FORUM— It was serendipity.
Serendipity is a seventh-grade vocabulary and spelling word that fits visiting the Bear Hollow Natural Area just outside of Carroll County in Madison County.
The area is now home to the Madison Wildlife Management and the Ozark Natural Science Center.
The Ozark Natural Science Center is an educational center that provides information and hands on experience for middle school students.
This organization has also developed a series of trails that are open to the public. Eight miles of natural paths wonder throughout campus of the organization.
Each of these trails are open to the public for day use.
The trails each have a highlighted item along the way. One trail has a bluff shelter and a rock formation that is called Split Rock.
There is an old log cabin that gives a glimpse into life over a century ago.
The Boti Trail is a wonderful trail that offers a great view of the Ozark forest valley and many rock formations.
This trail starts on the property across the dirt road from the Lewis Pavilion, which is the first structure that is visible when arriving on campus.
The path starts in a southwest flow and wonders over several rocks for a quarter mile.
Then there is a third of a mile climb. This climb offers great places to take photos with nature.
After arriving on the top of the trail, there will be two lookouts along the way.
Also, there will be a split in the trail that is .7 of mile into the hike. At this point, take the path to the left. It looks narrow at the beginning, but it expands after the initial beginning. Taking the path to the right will cut off a half of a mile of the walk and have you back at the campus in a third of a mile.
Taking the path to the left will take visitors to the Chinquapin Overlook. This gives another beautiful view of the hardwood forests of the Ozarks.
Reaching the Ozark Natural Science Center is an easy trek. From Harrison take highway 412 toward Alpena. At Alpena turn left to continue on 412. Just before reaching Huntsville, turn right on highway 127. Take 127 to Forum.
Turn right on highway 23. Travel 3.4 miles to county road 1235 on the right. Turn there and go right in .2 of a mile onto country road 1250. Turn left on county road 1305 that is .7 of a mile from the intersection of 1235 and 1250.
There is a parking area 1.5 miles down the road. This area is for visitors that will not be out of the Science Center property by 5 p.m. There are gates located there that are locked each day at 5 p.m.
This adds about a half mile one way to the hike.
While looking for a waterfall, a new discovery was made. It was serendipity.