As a young man in college I had the opportunity of canoeing a section of the Buffalo River in Arkansas on two occasions with friends, a few of whom were there both times.
The memories linger with me.
At first I didn’t recall where we put in, or exactly what section of the river we paddled because it was many years ago and I wasn’t the one who made the arrangements on either occasion, as I was just there for the ride, as it were.
Both times we pulled off next to a narrow tributary stream and walked up a hollow a short distance to a small, picturesque waterfall.
In my youthful naivety I thought it something of a hidden jewel, until years later I saw on social media photos of various people I knew at the same waterfall so I guess it wasn’t so hidden after all.
In fact, as I also found out much later, it’s actually a fairly well-known tour stop.
Now, let me just say, it is NOT the big one at Hemmed-in-Hollow, which at 209 feet tall is said to be the biggest waterfall between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains.
I have no earthly idea why we didn’t stop at that one either time, but we didn’t or I would have remembered.
The little six-foot or so waterfall – if it has a name, I don’t know it – that we DID stop for is about eight miles down river from Ponca, on the left side.
We parked the canoes at the mouth of the tributary branch and hiked up just a short way to the fall, which is nestled in the forest.
It’s a beautiful spot, and one that anyone can appreciate for its natural wonder.
On the first trip I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it, I’m afraid, being the sorry victim of some unrequited love, and it only made me a little sad that such a lovely spot should be wasted for the fact that “she” wasn’t there to enjoy it with me, and never would be.
I know, I know, but what can I say? I was about as starry-eyed, and broken-hearted, as any ol’ Shakespearean — or country song — character in the same situation.