Single Photos
June 20, 2010
It was another busy Spring with many trips to the outdoors that only yielded a few single pictures. And on a couple of excursions I didn't take any pictures at all. The new season was officially only a couple of days old when I drove up Highway 7 to view the sunrise from one of the scenic Arkansas Grand Canyon overlooks. On that morning, low fog covered Big Creek valley as an orange sun rose from behind Lick Mountain.
Friday night April 2, I left town at 10:30 and drove through the rain to Sam's Throne. At Dillen the frogs were having a block party in the middle of the highway. I slept in the back of the Tahoe and got up a little before sunrise to hunt for a waterfall I was hoping to find pouring off a tall bluff. I thought the hike would be brief so I left my Lunchables and two bottles of coke on a rock wall behind the Tahoe. The potential waterfall turned out to be a big dud.. there was just a jumble of huge truck-sized boulders. Had the stream flowed a little to the north, it would have gone right over a 100-foot tall bluff. On the hike back up I explored a little beneath the sandstone bluffs I found back on January 2. When I returned to the Tahoe, my lunch was gone! I found a label down below the rock wall that suggested the critters took it, but that's the only evidence that remained. I got by on some granola bars I had in my camera bag. On the way home I stopped along Highway 123 to check out a small section of the Indian Creek headwaters. I found several pretty little waterfalls but they were surrounded by ice storm debris and, besides, the midday sunlight was awful.
The evening of April 27 I drove to Cove Lake hoping to take a picture of the moonrise. I don't got to the Mount Magazine area nearly as much as I used to due to the high price of gasoline. Clouds in the east messed up the moonrise, but I did snap a photo of the trees above the lake bathed in the red light near sunset.
The following Saturday morning I got up early and drove to the Sweden Creek Falls Natural Area. I wanted to visit a waterfall while the conditions were favorable, yet I didn't want to go on too long of a hike since I'd be hiking to The Penitentiary the next morning. The only other time I'd visited the waterfall, it wasn't much more than a trickle, so I was disappointed to see the falls only running half as well as I expected. And unsightly debris from the January 2009 ice storm littered the area at the base of the falls.
I took a different route on the hike back, following the bluff line to the top of the waterfall, then falling the stream uphill a bit. I came upon the biggest patch of Wood Betony flowers I'd ever seen. The sky grew dark and loud thunder frequently rumbled as I made my way uphill to the road. It was one of those funny situations where I literally ran to the Tahoe as heavy rain started to come down.
On May 17 I wasted another day looking for possible new waterfalls that were never there. I started the day in a drainage north of the Richland Creek campground. The area had received a lot of rain over the last few days and all the streams were running fast. Wow!... That stream was big. And there was a lot of water going down it. But even though there was a definite bluff line, there was no waterfall...only cascades and small 1-2 foot drops and a lot of tumbles over boulders. So I turned around and headed downstream. I got real excited when I spotted what looked like the top of a waterfall down below. I could tell the terrain just dropped away below it. But it turned out to be the most amazing pile of big boulders I've ever seen. The water ran over the top corner of a 30-foot tall boulder, then cascaded down among slightly smaller boulders.
After lunch I drove to the Richland Creek access near Moore. As soon as I locked the Tahoe, I realized I'd locked the keys inside. Oh well, I'd deal with that later. I had to park the Tahoe and walk on an old road that parallels Richland Creek. To make a long story short, I walked up the stream that comes down from Sugar Gap. The stream was small, and there was no waterfall where I suspected there would be. At least there was a tall bluff right there, so I know I'm not crazy.
Anybody driving by while I tried to bust out the side window of the Tahoe might have thought otherwise. It was quite comical how many times I hit the glass, only to have everything bounce right off of it. I realized that because I'd left the window open at the top, the glass was swaying every time I hit it. So I found a big stick to wedge in behind the window and the door frame, then threw a big pointy rock. Kabloom! I'll never understand how pieces of glass wound up on TOP of the Tahoe.
After work on May 25 I headed up to Acord Hollow when an isolated thunderstorm blew through the area. This time around I was able to park on a forest service road about 600 yards southeast of the big waterfall I'd found back in January. I didn't arrive until sunset, and it was getting pretty dark as I took pictures. I bushwhacked in the dark back to the Tahoe. I was reminded of why I quit bushwhacking by this time of the year. The vegetation was thick, and the bright light from my headlamp simply bounced off the foliage and back in my face.
On the last official day of Spring, Cliff and I got up at 3:30 Sunday morning and drove up to White Rock. I'm a real sucker for news reports of new comets that "might" be visible. We arrived at White Rock about 4:45. I pulled over to the side of the road just passed the trail, and we thought we'd gotten the Tahoe stuck in some really thick mud. We went ahead and walked down to the overlook on the northeast side. Even that early the sky was already getting light. The comet wasn't visible to the naked eye, though I might have captured it with the camera except I messed that up too, and the pictures were all fuzzy.
I finished shooting at 5:15, and couldn't convince Cliff to wait 45 minutes for the sunrise, even though the  chances for a pretty one were looking good. The bugs were having him for breakfast. So we walked back the Tahoe and luckily I was able to get out of the mud.