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Winona Scenic Drive
November 5, 2006

When we met up on a rainy Sunday morning, destination wasn’t so much the topic of conversation between Joey and me as was direction. Of course it would be south, because everyone knows the fall colors peak later in the Ouachitas. But would it be south of Waldron, Mena, Mount Ida, or Russelville? My recollection of the last weather radar map I’d seen was the deciding factor. The more southeast the better. We started heading east down Highway 10, and if anything the rain worsened.
Thankfully somewhere around Danville we escaped to dry conditions that we would enjoy the rest of the day.
Joey had long talked of a photo road trip in which we would only take the bare minimums of equipment - one camera, one lens. No tripod. I was willing to give it a try, though you can have my tripod when you pry it from my cold....Come to think of it, Joey brought his tripod too!
We took Highway 27 south to Onyx, only because it crossed over a couple of mountains, then we took Highway 314 east. Some guy name Steve had his own church (I’m kidding!) along the way.
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Finally we reached the turnoff for the Winona Scenic Drive and came upon vistas and sights begging for snapshots, though the hazy, overcast conditions dulled things down. First there was Oak Mountain Vista, followed by Forked Mountain Vista. I asked Joey to stop a few times so that I could take shots of the road leading into the brightly colored woods.
Following Tim Ernst’s excellent new book, Arkansas Nature Lover’s Guidebook, we turned north and headed for Flatside Pinnacle.  It had been on my list for a long time; funny that I would visit it without actually planning to do so. The hike up to the top was brief, and the views, which included a distant Forked Mountain, were amazing. The fall colors must have been at their peak. The trees were an unfamiliar mixture of yellow and orange hardwoods contrasting with green pines that we don’t see in the Ozarks. Occasionally I would spot a solitary tree more red than I thought was possible.
On the long drive back we circled through a pretty park beside the Fourche La Fave river below Nimrod Dam. We took Highway 7 to Dardanelle, then Highway 22 back to Fort Smith. It rained the entire time, else I would have asked Joey to stop half a dozen times so I could take snapshots of the many picturesque rural scenes.
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