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ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

pinnacle awards THe Annual

2o17 reader favorites of the arkansas outdoors

AT DEVIL'S DEN

COMPACT CAMPING have a seat Timbernak's Adirondack chairs

CANE POLE FISHING

picture yourself here! (lobo landing) page 27

SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 1


A F i r s t -C l A s s t i m e ... e v e ry t i m e . America’s #1 Trout Fishing Resort is Gaston’s. Our White River float trips for lunker trout are legendary from coast to coast. We do the work. All you do is fish – in style and comfort. Then there are the extras that make “resort” our last name. First-class lodging. One of the South’s finest restaurants featuring a spectacular view. A private club. Tennis and a pool. Nature trails for mountain biking and hiking. A conference lodge for your group meetings or parties. Even a private landing strip for fly-in guests.

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SUMMER WILD 2017

See hot spot for favorite place to fish on page 32.

ARKANSASWILD.COM ¸ FAcebook.com/ArkansasWild

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2017 PINNACLE & COMPASS AWARDS 24

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FINDING HEALTH IN THE FOREST

FAMILY FUN & ADVENTURE

RAISING CANE

THE KEY TO KICKING STRESS MAY BE AS EASY AS A WALK IN THE WOODS

CREATING A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES THROUGH CAMPING

CANE POLE FISHING MAY BE OLD-FASHIONED, BUT IT’S NEVER OUT OF STYLE

FAVORITE FISHING SPOT!

DEPARTMENTS

10 OUTDOOR ESSENTIALS 12 CONSERVATION 16 ARKANSAS OUTOOOR ARTISANS 20 OUT & ABOUT 58 OUTDOOR ORIGINALS

4 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

ON THE COVER: the Little Red River was voted by our readers as favorite fishing spot in Arkansas. Photography by matthew martin.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW MARTIN

THE VOTES ARE IN FOR YOUR FAVORITES!


All things Arkansas,

all in one place. We’re committed to Arkansas and to the people who live here. That’s why we created an entire site dedicated to our home state. Visit OnlyInArk.com for everything from great road trips and fun festivals to local culture and more. When your bank is only in Arkansas, you know it’s all about you.

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Member FDIC ARKANSASWILD.COM | 5


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REBEKAH LAWRENCE Publisher rebekah@arktimes.com

205 N Shackleford, Little Rock, AR 72211 501-224-4867

ELIZABETH HAMAN Associate Publisher elizabeth@arktimes.com MANDY KEENER Creative Director mandy@arktimes.com MICHAEL ROBERTS Editor michael@arktimes.com ADVERTISING LESA THOMAS Senior Account Executive lesa@arktimes.com

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RHONDA CRONE Account Executive rhonda@arktimes.com KIMBERLY BENNETT Account Executive kimberly@arktimes.com PRODUCTION WELDON WILSON Production Manager/Controller ROLAND R. GLADDEN Advertising Traffic Manager JIM HUNNICUTT Advertising Coordinator GRAPHIC DESIGNERS KATIE HASSELL BRYAN MOATS MIKE SPAIN SOCIAL MEDIA LAUREN BUCHER lauren@arktimes.com OFFICE STAFF ROBERT CURFMAN IT Director LINDA PHILLIPS Billing/Collections

H E A R T S O N F I R E S T O R E S , A U T H O R I Z E D R E TA I L E R S , H E A R T S O N F I R E . c O m

KELLY JONES Office Manager/Accounts Receivable ANITRA HICKMAN Circulation Director

arkansas times publishing TRELLIS SQUARE | 10720 RODNEY PARHAM, LITTLE ROCK, AR 72212 HOF_IgniteSomething-Piggyback-HalfPgVert.indd 1 10/20/15 11:32 AM 501.225.5068 | 800.453.9579 | CECILSFINEJEWELRY.COM 6 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

201 E. MARKHAM ST., SUITE 200 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2017 Arkansas Wild


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THE ELMS LODGE

FROM THE EDITOR

NOW BOOKING

Our birds are top flight. It’s not how high they fly, it’s where they land!

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Now Booking 2017-18 Season Field Leases and Season Lodge Leases

Thank you Arkansas for voting us Favorite Duck lodge!

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FUN IN THE SUN Some of my most favorite memories growing up in the Natural State involve camping. When I was a child, my family would often spend several days at various campgrounds— Buffalo Point on the Buffalo River and an old Army Corps of Engineers campground in Bismarck called Lennox-Marcus (which is no longer open) both come to mind as two places that forever cemented my love of the outdoors. In addition, my grandparents maintained a fishing camp for many years on the Arkansas River outside Gillett, and it was in those muddy waters where I first learned how to catch a fish. So when the spring rains turn to summer’s heat, my mind always yearns for a cool spot in the shade near a body of Arkansas water. This year, that body of water was Lee Creek, a spring-fed stream that cuts through one of my favorite places on earth, Devil’s Den State Park. I had the privilege of reliving some of those childhood feelings with Cade and April Collister (and their five hilarious kids) for our cover story. By the time we reached the end of our Memorial Day weekend romp, we were all sweaty, tired—and chocolate smeared from the s’mores. It was easily one of the most enjoyable assignments I’ve ever worked on. In addition to the camping fun, this issue also marks the return of our Arkansas Wild Pinnacle and Compass Awards. We put the word out to you, the readers, to send us your favorite outdoor spots, outfitters, retailers, boat builders, bike shops and more—and you responded with gusto. It’s always nice when we hear from those of you who bring our publication into your homes. I was also excited to work again with Mark Hedrick, last year’s Fish Arkansas guest editor. Mark shared his tips on cane pole fishing with us, and there’s just no better source for that sort of knowledge I’ve found. We also explore the newest outdoor trend, forest bathing—which does not, as I originally thought, mean the jury-rigged showers of those childhood camping trips I mentioned earlier. It’s a hot issue for hot weather, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together.

PHOTOGRAPHY: BRIAN CHILSON

Duck and Goose Day Hunts and Lodging

Michael Roberts Editor, Arkansas Wild @ArkansasWildMag


CONTRIBUTORS

PHILIP THOMAS is the owner and

operator of Novo Studio, a photography, video and graphic design company located in northwest Arkansas. Philip loves riding his bike and working on the trails around Lake Atalanta in Rogers.

Experience Arkansas’ only true wilderness zip line adventure at Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca. Our fun, friendly, highly trained guides will help you have an absolute blast, and afterward, you can relax in your beautiful BOC cabin, many with hot tubs and big views. Arkansas’ premier adventure resort is geared up for your complete enjoyment.

MATTHEW MARTIN is a

photographer based in Little Rock. When he’s not behind the camera or on a film set, Matthew spends his time traveling, enjoying the Little Rock music scene and spending time with his dog, Deltron.

Advance reservations recommended

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BOB VERBOON has been a member

of the North Central Arkansas Master Naturalists since 2013. He and his wife Kay are avid fly fishermen.

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. Kat is a frequent summer scene-maker at music festivals across the South.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 9


OUTDOOR ESSENTIALS

PACK TIGHT, CAMP RIGHT WITH THE RIGHT GEAR, A COMPACT CAMP KIT LEAVES LOTS OF ROOM FOR FUN BY MICHAEL ROBERTS

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When outdoor enthusiast Cade Collister needs a breather from his work with Scout Retail in Bentonville, he takes his wife and five children out camping. With that many people, being efficient and compact is a vital part of his preparation. Here, Cade shares with us some of his must-haves when getting ready for a new adventure.

1. COMPACT, COMFORTABLE AND COMPLETE “My company, Scout Retail, met the founder of TAXA Outdoors, Garrett Finney, last October. We were so taken with his TAXA Outdoors Cricket Camper and passion for camping, design and outdoor life that we invested in the company. For those who camp to fully enjoy the outdoors, the Cricket camper is a must have.” Various Prices taxaoutdoors.com 2. TREETOP RETREAT “My kids absolutely love the Double Cacoon from Cacoon USA. Getting it in the tree can be a chore, but worth the good times to follow.” $500 cacoonusa.com 3. MUSIC MAKER “We must have tunes when camping, and this Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker from Trendwoo has a rechargeable battery with a 15-hour life.” $60 trendwoo.com 4. STAY SHARP “With camping you need a sharp, durable knife. The Kershaw Lock Blade will not break. And it looks cool.” $110 kershaw.kaiusaltd.com 5. HANG AROUND The Grand Trunk Double Hammock is made from parachute material. It’s a chair...a lounger...a swing...a bed. Enough said! $70 grandtrunk.com 6. HOLD IT TOGETHER “Carabiners like this one from Petzl are the safety pin of camping. They have a million-and-one uses. Never leave home without a couple.” $20 petzl.com Be sure to check out your local outfitter for these products.

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CONSERVATION

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF ARKANSAS MASTER NATURALISTS

Arkansas Master Naturalist Bob Verboon collects water samples from Little Pigeon Creek as part of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Stream Team program.

A SPLASH OF SCIENCE THE ARKANSAS MASTER NATURALISTS ARE A VITAL PART OF THE STREAM TEAM

BY BOB VERBOON, NORTH CENTRAL CHAPTER OF ARKANSAS MASTER NATURALISTS STREAM TEAM

T

here’s just no telling what might be lurking beneath the surface of the Natural State’s lakes, rivers and streams—unless you’re a member of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s (AGFC) Stream Team. This volunteer program reaches across the state, with local chapters working to monitor water quality, study wildlife populations and collect vital data that provides an invaluable record for watersheds. And with more than 90,000 miles of streams in Arkansas, we’ve always got something to do. I love being on the Stream Team because I love trout, particularly catching them on a fly. For me, there’s no better way to study trout behavior than to study the creatures they feed on. This is part of what the North Central Chapter of Arkansas Master Naturalists (NCAMN) do on the five streams our Stream Team monitors in north central Arkansas: Shawnee Town Branch (which flows into Crooked Creek at Yellville), Jimmie and Moccasin Creeks (which both feed into Bull Shoals Lake), Little Pigeon Creek (which flows into Norfork Lake) and Calico Creek (which flows through Calico Rock’s City Park into the White River). We’ve been collecting data on these streams since 2009, and it’s always a good time that often provides some unexpected experiences. Our first day on Little Pigeon Creek during a hot Arkansas July was an especially memorable day for our Stream Team. One by one, our cars pulled over and lined up along the edge of a gravel road near the creek. While a couple of us brought our waders, most had water shoes—but volunteer Deb Fleming’s bright yellow galoshes were the envy of all. We gathered on the bank and organized into two groups: bug kickers (who collect critters found in the water with “kick nets”) and chem samplers (who collect samples for water quality testing). Little Pigeon Creek is a typical

12 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


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CONSERVATION

Volunteers like Dwan Garrison collect and analyze water samples to track water quality (left). The Stream Team uses kick nets in order to track invertebrate species in Little Pigeon Creek (right).

Ozark stream–a wide, shallow channel that flows gently over bedrock under a canopy of gracefully leaning trees. It’s that scene that beckons visitors to come and wade. Those familiar with wading in Ozark streams know the big, flat rocks—as inviting as they look—are incredibly slippery and not where you want to walk…but at our location, there was no gravel to ensure better footing— only bedrock. Rose Linnear was the first to go down. At least she made it look like she slipped, but some of us think that she really just wanted an excuse to get into the water to cool off. Dwan Garrison was next, walking over the treacherous bedrock through knee-high water carrying a large tub of supplies. Luckily, fellow volunteer Ken Johnson came to the rescue and caught her before she could dump her supply tray! We continued, still working on the bedrock under-surface, but the water was now less than a foot deep. Deb was the next to take a dip. As she leaned over to get samples, both hands full of test bottles, the bedrock must have moved because the yellow galoshes came up—and down she went. In the true spirit of a dedicated scientist, however, the test bottles remained safe and intact. It turned out to be a very cooling Stream Team event for our team. In addition to conducting such slippery science, the NCAMN Stream Team also conducts education workshops with local youth groups. This past year, we worked with a group of girls from Mountain Home Junior High School in partnership with the Fred Berry Conservation Center on Crooked Creek as part of the center’s “Kickin’ and Pickin’” event. After a brief demonstration on how to “kick” the bugs

14 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

into the nets, some of the girls enthusiastically jumped right in, while others stood on the bank. You can imagine the number of excuses we heard about why they DID NOT want to get in that water. With a little coaxing that involved showing them some of the fascinating insects we were collecting, interest grew—and soon all were participating. It helped that it was a warm day, enticing us all with an opportunity to go for a swim. Toward the end of the training session, we collected several crayfish, a creature that always attracts attention. I noticed several girls surrounding their teacher as she demonstrated how to wear a crayfish as an earring. Of course, all the girls had to try this, even the most reluctant. With iPhones clicking and flashing to capture the scene, we all considered it a great way to end the day. The chemical and biological data that we gather through our Stream Team activities is important, but I feel the education it provides is of even greater value. To most of us, life beneath the surface of a stream is a new and fascinating environment; one we did not see or even realize was there. Each Stream Team event we conduct teaches people how to observe this small world. People learn it is here, at the bottom of the food chain, where changes in temperature, silt or other disturbances which seem insignificant to us can mean death to the tiny creatures that live there—which can spell disaster for the fish that feed on them. For more information about becoming a Stream Team volunteer, visit agfc.com. For more information about Arkansas Master Naturalist activities, visit wordpress. arkansasmasternaturalists.org.


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TIMBERNAK DESIGN’S SCOTT SCHROEN ON WOODCRAFT, QUALITY AND A NEW SPIN ON THE ADIRONDACK CHAIR BY MICHAEL ROBERTS

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embers of Arkansas’ cycling community are most likely to associate the name Scott Schroen with Phat Tire Bike Shop, where Scott worked for seven years until June 1. That’s no surprise given Scott’s contributions to the ever-growing world of Natural State bicycling—he’s long been an advocate, educator and allaround guru the cycling masses have come to depend on. In fact, when national publication Bike Magazine decided to use northwest Arkansas as a testing ground for its 2017 Bike Bible, it was Scott whom they tapped to build each of the more than three dozen bikes featured. In the midst of all this activity, Scott has somehow found the time to launch a new venture—one that utilizes his gifts for building and designing in a way very different from the bike world: Timbernak Designs, a carpentry and woodcraft business that features Scott’s own handiwork, particularly a line of lovingly hand-crafted Arkansas-themed Adirondack chairs. Like so many artisan ventures, Timbernak began with a hobby project. “I’ve been working on [building things] nearly all my life,” says Scott. “Some of my earliest memories are begging my dad to use his power tools or to build something in the garage. There are photographs of me as a kid sitting in the driveway in a big pile of wood. I was always putting something together.” He cites his father as a huge influence. “He taught me the basics of which tools do what,” says Scott. “In addition, he also taught me about what it means to build things to a certain quality standard.” Scott’s desire to build things eventually led him to designing and putting together the first prototype Timbernak chair, and during a drive home from visiting family for the 16 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

Thanksgiving holiday last year, that chair morphed into an idea for a business. “I told my wife I needed something to have for my own,” he says. “The bike shop is great—I love my job—but it would be nice to have my own business. She asked me what I wanted to do and I told her ‘build stuff.’” Seeking to lead with his passion, Scott began turning his lifelong love of woodcraft into something greater. But he still felt he needed an edge. “At first, I was just going to build Adirondack chairs,” he says. “But I got to wondering why anyone would buy a plain chair from me. Maybe my friends and family, you know, but not anything beyond that. There’s a thousand of them out there with different colors and styles.” Scott’s solution? Turn the back of each chair into the state of Arkansas. “I literally stood in my garage just staring at [the first] chair for an hour, just daydreaming and trying to figure out how to make it look unique,” Scott says. “Finally it dawned on me that the chair back kind of resembles the shape of the state of Arkansas—maybe I could find a way to turn the backrest into that.” The process involved a great deal of trial and error—although Scott says he didn’t think it would in the beginning. “I thought it would just be a quick thing,” he says with a laugh. “I utilized Photoshop and took a picture of the chair, then an overlay of Arkansas to create a template. I wanted to keep the shape of the state whole—in a way, that shape is a brand and to modify it was something I did not want to do.” Keeping that brand whole meant Scott even went as far as to figure out a way to mount everything

PHOTOGRAPHY: NOVO STUDIO

PRIDE & PRECISION


“I’VE BEEN [BUILDING THINGS] NEARLY MY ENTIRE LIFE.” — SCOTT SCHROEN

(facing page)Timbernak Designs carpenter Scott Schroen hand-sands each piece of his Adironack-style chairs.Clockwise from left: Scott Schroen’s hand-built process involves drilling pieces of each chair to backset screws so each Arkansas-themed backrest is free of visible screws. Each piece of cedar is hand-routed, hand-drilled and branded with his logo.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 17


Timbernak carpenter Scott Schroen’s workshop is the result of a lifetime of work. His Adirondack-style chairs feature a Natural State-shaped backrest. Timbernak’s finished Adirondack-style chairs are a study in craftsmanship both from the side (left) and from the front. Note the stars carved in for both Little Rock and Bentonville (right).

18 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


THANK YOU FOR VOTING US A FAVORITE HUNTING RETAILER! from the back, keeping the face of each backrest free from visible screws. Scott’s broken the construction of each chair down to an exact science: “One chair takes more than 75 feet of red cedar,” says Scott Schroen of his chairs. “It’s all hand-routed and sanded—and there are more than 201 separate cuts per chair.” Why so many? It’s because of Scott’s attention to detail. “I’m a detailoriented guy,” he says. “I always have been. Everything [on these chairs] is designed to within a half-millimeter’s precision. I want everything to be of a nice quality—I freak out if little details are off. Even though that adds a lot of time [to each chair], my hopes are that my attention to detail will result in a reputation for high-quality production, making everything I do more sought after.” While chairs are currently Scott’s main Timbernak product, the sturdy cedar seats aren’t the only thing he is working on. “I’m also building custom dog kennels, as well as counter and bar tops,” he says. “For now, I want to keep coming up with unique products and create a repertoire of things I keep in stock. That way, I’m able to keep fine-tuning each product instead of always doing something new. Then I can keep adding things to my portfolio slowly.” The chairs themselves are built to last. Red cedar is an excellent wood for furniture exposed to the elements: It’s slow to rot, bugs tend to avoid it and it stands up to weather like a champ. Couple the quality of building materials with Scott’s skill, and the result is a chair that is not just patio furniture but an heirloom-quality item to be enjoyed generation after generation. Right now, Timbernak is on a build-to-order basis—a necessity given Scott’s inability to keep his popular chairs from immediately being snapped up as they are built. He is, however, always taking orders— so if owning one of Arkansas’ newest, sturdiest, most high-quality wood products appeals to you, he stands ready to create a product that will exceed your expectations. For ordering information and additional images, visit timbernak.com.

4600 S. Zero Fort Smith, AR. • 479-646-2402 • www.gellcooutdoors.com.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 19


OUT & ABOUT

BIG TIMES, SMALL TOWN DONE RIGHT, THERE’S NEVER A DULL MOMENT IN OZARK BY KAT ROBINSON AND MICHAEL ROBERTS

AN ADVENTURE DESTINATION

The community of Ozark, located in the midst of the mountain range which gives the town its name, is proof that big things can often come in small packages. Don’t believe us? Then take a trip down The Pig Trail (Scenic Highway 23), cross the Arkansas River on the historic 1931 Arkansas River Bridge, experience the Mulberry River and indulge yourself with great food, great people and great fun. We’re willing to bet you become a believer. In the city of Ozark proper, you’ll find a number of exciting experiences await you. Take a journey through the area’s history at the historic museum located in the former Missouri Pacific Depot, then take a walk along streets filled with murals, antique shops and the imposing castle-like facade of the old Franklin County Jail. More pop-culture-savvy visitors might also be interested in grabbing a chili dog or burger at the Ozark Sonic Drive-In location—prominently featured in the reality show The Simple Life.

MAKE TIME FOR THE MULBERRY

Once you’ve explored the city, make time to get your feet wet at one of Arkansas’ most exciting outdoor activity hotspots, Byrd’s Adventure Center. When it comes to Byrd’s, it’s almost easier to tell you what they don’t offer— this is a place that very nearly has it all. 20 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

Visitors looking for a paddle adventure can choose to kayak, raft or canoe on the Mulberry River, an exciting Class II/III stream that takes paddlers over ledges and around sharp turns during the spring. Arriving in drier times? The Mulberry is ideal for fishing, wading and swimming, surrounded by some of the most beautiful terrain in the Natural State.

BRING YOUR BIKE AND BOOTS

Shooting down the rapids isn’t all you can do at Byrd’s. Mountain bikers will delight in testing their skills against miles of singletrack and multi-use trails that include challenging descents and boulder-filled drainages, while casual riders can take a leisurely 3-mile trip along a level path along the Mulberry River. It’s a biking experience that presents some of the best the Ozark National Forest has to offer. Prefer to hike? Byrd’s offers multi-day backpacking trips—or visitors can enjoy shorter day trips. And with experienced instructors offering “leave-no-trace” backpacking classes, you’ll learn how to enjoy the area while leaving it pristine and pure for the next person. The Ozarks provide some of the country’s best hiking, and Byrd’s is an excellent base from which to experience it. And if rock-climbing is your preferred way to get into the hills, ascents and classes are regularly offered.

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM

Whitewater kayaking on the Mulberry River is a popular pastime for visitors to Byrd’s Adventure Center in Ozark (left). In drier months, the Mulberry River becomes a wonderful playground for swimmers. (right).


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LOCATION: CITY OF OZARK/BYRD’S ADVENTURE CENTER Around two hours northwest of Little Rock or an hour-and-a-half southeast of Fayetteville. Byrd’s Adventure Center is located at 737 Cass Oark Road.

GPS: Ozark: 35.5019502,-93.8749204 Byrd’s Adventure Center: 35.6756873, -93.7425879 cityofozarkar.com byrdsadventurecenter.com

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Motorsport fans can indulge themselves on Byrd’s motorcycle, ATV or 4x4 trails. It’s an off-road experience like no other, with heartpounding pathways that cover 800 acres of challenging Ozark terrain. There’s no better way to get your motors running and make some mud-slinging magic. As for motorized craft of the aerial variety, no description of Byrd’s would be complete without mentioning its air strip, where small craft pilots can fly in to enjoy everything available. There’s even an annual Autumn Fly-In event where pilots from all over bring their planes to the center’s 2,500foot airstrip—or fly their powered parachutes and trikes from Byrd’s shorter runway. It’s a sight to behold and a unique Arkansas experience.

22 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM/KAT ROBINSON/WESLEY HITT

Visitors to Byrd’s Adventure Center in Ozark can take advantage of the resort’s airstrip to fly in for an adventure (left). The Oark General Store in Ozark has been in operation since 1890 (below).

HUNGRY? GET STUFFED

Need to refuel after your Mulberry adventures? Head on over to Rivertowne BBQ for some mouthwatering brisket, chicken or pork. Our favorite? The barbecue brisket sandwich, served up with a side of fried okra. For diners used to the bacon-thin strips of brisket served up at many other barbecue joints, the huge, succulent planks of beef found at Rivertowne will be a delightful discovery. And despite the sizable cuts, the meat is flavorful and melts in the mouth like butter. You will get full, and you will crave it once you’ve gone. For another historic experience, stop in to the Oark General Store, which has been serving up groceries and other edibles since 1890. This is the oldest continuously operating store in Arkansas, and in addition to a selection of groceries and dry goods, also offers a fantastic selection of burgers, pies and other ready-made goodies that are sure to please the palate.

RIVERTOWNE BBQ’S BRISKET IS LIKE BUTTER!


IN THE HEART OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS Trammel Exit Hwy 67/167 6100 Landers Rd. N. Little Rock/Sherwood, AR 72117 501.835.8300 | 800.511.5823 russellchevrolet.com | tf

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 23


THE KEY TO KICKING STRESS MAY BE AS EASY AS A WALK IN THE WOODS BY MICHAEL ROBERTS

24 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

The deep woods surrounding the Meadowcreek Project near Fox provide some of Arkansas’ best forest bathing opportunities (above). The valleys and forests of the Ozark Plateau and River Valley have proven popular for the new trend of forest bathing (facing page).

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND TOURISM

F

or many of us, the day starts off with a blaring alarm clock—followed by a cacophony of ringing phones and car horns as we navigate through teeming streets to work or school. The immediate concerns of the day’s to-do list jostle for prominence in our heads alongside personal issues like debts, relationships or whichever worrisome news story last came blasting at us from any of the shouting heads that populate the 24-hour cable news channels. Add to that an email inbox full of urgent messages, numerous social media accounts (each with a running tally of notifications that demand attention) and dozens of interactions with others we meet as we go about the day, and it’s easy to see why Americans are reporting stressand anxiety-related problems in greater numbers than ever. Luckily, the answer to it all may involve a heaping, healthy dose of something we have in abundance here in Arkansas: nature, particularly wooded areas. Welcome to the world of “forest bathing.” Of course, taking walks out in the woods is something people have been doing since well before recorded history, but in our modern (and increasingly urban) world, it’s very easy to become disconnected with the wilderness. The idea that bridging this gap could bring about an increase in health and well-being was first explored in Japan, a nation famous for its high-pressure corporate environment and hectic, crowded cities. In 1982, the Forest Agency of Japan began advocating Shinrin-yoku (literally translated as “taking in the forest atmosphere”) as a potential remedy for burned-out workers, and today it is recognized by Japanese society as a beneficial and effective stress-management activity. Today, Americans are beginning to emulate the Japanese practice in increasing numbers. Arkansas is blessed with more than 18 million acres of forestland, including three national forests, an ever-growing number of multi-use trails and some of the best state parks in the country—all things that make forest bathing a health trend that is tailor-made for the state. The Natural State’s tourism industry hasn’t let that fact go unnoticed, with the Arkansas State Parks touting itself as one of the prime facilitators of forest bathing in the state in a promotional campaign this year. Private entities have also begun promoting the trend.

PHOTOGRAPHY: LINDELL ROTH

FINDING HEALTH IN THE FOREST


“Immersing yourself in nature can bring about changes for one’s positive well-being.” —CARMEN CALDWELL

FOREST BATHING AT A GLANCE

What’s so great about taking a walk in the woods? Well, in addition to the joy that comes of experiencing the Natural State’s wonders first hand, forest bathing advocates say the activity refreshes the body and mind in the following ways: SIGHT: Studies conducted in Japan have shown that even pictures of nature can relax individuals by decreasing blood pressure. Getting out into the real thing is even better. SOUND: All that urban hustle and bustle gets noisy—and more noise equals greater stress. Forest bathing provides much needed peace and quiet. SMELL: Sure, the woods smell good, but there’s more to it than a pleasurable scent. Trees fill the forest air with anti-microbial essential oils called phytoncides—and thus, every breath is a small dose of the good stuff. TOUCH: While cities are full of hard concrete and cold metal, studies have shown that humans prefer to get our touch on with wood and other natural materials.

“Simply immersing yourself in nature can bring about both psychological and physiological changes for one’s positive well-being,” says Carmen Caldwell, co-owner (with husband Robert) of the Tall Pines Inn in Eureka Springs. For the Caldwells, touting the myriad of forest bathing opportunities is a no-brainer. “Eureka Springs is surrounded by lots of woods and water, and when we have guests who show an interest in outdoor activities, I’m always excited to point them in the right direction,” says Carmen. She’s particularly partial to nearby Lake Leatherwood Park, citing the park’s opportunities for hiking, walking, mountain biking—and, of course, forest bathing. Forest bathing is also cropping up on the state’s river valley region. Beverly Dunaway, who serves as board vicepresident at nonprofit retreat and rural learning center Meadowcreek (near Fox), says the remote wilderness

that surrounds the center’s facilities make it uniquely suited to forest bathing. “People are often taken in by the surroundings [here at Meadowcreek],” she says. “Often, when we show people who are interested in being part of our agricultural entrepreneurship efforts, they remark on the wonderful atmosphere—people just feel good when they work and stay here. There’s a reason for that, and we’ve known about the benefits of being outside on our grounds. For many years, we just didn’t have a name for it.” No matter what it’s called, the feel-good effects of getting out into the woods have been a part of Arkansas’ appeal for many years. Whether the current buzzword will last as a description is unknown—but the age-tested joy of getting back to nature is sure to live on. For more information about forest bathing in Arkansas, visit arkansas.com, tallpinesinn.com and meadowcreekinc.com.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 25


RV CAMPERS CONNECT & PARTY AT CAMP CRAIN T

may not have known about their RV and make more friends.” he team at Crain RV closes down twice a year and invites Camp Crain kicks off on a Friday with a camper check-in. RV customers to attend Camp Crain on the lush green Saturday is full of activities like a scavenger hunt with prizes, grounds of Catherine’s Landing in Hot Springs. There you will karaoke, awards and a carnival wagon that serves hot dogs, find about 100 happy campers enjoying their recreational nachos and ice cream for everyone in the park— not just Crain vehicles, the outdoors and each other. Campers. Last year, Camp Crain crowned the first king and queen This tradition at Crain RV aims to bring veteran and newbie of the event, Bob and Deb Stringer, veterans of Camp Crain. campers together for a long weekend of family fun, food and “All of our customers are welcome to festivities— all provided by Crain RV. participate, and we have everything from a “I was at a rally that Newmar Motorhomes The entire goal of Camp travel trailer parked next to a mobile home,” was hosting, and I thought, ‘We ought to Shirey said. “People travel from all over the do something like this, too,’” said Bill Shirey, Crain is for people to United States to attend. It’s a family-friendly general manager at Crain RV in Little Rock. come together over a event, and campers bring their kids, grand“We collaborated with the folks at Catherine’s common interest and kids and pets with them. If you don’t want Landing, and we’ve had about 100 people to do the scavenger hunt or any of the attend each one.” have a good time. It’s other activities we have planned, you can Camp Crain is an opportunity just for Crain really laid back, and go fishing or hang out at the pavilion or go RV’s customers to meet through a common we welcome everyone to the amusement park. The entire goal of interest, learn more about their RVs and let Camp Crain is for people to come together their hair down. The exclusive dealer for Air from all walks of life. over a common interest and have a good Stream, Newmar and Tiffin as well as the time. It’s really laid back, and we welcome largest dealer in Arkansas for Jayco. They now everyone from all walks of life.” have added the coolest camper ever, the SylvanSport Go Camper. “All of the people who work at Crain RV are avid campers,” If you would like to be part of fall Camp Crain, contact Shirey said. “We close the shop on Thursday so they can get Crain RV for dates and campsite availability at 501-568-0338 their gear together to join us for the weekend. This way, our or crainrv.com. customers get to interact with our personnel, learn things they

26 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

ADVERTISEMENT


2017 pinnacle & compass awards PHOTOGRAPHY: MATTHEW MARTIN

With so many outstanding places, products and people in Arkansas, we here at Arkansas Wild simply can't keep track of them all! It's for this reason that we launched the Pinnacle and Compass Awards, with Pinnacle representing the favorite and Compass representing the second favorite. For the second year, we've opened up the voting to you, our readers, because each and every one of you is also an outstanding outdoor resource in the Natural State—and we want to know your favorites. Now that your votes are in and tallied, we present your favorite hot spots, retailers, outfitters, guides, manufacturers and resorts. No matter if you hike, bike, climb, fish, paddle or hunt, we've got a favorite here for you.

favorite place to paddle:

buffalo national river

these icons are the key to your favorites. = favorite

= second favorite ARKANSASWILD.COM | 27


favorite bike trail:

arkansas river trail

bike shop: cycling phat tire bike shop outfitter/ bentonville, fayetteville, guide service: springdale, fort smith, chainwheel rogers (coming soon), siloam springs (coming soon) bike shop tulsa, & bartelsville, ok phattirebikeshop.com 28 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

conway & little rock

chainwheel.com

outdoor nonprofit: central arkansas trail alliance centralartrail.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: MATTHEW MARTIN

cycling


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Paid for with a combination of state and Greers Ferry Lake/ Little Red RIver Association Funds. Photo Credit: Debbi Brawley © All rights reserved. ~1~


Greers Ferry Lake There’s only one

m Go to Visitgreersferrylake.org for our free area guide.


fishing Do something good for yourself

MASSAGE THERAPIES • HOLISTIC THERAPIES FACIAL THERAPIES AND SKINCARE BODY THERAPIES RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED

870-867-1220 TURTLECOVESPA.COM 181 CLUBHOUSE DR., MOUNT IDA, AR

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.

LET US HELP YOU FIND YOUR ADVENTURE Contact us at: 1-501-454-4391 adventureclimbingguides@mail.com adventureclimbingguides.com 32 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

boat dealer: fishing resort: bradford marine gaston's white &little atvrock, north little river resort lake view rock, hot springs, springdale & texarkana, tx bradford marine.com

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Ozark Mountain Region

Enjoy a beautiful getaway in the Ozark Mountains!

NORTH SHORE

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Restaurant Country Store Solid Oak & Cherry Furniture

PHOTOGRAPHY: MATTHEW MARTIN

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121 E Hwy 333 · St. Joe, AR (870)439.2234 · buffalorivertradingco.com 1 Mile North Of the Buffalo River - On Hwy 65

favorite place to fish:

little red river

bait shop: hook line & sinker outdoors bentonville

ozarkmountainregion.com *Ad paid for using a combination of private and state matching funds.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 33


fishing

34 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


PHOTOGRAPHY: MATTHEW MARTIN

outfitter/guide service:

beau's guide service heber springs

beausguideservice.com

fishing retailer:

ozark angler heber springs & little rock ozarkangler.com

find fishing spots from the experts in fish arkansas.

that is beau in the middle. let him be your guide next time.

Little Rock’s Largest Live Bait Dealer

5223 S. University

OPEN 24 HOURS

501.568.6002

thank you for voting for us! ARKANSASWILD.COM | 35


paddling

BENTONVILLE 479.633.8810

ROGERS 479.372.4768

FAYETTEVILLE 479.316.8030

BELLA VISTA 479.657.2078

paddling retailer: ozark mountain trading co. conway, cotter, garfield & ozark ozarkmtc.com

paddling outfitter/guide service: buffalo river outfitters st. joe buffaloriveroutfitters.com

GPPCYCLING.COM thank you for voting for us!

36 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


Float for Days!! FAVORITE PADDLING OUTFITTER & GUIDE SERVICE

Multi-Day Paddling Trips

let the guys at ozark mountain trading hook you up with the gear you need!

• 2 - 10+ days... custom floats for you • 135 miles of flowing wilderness from Ponca to Buffalo City • We service the ENTIRE Buffalo National River • Suggestions for multi-day trips: Ponca to Willum Pruitt to Grinder’s Ferry Mt. Hersey to Gillum Grinder’s Ferry to Dillard’s Ferry Gilbert to Rush Ponca to Buffalo City

Let our annual paddle arkansas issue sweep you away.

1-800-582-2244

9664 N Highway 65 St. Joe, AR 72675 www.buffaloriveroutfitters.com

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 37


hunting

duck call: rich-n-tone ca stuttgart rntcalls.com

hunting lodge: elms lodge altheimer elmslodge.com

hunting retailer: mack's prairie wings stuttgart macksprairiewings.com

guns/ammo dealer: fort thompson sporting goods north little rock fortthompsonsportinggoods.com

hunting outfitter/guide service: bayou meto double d guide service & lodge lonoke bayoumetodoubledd.com 38 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


Get your

alls

float on! war eagle boats will get you to where the ducks are, and they'll never see you coming.

boat brand: war eagle boats monticello wareagleboats.com

duck lodge: the elms plantation altheimer elmslodge.com

duck call: rich-n-tone calls stuttgart rntcalls.com

Buffalo National River Adventures • Multi-day paddling trips • Canoe, kayak and raft rentals • We service the ENTIRE Buffalo National River • Hiking excursions

1-800-582-2244

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ARKANSASWILD.COM | 39


camping & hiking

favorite place to hike & camp:

devil's den

40 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

turn to page 50 to learn more about a family trip here.


Stay after The float

Luxury Log Cabins

retailer: ozark outdoor supply little rock ozarkoutdoor.com

rv dealer: crain rv supercenter north little rock crainrv.com

truck: toyota tundra, steve landers toyota

• Group and family cabins available • Fully equipped kitchens • Modern amenities • Charming interiors

870-439-2244

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little rock stevelanderstoyota.com

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 41


• All-inclusive packages with lodging and meals available • In Business for over 25 years • Experienced guides

CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!

Thank you for voting for us! Jay Coker 870.830.0299 Mike Hill jaycoker@classicnet.net 1709 Club Cove Stuttgart, AR 72160 drylakehuntingservice.com

Hot Days are Cool at Rogers Parks and Recreation!

compass awards cycling

bike shop Host Your Next Summertime Event at The Rogers Aquatics Center! Up to 1,300 person capacity. Perfect for churches, corporate events, family reunions and more. Call Now to Reserve your Date! 1707 South 26th Street • Rogers 479-936-5482

Slope Style • Session Zone Kids Zone • Pump Track Lake Atalanta multi-use trails = 10 miles Concrete trail to lake and surrounding area Dog Parks 299 East Cherry Street • Rogers 479-621-1120

www.rogersar.gov

chainwheel conway & little rock

chainwheel.com

cycling outfitter/guide service

gpp cycling bella vista, fayetteville & rogers

gppcycling.com

THE PREMIER GUN BROKER OF THE SOUTH! We specialize in selling your guns for you, turning them into top dollar folding money.

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501-223-3006 midsouthgunslinger.com 42 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

outdoor nonprofit

ozark off road cyclist (oorc)

ozarkoffroadcyclists.org


ARKANSASWILD.COM | 43


Don’s Weaponry

“When you Want the Best”

fishing

Open 9am - 5pm Monday/Saturday

• Indoor Shooting Range • Rifles • Handguns • Shotguns • Ammo • Reloading • Black Powder & Accs. Shooting Range 501-945-6188 Open Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm

501-945-2324

4116 E. Broadway, NLR

fishing resort

lindsey's resort heber springs

lindseysresort.com

bait shop

zimmerman's sports center little rock

ARkansas NATIONAL GUARD MUSEUM

The museum tells the story of the Arkansas National Guard from its militia roots to its participation in the current global war on terror. The museum also shares the story of Camp Pike/Robinson. Displays include two largescale models of the post (WWI and WWII) weapons, vehicles, airplane models, uniforms and photographs. Military ID or Driver’s License vehicle registration & proof of insurance required for FREE Admission. Arkansas National Guard Museum Located on Camp Robinson, N. Little Rock Take exit 150 off I-40 & follow signs to Camp Robinson HOURS: Mon-Fri 8am-3pm 501.212.5215 | arngmuseum.com Drill Weekends: Sat 8am-3pm

outfitter/ guide service

mclellan's fly shop fayetteville

mcflyshop.com

fishing retailer

southern reel outfitters little rock

southernreeloutfitters.com

boat dealer

sunrise marine center searcy

sunrisemarinecenter.com

44 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


hunting

duck calls

echo calls searcy

echocalls.com

hunting retailer

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reservations accepted • 12677 ar-43 Compton, ar 72624

gellco outdoors fort smith

gellcooutdoors.com

guns/ ammo dealer

NOW DEPARTING! WEEKLY GREENWAY & BACK 40 SHUTTLES!

hunter's refuge pine bluff

huntersrefuge.com

duck lodge

dry lake stuttgart

drylakehuntingservice.com

thanks for voting us favorite bike shop! GREENWAY SHUTTLES DEPARTING EVERY SATURDAY Fayetteville store at 9am and again at 11:45am Bentonville 11am and again at 1:15pm THURSDAY SATURDAY BACK 40 SHUTTLES BACK 40 SHUTTLES 10:15am and 12:30pm 5pm and 6pm from our Bentonville store from our Bentonville store 

Only 20 bucks a ride!

BENTONVILLE • SPRINGDALE • FAYETTEVILLE • ROGERS • WWW.PHATTIREBIKESHOP.COM ARKANSASWILD.COM | 45


paddling

outfitter/guide service

NASHVILLE • 1430 LESLIE STREET • 870-845-3122 HEBER SPRINGS • 2410 HWY 25 B N • 501-362-7433 HOT SPRINGS • 4918 CENTRAL AVENUE • 501-520-0300

Looking for a great building to store your toys with work space to spare? Set your hooks in a great deal.

ouachita kayak tours lake ouachita

ouachitakayaktours.com

retailer retailer ouachita

outdoor outfitters hot springs

ouachitaoutdoors.com

boat brand

aloha

north little rock

alohapontoons.com

• Custom-designed to fit your needs • Extremely durable, versatile and energy-efficient • From lodge to ATV/boat storage, we have the building for you Steel Buildings

46 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


Springdale has everything you need for the perfect weekend getaway explorespringdale.com

We have one of the largest inventories of canoes, kayaks, and paddling gear in the area. Come See Us!

Kayaks starting at

$299* *Pescador 8' for $299.00

4 Locations to serve you! Central Arkansas

221 E. German Lane • Conway, AR 72032 (501) 358-6688

Northwest Arkansas

14644 E. Hwy 62 • Garfield, AR 72732 (479) 451-1837

North Central Arkansas

124 McLean Avenue • Cotter, AR 72626 (870) 778-0070

Southwest Missouri

4381 Selmore Rd. • Ozark, MO 65721 (417) 485-3219

thanks for voting us favorite paddling retailer!

ozarkmtc.com

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 47


camping & hiking Reservations Required, Book Online! Š Daniel Valovich

www.ouachitakayaktours.com

truck

chevy silverado, russell chevrolet north little rock

russellchevrolet.com

retailer

pack rat fayetteville

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rv dealer

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1400 S University Ave , Suite J Little Rock, AR 72204 www.facebook.com/abbyroadinc 48 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

And More!

paddling: mulberry river fishing: white river bike trail: back 40


Clockwise from top left: Aven, Ella and Sophia Collister chill out in the back of the family Cricket Camper. Two-year-old Beckett Collister finds the waters of Lee Creek to be most refreshing. As the sun begins to set over Devil’s Den State Park, the Collister family gathers together around a campfire for s’mores. Cade Collister leads Beckett down the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail.

50 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


CREATING A LIFETIME OF MEMORIES THROUGH CAMPING BY MICHAEL ROBERTS

T

he first day of the long Memorial Day weekend at Devil’s Den State Park near West Fork was the quintessential Arkansas summer’s day: warm, humid and completely beautiful— despite a threat of rain delivered by the morning’s forecast. The park was a bustling hive of activity, with families and groups setting up camp, lighting barbecue grills, splashing in Lee Creek or chasing one another around the hiking trails, basketball courts and campsites. The air was electric with people excited for the first big celebration of the summer, and the feeling was infectious. Down in Devil’s Den campground E, Cade Collister of Fayetteville was diving right into the midst of all this hustle and bustle. Cade had arrived early to the park in order to make preparations for a family camping adventure for himself, his wife April and their five children: Aven, age 11; Sophia, age 10; Ella, age 7; Ethan, age 5 and Beckett, age 2. The Collisters are avid campers and hikers, utilizing both a space-age Cricket Camper and a large tent to camp—along with a variety of other camp accoutrements. “We don’t always get to camp with everybody,” Cade said as he lifted the pop-up roof of his Cricket. “Usually one or another of the kids has an event or other activity going on.” Indeed, once April arrived with their brood in tow, I found out that Aven, the oldest, was due in Oklahoma the next day for a track meet. She was excited about competing in the 100- and 200-meter races and long jump events—while mom and dad were more concerned with a knee injury she’d suffered a few days before. There wasn’t much sign she was hurting, though, as she and Sophia began helping Cade set up the family’s tent. “We usually like to stay in the tent,” Aven said, holding a tent pole in place so that Sophia can insert it. The camper is rated to sleep four adults—but, as the younger kids generally like to stay close to mom and dad, the older girls find solace in their own space. Once the tent was erected, Cade gathered up Ethan and Ella to complete the campsite with two hammocks and the family’s Cacoon. No, that’s not a misspelling—the Cacoon is a hanging treehouse of sorts that functions as either a treetop bedroom or a play-space for the kids. Aven and

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 51


tApril

Clockwise from top left: April and Ethan talk about the rocks, plants and snake holes they’ve seen along the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail. Aven laughs after vaulting into the family’s hanging Cacoon. April shocks the kids by pretending to eat a live crawfish. Sophia kicks back in one of the family’s two hammocks with a book. The entire family pitched in to make camp, even two-year-old Beckett.

Sophia immediately launched themselves into it, spinning about from the stout branch of an oak tree while Ethan and Ella detailed their favorite camping activities. “I like finding bugs,” said Ethan, a sentiment Ella agreed with: “Especially roly-polies.” Ella was excited about a book she had just read in school that day— Homer and the Doughnut Machine, a Robert McCloskey book I recalled reading when I was her age. Once camp was set, it was time to explore. We started by taking a walk down to the green waters of spring-fed Lee Creek for a lesson in rock-skipping. I think it must be something about being a dad that imbues a man with superpowers when it comes to skimming rocks across the surface of a given body of water—and Cade’s abilities drew appreciative squeals from the kids. “We didn’t have iPhones when I was a kid,” Cade said with a laugh. “We had river rocks.” Once the rock-skipping had lost its shine, we set out for the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail, a mile-and-ahalf trek through some of the prettiest terrain in the Ozarks. I’d spotted a troop of geese with some halfgrown goslings earlier in the day, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of them as Cade led the family along the trail—with April bringing up the rear and catching stragglers. It was a full-time proposition for her, as each child often stopped to point out an oddly shaped rock, poke at a random snake hole or pick some of the season’s last remaining honeysuckle.


“The older girls generally love having the tent to themselves.” — Cade Collister

Ethan, Ella and Beckett look on as Cade puts the finishing touches on the family’s tent. ARKANSASWILD.COM | 53


Clockwise from top: Sophia, Aven, Ethan and Ella race to the top of a particularly steep rock along the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail. Aven relaxes next to Lee Creek after a family hike. Beckett and Ella search for the perfect sort of flat rock made for skipping.

Our hike having warmed us up, it was back to the creek—only this time it was all about the wading. Cade and the kids explored the slippery rocks looking for crawfish and minnows, finding an entire colony of mudbugs after lifting a particularly large stone. Beckett, the youngest, was the most enthusiastic about the water, flopping and splashing about with glee and abandon. It was enough to make this writer wish he were that small again. “It’s chaos,” said April with a laugh as we watched the children playing. “But it’s a happy chaos. There’s always a point where I sit back and watch them playing and feel content.” It was proof that the outdoors in Arkansas holds something for everyone, from toddlers to adults. By the end of the day, we were all ready for a campfire and some s’mores, each with the glorious exhaustion that comes from adventuring as a family.

54 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017


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Some crappie fishermen use cane poles in a "spider rig" set-up, which allows for multiple hooks in the water that can be set to trawl at various depths.

CANE POLE FISHING MAY BE OLD-FASHIONED, BUT IT’S NEVER OUT OF STYLE BY MICHAEL ROBERTS

I

f most folks think about fishing with a cane pole at all, the idea conjures an image of a straw-hat-clad, ragged-cuffed-overalls-wearing Tom Sawyer, making his way down a dusty Missouri road with a length of bamboo fixed with a line and hook slung over his shoulder. In this modern era of high-tech fishing, that antiquated image would seem to place the cane pole in the same category with the Mississippi River steam boats Mark Twain also wrote about. I say nothing could be further from the truth—fishing with an old-school cane pole is a timeless angling option that gets your hook in the water and some fish in your creel in no time—and it’s an experience that’s not like any other. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old the first time I ever used a cane pole, and—not being a graceful child— the lack of casting and reeling seemed to me to indicate that I’d found a civilized form of fishing at last. It was a scorching July day, and my father and mother (both avid fisherfolk) had just maneuvered our old aluminum jonboat into a small, calm channel just off the main course of the Arkansas River. For us, summertime meant at least a week staying with my grandparents in their fishing cabin just outside Gillett—and having caught a nice mess of bass that morning, we were out to stalk one of my favorite eating fishes, bream. Unlike that earlier bass-fishing experience, with all its casting, maneuvering and bursts of action, getting out the cane poles was a calm, almost meditative experience. It was a fascinating process to first whack the side of the cricket basket, then reach in and grab one of the dazed insects to spear on a hook—an activity that most bloodthirsty young boys would agree is nothing short of awesome. The fishing itself was a lesson in patience 56 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

and focus: letting one’s mind wander often meant a missed fish or a snagged hook. And the thrill of our orange-and-white bobbers going under provides an adrenaline rush even in memory. Like me (and so many other fishermen), a cane pole was the first fishing rod Mark Hedrick, avid fisherman and manager of Southern Reel Outfitters in Little Rock, ever held and used. “It takes you back,” he says. “I started out fishing with cane poles with my grandfather, and it’s something that holds a lot of great memories for me. Now, I take my own two-year-old granddaughter out—and I’m getting her a rig very similar to the classic cane pole. It’s perfect to get her accustomed to holding a pole and getting a feel for everything.” Mark, like my father, knows how to teach the art of focus. Don’t get the idea that a cane pole is kid stuff, though— it’s a method that provides a number of benefits to anglers of all skill and interest levels. Never put a hook in the water before? A basic cane pole rig is a perfect way to begin learning how to fish. Want to fish but think it’s too expensive of an investment? There’s no more costeffective way to get involved than with a cane pole. And since many cane pole anglers ply their trade from banks or docks, you needn’t worry about a boat. We live in an era where technologies of the past (such as vinyl records and turntables) have become niche hobbies for people looking to try something different. I see no reason why an old-school art like cane pole fishing couldn’t garner the same sort of cultural cache. It’s said there’s nothing new under the sun, and when it comes to the pleasure of pulling fish from an Arkansas stream with nothing much more than a stick, some line and a baited hook, why would we ever want there to be?


Rig It Up

1

Flexible and strong

2

Go for an 8-pound test line

3

No live bait? Use a sausage head jig!

Southern Reel manager Mark Hedrick has added a small ultra-light reel to this cane pole for his granddaughter in order to get her accustomed to the feel of fishing.

“Fishing with a cane pole is another step in how people learned to fish,” says Mark Hedrick, expert angler, outdoor radio personality and manager of Southern Reel Outfitters in Little Rock. “It started with just some sort of line, then we added a length of stick to it—simple and effective.” Here are Mark’s tips for getting started with cane pole fishing: 1. PICK A POLE: “You can, of course, just cut a length of bamboo and tie some line to it. It can be as basic as that,” says Mark. “You can also spend a thousand dollars on a custom bamboo rod—some people do that.” For a beginner cane pole kit somewhere in the middle, Mark points to the Wally Marshall Signature Crappie Pole by Lew’s and the Buck’s Graphite Jig Pole by B’n’M Fishing. “These are strong, long poles that can last a lifetime,” he says. “You can get fancy and add a small ultra-light reel to them, or just attach some line to the end. It’s up to you.” 2. GRAB THE LINE: “Get the simplest line you can find,” says Mark. “Some Trilene 8-pound test will give you everything you want in terms of strength.” To affix the line, cut a length roughly double the length of the pole, wrap one end several sections down from the end, then tie again at the tip. You’re ready to snag a keeper.

Split-shot sinkers, simple and effective

3. GREAT BAIT: “Minnows, crickets or worms are commonly used by cane pole anglers—catch them for yourself or check out a bait shop like Zimmerman’s [Sport Center in Little Rock],” says Mark. “Jigs like the Sausage Head [by Strike King] are also great.”

4 Find your depth with a basic bobber

4. FINISHING TOUCH: “Some simple split-shot sinkers, some #8 hooks and basic bobbers are the only other things you need to get fishing,” says Mark. “Once you’re out, you can adjust your bobber up or down to manage your depth and find the fish.” For more information about fishing gear, visit southernreeloutfitters.com.

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 57


OUTDOOR ORIGINALS

How long have you owned and operated Ozark Outdoor Supply? Joe Spradley opened [Ozark Outdoor Supply] back in the 70s. In 1986, our family acquired the store. Back in those days, the store had a pretty hardcore flare: Climbing gear you couldn’t find anywhere else, backpacks and tents—good quality gear, which has always been our foundation. At that time, it was just us and [Pack Rat Outdoor Center] in Fayetteville.

JIM FRANK ROCK CLIMBER, CYCLIST, FISHERMAN AND OUTDOOR GEAR RETAILER JIM FRANK TALKS OZARK OUTDOOR SUPPLY, FAVORITE PLACES TO FISH AND THE NATURAL STATE’S GROWING REPUTATION AS A MUST-VISIT SPOT FOR LOVERS OF OUTDOOR ADVENTURE. BY MICHAEL ROBERTS

WHAT PRODUCTS DOES THE OZARK OUTDOOR TEAM LOVE?

“The Scarpa Vapor V climbing shoe. I love the fit.” —Michael Hendren “I love this aggressive burner for wind-proof cooking by Soto.” —Matthew Levy “Werner ultra-light weight paddles. Grams lighter, ideal for longer excursions.” —Justine Baker 58 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

What sort of changes has the store experienced over the years? As things have evolved through the years, the sportswear side has risen to the forefront. Most of the clothes we sell have some kind of technical angle that you can use [in outdoor activity]. We know we can’t be a fashion store like Gap or Dillard’s, so everything has a purpose. If you’re going somewhere and you need something kind of unique or specialized, that’s what we’re probably going to be carrying. When you’re on your own adventures, what do you like to do? I’m a biker, fisherman—I like to hike with my dog. I like to bike anywhere; Iron Mountain [on Lake DeGray near Arkadelphia] is definitely a good spot. I don’t discriminate when I fish: I fish. I can’t envision being on the water and not fishing. I like to fish the Buffalo River for smallmouth bass. But it’s really a matter of “any time, anywhere.” Trout fishing, fly fishing, bream, crappie—I do whatever the season allows.

Do you ever combine your favorite activities and go on multi-sport adventures? Yes. For example, I’ll bust out of here early in the morning and go up to the Little Red River and fish. I’ll have my bike with me, so on the way home I’ll stop at Woolly Hollow [State Park] and hit the mountain bike trail—it’s a great 10-mile loop. So there I’ve killed two birds with one stone. Are there any out-of-state adventures that stand out from all your travels? I fished in Chile last year, and I’m hoping to go back. We were in Patagonia, and it is worthy of a repeat visit. It’s a huge region, and it was six days of just mind-numbing fishing. Unfortunately, if you read the environmental news, humans are trying to screw it up. They’re damming up streams and there’s some deforestation and mining, too. What do you think is the reason you and your team have had such a long, successful run in the outdoor gear business? When one of our customers goes on an adventure or trip, my goal is for them to enjoy that outing. If they don’t enjoy it because of their gear or clothing, they’re not going to do it again. It’s about having fun.

Ozark Outdoor Supply 5514 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock,501-664-4832 ozarkoutdoor.com


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ARKANSASWILD.COM | 59


Thanks for voting for us favorite paddling outfitter

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9664 N Highway 65 St. Joe, AR 72675 www.buffaloriveroutfitters.com


ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

rock on at horseshoe canyon! page 41

HAMMOCKS, HIKING & FAMILY FUN the xxxx dig devil’s den!

State Parks Preview Quail Questions Hope for a Comeback

SAVORY Sliders

A Tasty Twist on Venison

SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 61


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ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

2017 PINNACLE & COMPASS AWARDS Find out your favorites

HAMMOCKS, HIKING & FAMILY FUN the xxxx dig devil’s den!

COMPACT CAMPING BUILT TO LAST Timbernak designs revolutionizes the Adirondack chair

CANE POLE FISHING

little red river (lobo landing) page 41

SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 63


ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

2017 PINNACLE & COMPASS AWARDS Find out your favorites

HAMMOCKS, HIKING & FAMILY FUN the xxxx dig devil’s den!

COMPACT CAMPING BUILT TO LAST Timbernak designs revolutionizes the Adirondack chair

CANE POLE FISHING

little red river (lobo landing) page 41

SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 64


ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

HAMMOCKS, HIKING & FAMILY FUN

the xxxx dig devil’s den! CANE POLE FISHING

rock on at horseshoe canyon! page 41

COMPACT CAMPING

BUILT TO LAST Timbernak designs revolutionizes the Adirondack chair

SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 65


ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

2017

PINNACLE AWARDS

Find out your favorites

rock on at horseshoe canyon! page 41

HAMMOCKS, HIKING & FAMILY FUN

CANE POLE FISHING

BUILT TO LAST

Timbernak designs revolutionizes the Adirondack chair

SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m ARKANSASWILD.COM | 66


cycling winners

bike shop: phat tire bike shop bentonville, fayetteville, fort smith,

what are some of the services phat tire offers that keep cyclists coming back? “At all of our locations, we offer 24-hour air supply support along with free air, tire and lube checks. We also offer [Razorback Regional] Greenway and [Bella Vista] Back 40 trail shuttles on Thursdays and Saturdays from our Fayetteville and Bentonville locations.” anything exciting coming up for phat tire in 2017? “We have two new stores opening in mid-June in Rogers and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. There’s also the Fat Tire Festival coming up July 14-16 at Lake Leatherwood park in Eureka Springs. Races, live music and social gatherings will make this festival fun for all ages.”

— brandi newton, events & marketing

cycling outfitter/ guide service: chainwheel bike shop conway & little rock

chainwheel.com

favorite bike trail: arkansas river trail

67 | Arkansas Wild ¸ Summer 2017

what is it that you feel makes chainwheel such a longtime favorite in arkansas? “We are known as The Shop when it comes to service and fitting, and our staff retention really is a huge driver for our customers. I also have to lean on what a customer said to me recently. She actually hadn’t been by in a while, but she said she always liked coming in because our store is always so consistent. Not only has this helped us develop our staff and really focus in on our customers, it has also inspired the relationships we are building in our community every day. Every day since 1971. Kudos to our staff, our vendors and our brand ambassadors for helping us stay at the front of the pack!


BIKE TRAIL ARKANSAS RIVER TRAIL-MM Conway, Little Rock, Maumelle and North Little Rock arkansasrivertrail.org

PLACE TO FISH LITTLE RED RIVER-MM PLACE TO PADDLE BUFFALO RIVER-MM PLACE TO CAMP DEVIL’S DEN STATE PARK-NS West Fork arkansasstateparks.com/devilsden

HIKING TRAIL DEVIL’S DEN STATE PARK-NS arkansasstateparks.com/devilsden

ARKANSASWILD.COM | 68


ARKANSAS WILD EXPLORING OUTDOOR LIFE IN THE NATURAL STATE

pinnacle awards THe Annual

2o17 reader favorites of the arkansas outdoors

AT DEVIL'S DEN

COMPACT CAMPING have a seat Timbernak's Adirondack chairs

CANE POLE FISHING SUMMER 2017 a r K A N S A S w i l d.c o m

picture yourself here! (lobo landing) page 27

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