Chapter two of blogging backwards. We ran trailz at Lake Leatherwood just west of Eureka Springs. I have heard of these trailz for years, and have even drove to the trail head once while vacationing there, but it was on the way home and it was cold and raining. (I know, that's actually GREAT conditions!) I had a map I'd printed from the web, but I took a shot of the one posted just in case I lost the paper one. Our plan was to do the Overlook Trail, and connect to the Beacham trail for a 4-5 mile loop. I knew the Overlook Trail had some climbing, so I thought it best to do that part first. I am still recouping from last week, ya know. In looking at the Beacham trail head, it sure looked like more of a gravel road than single track. Hmmm.... After a short jaunt down a blacktop road, we came to the trail I was looking for. The Mulladay Hollow Trail connects to the Overlook trail. This was looking good. These arches are supports for a bridge on the access road to the park. A trail that eventually circles the lake on the east side goes right under the bridge. Another day.... I got several repeats up and down a short gravelled incline trying to outrun a 10 second timer, Finally, I set the Canon on 10 seconds, and 3 repeating pics. It worked. Good thing too. As it looked, our route went up up up. Several switchbacks along the way took most of the steepness out of the beginning miles though. It was runnable, and would be a pleasure to run this trail the other way. This was the steepest part of our run, and even this was "relatively flat." It was nice to see confidence markers on the trail. For the most part, it was well marked. But some of the trail was buried. Arkansas trees have shed their leaves a good week or two earlier than Oklahoma trees have. There actually is a trail through here. We had to stop and really study which way we needed to go in several spots. The overlook. Of what? It was supposed to be the overlook of the Lake Leatherwood Dam, and you could kinda see it through the trees, but it the view was hardly worthy of the sign. From here, we enjoyed a long downhill and a half mile later, we had descended what we had worked 1.5 miles to climb. This route has a LOT of nice soft fast trail. And a lot of roots. Along here, there was a lot of shag carpet grass. It seemed out of place in the brown and gray leaves. When we hit the Beacham Trail, as I expected, it was a boring gravel road. We headed toward the dam, and found the Fuller Trail which ran right along the western shore of the lake. This was the best section of the day. My usual sun shot through the trees. There's one in every post. It looks like it's getting dark, but actually, I was standing in the shadows taking a lake shot into bright sunlight. This is taken from the same spot just the other direction.
It was right after we left the edge of the lake that I saw it. In the distance up the trail a ways, I saw a BLACK BEAR!! I told Dana, and she argued that it was NOT A BEAR, but just a dog. But NO, I was sure. We had an option of taking another trail that gave the bear/dog a wide berth, and we passed by un-attacked. But immediately thereafter, we popped back into the campground where we had started. There were several small bear cubs puppies running around chasing each other. And Mama Bear walked out of the woods, and I had another serving of crow. We ended up with 4.5 miles, and despite doubling up on water bottles, hardly even broke a sweat. Fun times!! I plan to come back here for more of these trailz.