I have always wanted to visit the Ozark Mountains. For years, I have looked at gorgeous pictures of this area of the country in magazines and on the internet. All of them filled with vivid images of the beautiful mountains, creeks and rivers that define Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri and wished that I could visit them. Like many others, I have found that finding the time to chase after my dreams while balancing both work and family becomes harder and harder the older I get. Not to mention, beyond what I have read in magazines and books, my knowledge of that area was very limited so knowing where to go and what to do to make the most of my trip if I ever found the time was another factor that slowed me down.
I finally managed to find the time to get away for a weekend. With that problem solved, the next detail to deal with was where to go and what to do when I got there. Luckily, while surfing the internet, I came across the website of an outfitter in Springfield, Mo. named 37 North Expeditions. They offer guided hiking, kayaking and adventure trips in the Ozarks that visit many of the best locations that area of the country has to offer. I signed up for a hike and cave trip.
The morning of the trip, I arrived at the pick up location where I was introduced to my guides; Christina and Josh.
Not only were they professional with a wealth of knowledge of the area, they were also friendly, patient and I could tell they genuinely love what they do. The Ozarks are their home and they truly delight in sharing the natural wonders of the area with others.
The morning began with our group, (there were six of us) loading into their van and driving south into Arkansas. I have to mention, the drive itself was amazing. We traveled through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen on the way to our destination. We arrived at the North Sylamore Creek Trailhead to begin what was the first half of our adventure. We had a safety briefing in a small cave then began our hike.
Though the hike only had a 300 feet or so elevation gain, it began kind of steep.
But then leveled out and was a mixture of climbs and descents through the beautiful Ozark National Forrest.
Our destination was Sylamore Creek where we stopped for lunch.
After lunch, we hiked out then began the second half of our adventure; Blanchard Springs Caverns which is home to the world’s largest flowstone.
I have been in caves before, but this cave was one of the most amazing natural wonders I have ever seen. The cave is still “alive” meaning the formations are still growing and it is large enough to house 5 football fields.
After touring the cave. We traveled back to Springfield to end our day. It was truly an amazing adventure and one that I would recommend to anyone.
Though I feel as though I barely scratched the surface of what the Ozark Mountains have to offer, I left this trip with memories and new friends that I met on this adventure that will last a lifetime.
If you are in the Springfield area and want to see some of the Ozark’s most awe-inspiring sights, or if you just want a relaxing day in nature to recharge your batteries, I highly recommend contacting 37 North Expeditions to help you make the most of your trip. I plan to go back again whenever I can make the time.
Find your headwaters,