photo of the week

Thrill or Fear?

Not far north of Camden, Arkansas, Highway 7 makes a 90-degree turn in both directions under a railroad trestle.  Imagine the thrill and or consummate fear one might experience with several laboring diesel-electric locomotives thundering over your head.  Had I waited about five more minutes for this picture, I would have captured that moment, but who’s to know.

Highway 7

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Pine Buff, Arkansas

For non-Arkansans, I must bring you up-to-speed on Arkansas 7, which runs from the bottom to the top of our state — from the Arkansas-Louisiana state line to almost-in-Missouri up north.

The northern miles of Highway 7 are legendary for breath-taking views and vistas of the Ozark mountains.  That said, when Arkies (and a lot of non-Arkies to boot) hear the term “Highway 7,” they conjure up thoughts of a scenic highway snaking its way through a magnificent range of mountains, forgetting about the southern end of the road.

For this treatise, we take a look at a section of Highway 7 from Camden to Sparkman.


What Might They Be Selling?

As one rounds a curve on Highway 7, this large sign pops into view.  Behind it is a lengthy building — I’m guessing a boxcar and-a-half wide.  Whether or not they are selling “Smith’s” (whatever that might be) is not immediately obvious until you pull broadside to the structure.


Could It Be Potable Elixirs?

Turns out Smith’s is an outlet of potable elixirs of the alcohol genre.  The front veranda is compete with lawn chairs and indigenous items of décor.

For the most part, the highway travels through wetlands aka the Ouachita River bottoms.  The area is sparsely populated by human beings.  Not so with an abundance of critters that thrive on such an environment.  One sees a few active businesses, which are outnumbered by used-to-be-businesses.


A Closer Look

For clarification, here's a closer look at Smith's front midsection.


Brown from Flood Waters

Just a few miles west of Sparkman, this one-lane bridge crosses the Ouachita River, which starts in the Ouachita mountain range and eventually dumps into the Mississippi River in Louisiana.  The river is running a tad brown and is showing flotsam and jetsam deposited by the recent flooding in Arkansas.  Under normal circumstances the river runs fairly clear in this stretch.


Shelter for Livestock?

Though this barn is not as old as many we bring to you on this page, the classic lines and color qualify it for inclusion.  In all likelihood, one thinks that it was once a shelter for livestock due to the configuration of the left opening and gates.

The underbelly of Highway 7 gives us a glimpse of different topography and cultural traditions, proving again that drinking deeply from the fountain of knowledge does indeed have its enlightening rewards.


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