This old barn, near Wright, Arkansas, is a remnant of the mid-thirties New Deal "Resettlement Program," a child of the Farm Security Administration. A few months ago, the tree and the shade it cast would have covered a lot of the detail you now see in the barn. Plus, the skeletal tree looks cool against the stormy sky, a winter bonus.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
By December — at least in these parts — the camouflage is off. Places where the sun doesn't normally shine are now revealed in glorious detail. Mother Nature is baring it all. Despite bone-chilling winds, the Old Girl is showing us stuff she demurely covered with leaves and shade earlier in the year.
To those misguided souls who steadfastly believe that there is less to see in the great outdoors once winter sets in, I am here to inform you that your views are misguided. There is more to see. Much more.
Case in Point: This is an intermittent waterfall east of the Long Pool Recreation Area on Big Piney Creek, which is north of Dover, Arkansas. In spring and summer, shade and direct sunlight make this evenly lit image virtually impossible. In even light, the nooks and crannies patiently carved for thousands of years become visible. Since water is trickling over instead of roaring over, the sound effects are different, like a bit of sprightly Mozart versus Ride of the Valkyries. In this calm setting, you can observe at leisure, just be out of there before dark.
The waterfall you partially see above is in the 10-12 foot range. The only time it really shows off with a big flow is after a day or two of really hard rain. Less than 75 yards upstream is a 44-foot waterfall which shows off under the same circumstances. The round-trip hike to see both is a shade less than two miles, most of which follows an old roadway. I did not have enough time during this visit to shoot the big one properly. "I shall return."
The site is remote and unpublicized. You are seeing the raw and real stuff.
Once you are at the waterfall site, boulder crawling is necessary to see the good stuff. There is an alternative trail to the falls which follows Big Piney Creek. I went in to the site that way and do not recommend it for the faint of heart. In a few places the rail is less than two feet wide along the side of a tall, steep hill, the bottom of which is the creek. The pucker factor is high, and I took the road trail out.
One benefit of the creek trail: I saw a bald eagle in flight. I was looking down on him and he was looking up at me, a sight which was worth the willies brought on by the trail.
N O T E S:
Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog. — J. D.