Lost Valley, near Ponca, Arkansas, is part of the Buffalo National River. None of us had ever been there before or knew much about it. When we first started walking the trail, it didn’t seem very exciting. The first “waterfall” looked like this. That’s Clark Creek, which disappeared underground at several points in the valley.
But we were there, and we were well supplied with Blueberry Pop-tarts, so we kept walking.
This tree, with a hole large enough for me to squeeze through, was still alive.
As we walked along, the scenery got better.
This is the Natural Bridge. Clark Creek passes through a tunnel in the rock.
I circled the little basin and climbed up into the cave behind the falls. To give you a sense of scale, here’s a shot Tim took with my daughter’s camera. That’s me up in the tunnel and my daughter standing down below.
Here’s what I saw.
I took this photo looking back the way I’d come. That’s Tim on the other side of the basin.
Another shot taken inside the tunnel.
Right after I climbed out of the tunnel, I turned around and took this shot.
The cliffs above the tunnel were coated with icicles.
I climbed up the slope a little and took this shot looking back toward the tunnel (visible in the lower right). Joshua and Katherine are climbing up.
This shot is looking up the valley. It’s one of my favorite photos from the trip.
By this time, the cliffs above above us were towering.
Underneath the valley wall was a large scooped out area that formed a huge cavern. Water was dripping from the cliff and landing on the ground and trees. The resulting ice formations were amazing. My daughter is standing on the left in this shot, to give you some idea of the scale.
A short hike later, and we came upon Eden Falls.
Part of the creek came down the valley and part came out of Eden Cave, located out of sight to the left in the photos above.
The view looking down the valley from just inside the cave.
The cave ceiling is rather low near the entrance. Supposedly it opens up further back, where the creek forms a 30-foot waterfall. I tried to make my way back to see it, but without a flashlight it soon got much too dark. I even had to use the flash on my camera to see well enough to return to the entrance. Here’s a flash photo I took inside the cave.
My daughter took this photo of Katherine and me in the cave. I don’t remember why I’m holding my hand like that. Knowing me, I probably just bumped my head — again.
Near the cave mouth.
The light was fading fast in the late afternoon, so we didn’t stick around long. But all five of us were in awe of the incredible beauty of the place. I’d like to go back sometime and spend a day.