisy rose to great prominence with its 1903 introduction of a nickel-plated, 1,000-shot rifle. In addition to the fine craftsmanship, Daisy also showcased its ability to tap into the imagination and zeitgeist of the time, using a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt to sell their high-capacity gun. “I am not a good shot, but I shoot often,” the President was quoted as saying, to which Daisy’s advertising replied “With a 1,000-shot Daisy Repeater, you can shoot both straight and often.” After weathering the trials of the Great Depression, Daisy found new heights by partnering with popular comic strip hero Red Ryder—and it is this model
48 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM
The Daisy Airgun Museum in Rogers showcases over a century of Daisy products.
airgun that became the legend known throughout the world today (as well as the object of Ralphie’s lust in “A Christmas Story”). Riding this wave of success, Daisy relocated from their antiquated facilities in Michigan to what was then an extremely rural part of the Ozarks: Rogers, Arkansas. Given the growth and innovation which have become the hallmarks of northwest Arkansas, it can be difficult to remember that just a few decades ago, the area was seen as nothing but a backwater. And while companies like Walmart and Tyson have done an incredible amount of work and philanthropy to bolster the region’s profile, companies like Daisy Outdoor Products have their own place in building Rogers and its surrounding areas into an economic powerhouse. To commemorate this company’s vital presence (which after a short stint in Missouri returned to Arkansas in 2007), the nonprofit Daisy Airgun Museum opened in Rogers in 2004. Starting with just a few walnut cases of Daisy products (and some help from the city), the Museum staff developed a series of chronological displays to tell the story of these classic airguns. Eventually pairing with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the museum now houses one of the greatest collections of 19th and 20th century airguns in the world. If you have children who love the outdoors, chances are they’ve already gotten that gleam in their eyes that comes with the first sight of one of Daisy’s airgun products. Rest assured that if they haven’t already, they will. To them, the airguns represent their first step into the wider world of outdoor sport and lifestyle—but each shot fired also represents a piece of Arkansas history, innovation and determination. For more information on the Daisy Airgun Museum, visit daisymusuem.com.
LITTLE ROCK-BASED STEVE KIRK HAS BEEN CLIMBING SINCE 1984, NOT JUST IN ARKANSAS, BUT ALL OVER NORTH AMERICA. THE AMERICAN MOUNTAIN GUIDES ASSOCIATION (AMGA) SINGLE PITCH CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR SERVES AS CENTRAL ARKANSAS SECTION CHAIR FOR THE AMERICAN ALPINE CLUB. BY MICHAEL ROBERTS
STEVE USES STERLING ROPES ON HIS CLIMBS.
50 | Arkansas Wild ¸ SPRING 2017
teach yoga at the Little Rock Climbing Center and Arkansas Yoga Collective, both in Little Rock.
Where was the first place you climbed? The first place I ever climbed was at a small area near Pinnacle Mountain called West Pinnacle. This is where many of the old school climbers in central Arkansas learned to climb and hone their skills and technique. From there, we moved to climbing at Mount Magazine and Sam’s Throne. There were only a handful of climbers in those days and no climbing gyms.
What is the best spot in Arkansas for beginners to learn to climb? There are so many climbing areas in Arkansas that are good locations for beginners to get outdoors and climb. Most climbers these days are introduced to climbing in a gym and eventually want to get outside on real rock. I always stress to beginning climbers to get good instruction from other more experienced climbers, take a class at their local gym or better yet hire a guide. Some of the best areas for beginners are Jamestown Crag near Batesville, Sam’s Throne and Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Newton County.
What is your favorite type of climbing? My favorite type of climbing is definitely Trad climbing—picking a line and placing your own protection as you see fit. Nothing Better! I have also gotten involved in Alpine climbing and my second favorite type is ice climbing—climbing frozen water. How cool is that! What piece of climbing equipment would you recommend to the beginning climber? A good rope! We use Sterling Ropes (sterling. com), they are easy on the hand, durable and offer many sizes for every type of climbing. The next most important thing is to have a good belayer. Beginning climbers tend to take the task of belaying for granted. What other outdoor activities are you involved in? I pretty much like any sport that gets me with nature and involves human power including trail running, paddling and mountain biking. I have spent a lot of time over the past several years paddling stand-up paddleboards on the rivers and lakes in Arkansas and in the Gulf. I also practice yoga to keep the body and mind strong and
What favorite non-climbing activity are you looking forward to this spring? Definitely stand-up paddle boarding! What inspired your “women only” trips offered? There seems to be a lot more women interested in climbing these days, you see it in the gyms, in the climbing magazines and on the rock. Some women may be intimidated climbing with the guys and may not excel or stick with it under this situation. My daughter Courtney Kirk (who is also a certified instructor) and I thought that offering women’s only climbing trips to different destinations would help bring the women’s climbing community together.
PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTNEY KIRK
How long have you been climbing? I was first introduced to climbing in the early 80s and was instantly hooked.
To check out rates and get more details on Adventure Climbing Guides, visit adventureclimbingguides.com or call 501-454-4391.
SMOKELESS DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY BETTER. IT’S JUST HOW THEY HOOK YOU.
It’s no fish tale: Smokeless tobacco like “snuff” or “chew” is just as addictive as cigarettes and other tobacco products. Your risk of certain types of cancer increases – like esophageal cancer and oral cancer of the throat, cheek, gums, lips, and tongue. These cancers are deadly and disfiguring. Don’t fall for Big Tobacco’s can of lies. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit stampoutsmoking.com.
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get your float on!
9664 N Highway 65 St. Joe, AR 72675 www.buffaloriveroutfitters.com
Radical Rock Climbing