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Sunday morning, Rod and I drove to one of the overlooks on Highway 7 with a view of the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Despite cloud cover, the sun found a way through and put on a good show at sunrise. But the really amazing stuff came a little later as the sunlight beamed through gaps in the clouds and lit up spots in the valley below. The sunbeams were in constant motion, and no two shots were the same.
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The Tahoe was getting really low on gas and I had to drive all the way to Hagarville before I found a store with gas pumps. The old country store had that great personality you just don't find anymore, and the people were friendly. From there I drove to a couple of parking spots above Haw Creek upstream from the campground and walked down to explore. Then I returned to camp and spent a while taking pictures of butterflies in a clearing full of yellow flowers.
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I hung around camp until everybody returned and had a chance to eat lunch. Then I piled everything in to the back of the Tahoe, said bye to those remaining, and started driving home. I made the right turn onto Highway 123, feeling disappointed in how few waterfalls I'd seen over the weekend. About that time some clouds moved in and I realized it how crazy it was to be driving home instead of out in the woods. So I turned the Tahoe around and headed to Falling Water Road. I drove as far north as I could, parking at the big landslide blocking the road. I had researched possible waterfall locations in the Richland Creek area prior to the photographer's gathering, and one of the places was 250 yards up the hill.
On the way I passed a group of over a dozen Northern Maidenhair Ferns on an open hillside. I had to fight my way through a maze of ice storm debris to reach the bluffs uphill. Sure enough, there was a pretty 20-foot waterfall pouring over the edge. For no good reason, the walk back down on the north side of the stream was a piece of cake. I didn't encounter any fallen trees or sticker bushes, and got back to the road in 10 minutes.
From there I drove south six tenths of a mile and parked at another drainage coming down the mountainside to the east. I walked uphill 500 yards to a line of bluffs on the south side of the stream, then followed the bluffs to find a similar 20-foot waterfall. Again I had to fight some pretty tough ice storm damage to cross to the north side with a clear shot of the waterfall, which cascaded across layers of rock before falling midair. On the way back from this hidden waterfall, I came upon a nice little spot where the stream dropped about 4 feet over a rock shelf. The rocks underneath were covered with thick green moss. Daylight was fading as I took my last shots for the day. Looking back at all the photos I took, and recalling the times shared with my photographer friends, I'd say I had one of the best weekends ever.
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