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Hike, road trip works up Thanksgiving appetite

by Flip Putthoff | November 21, 2017 at 1:00 a.m.
A deck at the Dewey Short Visitor Center at Table Rock Lake dam offers sweeping views. Inside, visitors learn the history and purpose behind the big White River reservoirs of Beaver, Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes.

The gang's all here, with family and friends in town for the big holiday weekend.

There's the Thanksgiving Day feast for sure, but it's good to get out out of the house to ward off any early-season cabin fever and see the sights. Here's an idea for a calorie burn Thanksgiving morning and a fun road trip after the holiday.

That turkey and pumpkin pie will taste better with an appetizer of exercise before the big feast. An easy hike on a family friendly trail makes room for the banquet.

One path to consider is the lovely Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista. This loop trail packs a mountain stream, spring, bluffs, forest and a swinging bridge into a two-mile trek. From U.S. 71, drive west one mile on Arkansas 340 to the Tanyard parking area and trailhead. The trail is level with some easy climbing.

The one and a half-mile Shaddox Hollow Trail at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area makes a fine woodland mosey. The loop meanders so close to one bluff line you have to watch your head. There's a stream that trickles in wet times and a spur trail that leads to Beaver Lake. It's easy hiking with one moderate climb.

Sleep in on Friday to rest up for a fun road trip to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park east of Eagle Rock, Mo., then to the palatial Dewey Short visitor center near Table Rock Lake dam.

Dogwood Canyon will dazzle your crew with waterfalls, trout streams and a paved trail for walking or biking. Tram tours of the park are offered. So is trout fishing. There's a reasonable entrance fee that gets more pricey with added activities like fishing or horseback riding.

The park has cabins for rent and a restaurant. There's even a log chapel if you want to marry the love of your life this weekend. Panes of glass from floor to ceiling offer beautiful forest views for this special day.

Drive another 45 minutes east to Table Rock Lake for a stop at the Dewey Short Visitor Center at Table Rock Dam. Inside, visitors learn the history and purpose behind the big White River reservoirs of Beaver, Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes.

There are photos of Table Rock dam construction. Videos show how the lake and dams work to control flooding. The reservoirs don't eliminate flooding, but lessen the impact. Gone are the days, we hope, like in 1927 when one-third of Arkansas was under flood water.

Decks outside offer wide views of Table Rock Lake and a close-up look at the lake side of the dam. Tables and a pavilion are welcoming spots for a picnic. A 2.2-mile paved trail for walking or biking starts at the visitor center and heads south to Table Rock State park, ending at the marina. An out and back trip takes in 4.4 level miles that overlook the lake most of the way.

If your crew craves more, Branson is just a short drive north with all the music, shopping and sights that make the country music town famous.

• Speaking of driving, this bumper sticker was spotted while traveling an area highway: "Visualize Turn Signal Use."

Flip Putthoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWAFlip

Sports on 11/21/2017

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