Arkansas is full of little surprises if you know where to look. One of those special places lies along a relatively remote stretch of state highway. After an 45 minute drive, I parked the truck at the Ozark Highlands Trail access on AR 123.
Two miles in to the trip, Ben and I came across our first creek crossing. I managed to not get wet feet.
Stunning overhangs and potential bouldering problems lined the next three miles of the gravel road.
The second crossing of the Big Piney has an actual bridge. Followed by a long climb, the longest one of the day.
After some thirteen miles of gravel, you come to Rosetta. Nowadays, it exists in name only, sharing the name with the USGS quadrangle it resides within. There’s no sign saying you’ve arrived. You’d go right through it without knowing it even had a name. In fact, it’s one of hundreds of places that dot the Ozarks where nothing but a cemetery and a small collection of uninhabited houses mark the place where a group of farming families once eked out an existence plowing the rocky ridge top.
Descending for two miles on loose gravel can be a test of one’s cycling ability. I never felt unsafe, but I wished I could feel more stable. Riding my brakes for two solid miles was not my idea of fun. I have never experienced a blowout on a downhill section of road before, but I wasn’t in the mood for testing these limits, either. Let’s just say that the heat buildup on my rims made me wish for disc brakes.
Some five miles after Rosetta, we came upon the Little Piney and the coffee I packed was calling my name. As I broke out the stove, Ben explored the creek. By this time of year, the creek had become a collection of small puddles. Ben, an avid fisherman, caught a moth that had landed on his hat and threw it in the water. Surprisingly, it took the fish a few minutes to find the moth struggling away on the surface.
Every piece of camping gear must have a maiden voyage. This little stove’s first trip was inside of a saddlebag. Fired up nicely and brought the water to almost boiling in short order. Couldn’t be more pleased!
Another four miles of gravel brought us back to AR 123. The pavement felt like a pool table, albeit unfairly inclined against us for 2 miles. We were rewarded with a descent all the way to the truck.
Coffeeneuring Trip Nº1: 5 October 2014
Drink of Choice: Coffee from Penny University Roastery, Russellville, AR
Total Distance: 28.1 miles round trip
Total Climbing: 2718 feet
RWGPS Link: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6148217