Wednesday, May 20, 2009

They Call It the Arkansas Grand Canyon

First: Apologies for being so far behind. I’ve been pretty busy recently. It’s not that I don’t want to post, it’s that posting doesn’t get me money for the house payment and stuff . . . So today we’re dialing back to the little Arkansas trip.

The day was Saturday, April 25. We left Eureka Springs and drove to Hot Springs, driving first to Harrison and then south down beautiful Highway 7. And I do mean beautiful. As I read in Scenic Driving the Ozarks by Don Kurz, Newton County, Arkansas, is too rugged to have ever had a single mile of train track in it. Meanwhile, the land is rich in flora and fauna, and ecotourism is flourishing here in one of the prime natural highlights in the Natural State.

We had lunch at the famous Cliff House Inn and Restaurant, which is six miles south of the town of Jasper, in the Boston Mountains of Ozark National Forest. (That’s the next post.)

The big attraction here is the so-called Arkansas Grand Canyon, which offers grand views over several miles across the Big Creek valley. I haven’t been able to figure out quite how far the view is.

I have to admit that whoever decided to name this area the [Anything] Grand Canyon had a lot of chutzpah, and even more, marketing savvy. Millions of people see the Arizona Grand Canyon, and millions more would love to see it.

But let’s briefly compare the two, shall we?

The Grand Canyon in Arkansas:

--Presents a steep drop of over 600 feet; according to Google Maps’s topography, the Cliff House is at about 2,000 feet of elevation, and Big Creek is at about 800 feet. (Dry Branch is the creek below the Cliff House; it contributes to Big Creek, which drains into the Buffalo River.) So the valley below is at most about 1,200 feet lower than where you are sitting when you eat your Company’s Comin’ Pie.
--Has an “expansive view of several miles across Big Creek valley” (per Kurz, mentioned above). I think it is about six or seven miles to Round Mountain or Riddle Point, in the distance.
--The town down there, a ways off in the distance, is Vendor (pop. 229), elevation 834 feet. Again, the Cliff House is at ca. 2,000 feet.

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado, in Arizona:

--The vertical distance from the South Rim to just the Tonto Plateau is at least 2,000 feet, probably more. Total depth ranges from 3,500 to 6,000 feet from rim to river.
--The distances across the gorge are between 4 and 15.5 miles (average of 10 miles).
--Down at the Colorado River is Phantom Ranch, at 2,550 feet in elevation. Grand Canyon Village, at the South Rim, is at about 7,000 feet.

So. If that isn’t enough to convince you these are two radically different places, and that the folks who named the Arkansas place “Grand Canyon” were gutsy and creative marketers, compare the scenes below. Which picture was taken in Arkansas, and which in Arizona? (Hint: You don’t need any hints.)

(P.S. Doesn’t my sweetie take good pictures?)


Anonymous said...

I bought your cookbook and have loved every recipe in it. However, my daughter borrowed it to make a few dishes and I haven't seen it since. could you send to me a copy of one recipe? I can't remember the exact name, but I think it is called momma's white salad, or momma's christmas saled.It is a fruit salad. I love it and would very much like to make it again.
Thank you,
Julie Pipkin,
Cabot, arkansas

Julianna Schroeder said...

Oh my goodness, Julie, I think you have me confused with the official Cliff House Inn (Arkansas) Web site. But no, I'm just an ol' blogger from Missouri. And I've never published a cookbook. (Yet!)

I noticed the Cliff House Inn folks DO sell their own cookbook at the the giftshop there (it includes the recipe for their famous "Company's Comin' Pie"). Here's the address for their Web site:

Also, I noticed that the Cliff House Inn is currently closed for the season (as of today, Feb. 9, 2010) and will reopen on St. Patrick's Day. Meanwhile, you might try contacting them at their e-mail address: (as it is listed on their Web site).

Good luck, and best wishes!


Anonymous said...

Arkansas is by far more breathtaking than Arizona