Buffalo Weekend Getaway, part 2
October 16, 2005

We gave up the chance to sleep in to make an early morning drive to Boxley valley in hopes of seeing the elk. When we saw signs indicating a colorful pre-sunrise, we found a spot to pull over east of Low Gap so that I could take pictures. Stacey got a shot of me with the point-and-shoot. The sunrise turned out to be one of the best of the year. (Fun Fact: Randy Wilson caught the same sunrise from Hedges Pouroff and posted some great photos on his Ozark Light web site.)
Down in the valley, the elk were barely visible through a fog. I stuck my biggest zoom lens on the camera, attached the camera to the tripod, and we used it as a telescope to get closer look. Several of the bulls were bugling - something even I had not heard before - and we both were thrilled!  The fog, and not being able to see but distant shapes at the other end of the field, only added to the experience.
As we got ready to leave I noticed an old barn and several trees on the other side of the highway smothered in bright red Virginia Creeper, so naturally we spent a few more minutes taking pictures.
We drove to the southern end of the valley and back, hoping to spot more elk, then turned down the road going to Lost Valley. I spotted an old barn at the edge of a field I wanted to shoot, so Stacey let me out while she went down to use the restroom at the campground.
As I wandered around that field, the morning evolved into one of those magical times where beautiful scenes kept popping up all around, capturing my attention. Fog banks swirled about in the hills above. The sun kept peaking out from behind the clouds and fog to light up red and orange Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy vines suspended in the trees. Stacey even caught some nice photos with the point-and-shoot.
We needed to head back to the retreat to check out, though we had time for a brief visit to the Ponca low water bridge. Stacey got another nice shot with the point-and-shoot looking downstream, while I focused on clusters of Aster that seemed to be everywhere this weekend.
On the way out of town we stopped by - believe it or not - Ozark Cafe for lunch. We took a different route back that had us driving south on Hwy. 7 then west on Hwy. 16. Everywhere there were small spots of fall color in the trees and shrubs. Just for kicks I kept the camera out and shot pictures from inside the Tahoe.