Interesting road rides just keep appearing here in the Natural State. While at the BDB100 Expo, I took the opportunity to visit with Dirk Merle (merl-ee) who was manning table to promote the November 7 Pedestal Rock 40 and 20 Bike Ride at Witts Springs.
Follow the link above for ride details and registration. They are also seeking volunteers to help with the ride.
WE ARE SEEKING MORE VOLUNTEERS!! To volunteer, email Janis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The locale grabbed my attention because I have a long love affair with the area that is rooted in 30 years of kayaking Richland Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo, and other nearby Ozark creeks. Witts Springs lies along highway 16, and is best known to the boaters, hikers, and horse riders who know the wonders to be found just off of the pavement. I won't say that it is remote, but when I started boating in the area in the early 80's, long stretches of state Highway 16 were not paved, and washouts and downed trees blocked the road fairly frequently. I remember reading in the newspaper when telephone service was brought to Ben Hur, really more of a bend in the road with a place name than a community, west of Witts Springs. Of course, that was more than a few years ago, when most people actually read a newspaper.
For many serious boaters, Richland Creek defines Ozarks paddling. This high waterfall marks the approach to Richland Falls, a river wide drop of 10-12 feet. The creek is most frequently runnable in winter and early spring, though 2015 saw a rare July 4 rise.
The terrain is hilly, but the route is mostly rolling hills, without the many miles-long climbs that you'll encounter on the drive up.
Donation, lunch, and camping.
Donation, lunch, and camping.
The ride organizers call for a $40.00 dollar donation to benefit the Witts Springs Community Center. The donation will get you a T-shirt, post-ride lunch, and free camping at the community center. Showers and restrooms are available at the Community Center, as well.
Some lodging and camping options are listed on the ride website, and there is also camping at the Richland Creek Campground a few miles away at the confluence of Richland and Falling Water Creeks. If you go for the weekend, take your hiking boots and plan a hike to Pedestal Rocks or from the Richland campground up to Twin Devils Falls. That hike requires a couple of creek crossings in order to reach the twin water falls formed at the confluence of Big Devil and Long Devil Creeks. In high water, those creek crossings are sketchy. Here is a link to a video of some friends running those falls at high water.
This Richland Creek crossing at the confluence with the Twin Devils Creek might be a little chilly in November, though at current water conditions, it would be more of a shallow wade than a swim.
I can't help but veer off into boating, as that is the heart of my romance with the area, but every time I am there, I think about just how cool it would be to ride those roads. The pavement is good, the scenery is spectacular, and roads are lightly traveled. This is a ride worth checking out.