Buffalo River Valley
April 26-27, 2008
Last fall I started participating in an online photography forum, the Central States Nature Photographers. We organized a weekend gathering April 25-27 in the upper Buffalo River area. Rod Kissinger from Springfield, Missouri graciously hosted us all in his cabin outside Jasper. I enjoyed meeting Glenn Carter from Fayetteville, Merle Cook from Columbia, Missouri, Bill Dark from Rogers, Dale Edsen from Independence, Missouri, Tim Ferrell from Bryant, Louis Ingram from Memphis, Tennessee, Tom Kennon from Fort Smith, Bruce Lauderdale from Joplin, Missouri, Brad Mangas from Topeka, Kansas, and Wayne Rhodus from Basehor, Kansas.
I'd dug out my army-style cot for the event and slept in the basement. We got up around 4:30 Saturday morning to give us plenty of time for a 25-mile drive to the Sweden Creek Natural Area.
Once inside the natural area we all split up to explore different areas. Ever since Cliff and I first visited the area in July of 2004, I'd been curious to see how the small stream below the old home site looked with water running. I found some colonies of Shooting Star along the stream and spent a long time taking pictures of them. Then I followed the stream downhill to where it drops over the bluff to form decent-sized waterfall. Across and above the creek, Merle and Dale stood still for me while I snapped a few shots.
Midmorning we drove back down into Boxley valley to the Lost Valley recreation area. Many varieties of early spring wildflowers were blooming. I put black cloth as a backdrop behind some Wild Geranium, and I used a reflector to cast a dark shadow behind a Wood Betony flower.
We went back to Rod's cabin for lunch and a siesta, then late in the afternoon we returned to Boxley valley and drove south to the Smith Creek nature preserve. When we reached the creek I left the group and wandered north along the wooded bank. I couldn't help but be drawn farther and farther downstream by the great scenery.
Merle prepared a delicious dinner of Tri-tip steak, baked potatoes and salad. I slept on the couch on the first floor that night. Sunday morning we drove the short distance to Hammerschmidt Falls. I mainly lingered in the neat area just above the tall 40-foot falls, though I did walk to a point above the canyon on the south side with a view of the top of the big falls. We also drove down Sherman Mountain to Twin Falls at the Camp Orr Boy Scout camp.
Bill cooked a nice big breakfast of sausage, biscuits and gravy. To top off the great weekend, we were treated to a private viewing at Tim Ernst's Buffalo River Gallery up on Cave Mountain. The quality of Tim's prints is just amazing.
L to R: Wayne, Dale, Brad, Merle, Tim, Rod and Sid, Glenn, Bruce, me, Bill.
Photo © by Glenn Carter.