I’m in northwest Arkansas, stuck inside on a rainy spell. Yesterday, on the first day of Spring, it rained all morning and all evening, but in the afternoon, there was a brief lull, so I took the opportunity to get out and explore one of my favorite roads in the area.
County Road 232 runs east-northeastfrom Arkansas 187, just west of the town of Beaver, to the Missouri state line, where it becomes Butler Hollow Road, and passes through the Mark Twain National Forest. I rode this stretch in 2010 and 2011. It is a gravel road, nearly a minimum-maintenance road, that runs along a valley next to a creek (or river). It’s a lovely route.
On this day, the road was wet, but with the ground as much rock as dirt, the surface as passable. I was riding my Dahon, with it’s 20″ wheels and fenders. Not ideal for a road such as this, but sufficient.
This is one of my favorite views along the road, with the forest along one side, the open river valley on the other, and hills rising beyond. It looked like the county road people had been trimming back the trees, as they were all torn up, and there was debris on the road.
At one point the road crosses a cattle guard and enters open range country. Initially, I rode over this. With the 20″ wheels, the crossing was very rough. After I passed over it, I realized that riding it was a bit foolish. It doesn’t look it in this picture, but the metal was wet and slippery. I could have easily fallen and broken a hip. I walked across on the way out.
The road has one low-water crossing. With the rain, the water was up a bit, and fast-flowing. With a bigger bike, I would have tried to ride across, but I didn’t want to submerge the rear wheel’s internal gear hub in the water. I’m not sure if it would have hurt anything, but better not to chance it.
I took off my shoes and socks, and carried the bike across. The water was cold, but at least the bottom was rock rather than mud, and the rocks weren’t sharp. Thankfully, I didn’t fall.
I had to cross this three times: once while carrying the bike, once to get back to the camera, and once more to get back to the bike. All for that shot!
After the crossing, the road becomes tree-lined on both sides.
I kept going until it started to rain, then turned back. After a bit, the rain let up again, but I just went ahead and returned the way I’d come.
The following are some shots along the way:
An old cedar tree choked by a fence. The tree had some sort of yellow fungus about 10 feet up.
There were several types of moss and lichen on the wooden fence.
An old barn along the road.
A dilapidated birdhouse.
Wet grass and tiny flowers.
A small yellow flower.
A fuzzy green leaf and water droplets.
Different purple flowers, ready to blossom.
White blossoms ready to unfurl.
Back in the valley, headed back.
Another old barn.
When I got back, it started to rain again in earnest, and the fog/mist/clouds covered the lake and rose into the hills. Beautiful.