Single Photos
May 25, 2011
In early Spring, as the days get longer and the weather more pleasant, I'm itching to spend some time outdoors. It's usually a frustrating time, because our busy season at work isn't yet over and I'm still working seven days a week. But I had enough daylight left on the evening of Sunday, March 6 to visit a patch of White Trout Lilies I found last year near Lee Creek Reservoir. The flowers on these early bloomers usually point down at the ground, but I found one on a hillside that was pointing at more of an upward angle, and I was able to get the camera low enough to shoot up at it.
Saturday morning, April 2, I made the long drive to the upper Buffalo River area to catch the sunrise. The clouds put on a spectacular show of color before sunrise, but I was running late and my views were from Stacey's Civic as I headed down Fire Tower Road. The sun rose behind a thin layer of clouds, though I zoomed in on the prettiest part of the scene with my camera lens. Then I got back in the car and made the long drive in to work.
Tuesday, April 26 was a mainly fruitless day. I took off work to explore some areas in the Ozarks and hopefully find some waterfalls. Bee Run Hollow south of Limestone first caught my attention on that long road trip I made on December 5. Back then the dry stream bed full of big, moss-covered boulders looked like all it was missing was running water. But a big April shower and the greens of Spring didn't make it the fantasy stream I imagined. Don't get me wrong, the hollow was beautiful, especially at a spot where the stream flowed right between two giant boulders. But the only waterfall I found was a rather generic 30-foot-tall skinny waterfall running off a bluff on the west side of the stream. At least the woods were relatively flat and easy to navigate. I made it up the entire hollow in two hours, then bushwhacked uphill to a county road and hiked back to the Tahoe.
I bushwhacked a lot of miles that day. After lunch I drove to Gunter Trail south of Sand Gap to explore a side drainage of Indian Creek west of Sollys Knob. The terrain was brutal but pretty... ferns dotted the forest floor and thick green moss covered a lot of exposed surfaces. But I never saw a waterfall.
My leg muscles kept reaching their failure point on the uphill climb out of the hollow, so I had to stop frequently to recover. Storm clouds moved in and at times the woods grew quite dark. Lightning cracked and thunder boomed overhead as I neared the top of ridge, exactly the worst place to be. The road was only 150 yards downhill on the other side, so I nervously crossed over the ridge as fast as I could.
I made it to the Tahoe just as it started to rain. Five minutes later hail began popping against the hood and top of the Tahoe. I sure am thankful I wasn't caught out in that! I pulled underneath some trees for a little bit of shielding, and waited about 10 minutes for the hail to subside. Then I drove out to Highway 7 and headed north to Sand Gap. Man! It rained so hard I could barely see the road.
I drove through the storm on the drive home west. Along the interstate east of Ozark, eerie mammatus clouds filled the sky, and I just had to get off at Highway 23 to take a few photos.
I took another day off from work to chase waterfalls on Friday, May 13. As I approached Big Foot Hollow I could tell the streams weren't running much at all, so I turned around and headed east on Highway 215 to sightsee. The farther east I drove, the more water I saw. The pouroff waterfalls on the bluffs beside the Mulberry river were running well. I remembered that I had the coordinates for a new waterfall in Bingham Hollow stored in my GPS receiver, so I drove there. The beautiful waterfall, which pours from a horseshoe ledge above an undercut shelter, is only about a hundred yards from the road. I dropped down through the wet woods on the right side (facing downstream) then walked up to the shelter. I crossed behind the falls then climbed up the steep hillside on the left side. I spotted a lot of Cinnamon Ferns in that area.
On the drive back I stopped along Highway 215 to get a better look at a huge patch of Spiderwort flowers in a field above the Mulberry River. Thousands of lavender blooms, with a few pink, blue, and white specimens, swayed in the breeze atop chest-high stalks. It was an unforgettable sight.