Thursday, October 18, 2018

Petit Jean

This has been an unusually rainy year. In fact it has rained so much lately that waterfalls are actually running, which is such a rare treat. It seems like the last few years we have been suffering under droughts, which dried up all the rivers and creeks and turned the trees brown. So after it rained all day on Saturday, I headed out to Petit Jean Mountain to take advantage of the flowing waterfalls on Sunday afternoon.

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My first stop on the mountain was Stout's Point, and after I few minutes I got in the car to head toward the park. Just as I was about to turn onto the main road, I heard a distant siren. Soon enough, a big pickup truck came flying up the road with a blaring siren. But it wasn't with the police, the truck had a large American flag flying from the back (along with a red and black flag I didn't recognize) and had a large TRUMP sticker. The truck roared past, and I turned onto the road and followed it. Shortly after, I heard another siren and pulled over as a police SUV zoomed past, hurrying towards the truck. By the time I got to the entrance to the park, the truck had been pulled over. There were park rangers directing traffic past the scene, which involved the driver of the truck laying on the ground while the police gave him CPR. I didn't slow down much to gawk, so I have no clue what that was about. I never heard anything about there being a chase or anything that exciting on the news that day. I continued on towards the lodge, where things were much calmer and normal.

From the lodge I headed down the trail to Cedar Falls, which was fairly busy with people enjoying the nice weather. I wasn't sure how much water there would actually be in Cedar Creek, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was flowing nicely.

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And a bit further up the creek. This was actually taken while standing on one of the boulders that lines the creek.

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It was still a bit early for fall color, but the trees are just starting to change some.

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I finally made it to Cedar Falls, which is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Arkansas. The falls are 95 feet tall, and they plunge into a deep pool that is surrounded by a tall canyon.

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There was a lot of water going over the falls, but it's not the most I've ever seen there. In 2015 I hiked in when the creek was flooded in order to get this shot:

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And a panoramic shot showing the falls and the pool, with a few other hikers sneaking into the frame.

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I headed to a spot downstream of the falls, and waited for people to clear out in order to get this shot of the falls and the creek crashing amongst the boulders and rocks.

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And the view from a wee bit further downstream:

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And one last shot of Cedar Creek. I tried to stop as much as possible to delay the inevitable hike up the trail, which ends with a steep ascent up the canyon back to the lodge (which is a perfect way to remind yourself how out of shape you've become).

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Robinson Center

I was in downtown Little Rock and managed to get a few pictures around the old Robinson Center Music Hall. The auditorium first opened in 1939, and underwent a massive renovation in 2016 that completely updated the interior and added a ballroom and terrace on the back of the building, overlooking the Arkansas River. This is the view of the new addition, which was reflecting the light from the sunset.

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Next to it is the Doubletree Hotel, though I still want to call it the Camelot even if it hasn't been called that in years.


And finally here's a shot of the front of the building, showing off the massive facade. The columns were built in a Greek Revival style, meant to echo the Old State House.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Alley Coke

There are lots of old buildings in downtown Pine Bluff, and tucked away in an alley between two of those old buildings is an old Coca Cola ghost sign. The sign probably dates back to the early 1900s, and proudly boasts that Coke will "Relieve Fatigue."

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Seeing the Coke ad reminded me of a picture I took many years ago (or well 2009 to be exact), in Ozark, Arkansas. There was a Coke ad in that picture too, which was some great product placement.

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Duckweed Tales

While I was out taking pictures around Scott and Keo, I made a quick visit to a neat old oxbow lake that I had randomly stumbled on while driving around back in May. It's a neat little lake, especially since it is absolutely filled to the brim with thousands of water tupelo trees.

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Looking at the map, I'm guessing that the oxbow lake was once part of the Arkansas River (maybe?). This is all a guess - I can't even find out what the name of the lake is.

What looks like algae in the lake is actually a tiny plant called duckweed (or Lemnoideae if you want to be fancy). Duckweed is an aquatic plant that floats on or just below the surface, and it thrives in slow-moving bodies of water like this lake.

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Duckweed can be a nuisance, since it grows rapidly and can quickly overtake a pond. But it has some benefits. Scientists are utilizing it as a new source of biofuel, and farmers are using it as a food source for tilapia. Duckweed is also great at removing pollutants, making it a good way to filter water.

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My favorite thing about duckweed is that it covers the surface of water like a carpet, which prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs in the still water. I wasn't bothered by any mosquitoes while I was there, which is an amazing statement to make when you're outside in the Delta.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

The Delta On A Rainy Day

Last Saturday it poured down heavy rain, with a little flash flooding in some areas. Which probably wasn’t the best weather to be out taking pictures, but I was foolish enough to head out into the storm with my camera (which managed to somehow stay reasonably dry all day). I headed out to the flat Delta lands around the towns of Scott and Keo, trying to hopefully get some pictures of some neat old buildings. I had done some searching on Google Maps looking for stuff to get pictures of, and managed to find six places I wanted to visit. But of course, half of those places were busts.

But I did manage to find a few neat old churches which have been left abandoned. The first was near Scott, which is neat little town with all sorts of interesting old historic buildings. This church was along a bumpy dirt road, surrounded by fields. The front door was open, welcoming in the heavy rain.

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I headed south as the rain poured down, the water collecting and overflowing in the creeks and ditches alongside the road.

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After sliding around on a muddy dirt road I eventually found this other old church, which also sat empty and abandoned (although someone is still kind enough to mow the grass around it).

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The rain began to slack off a bit, although the landscape was still soaked. I drove by this old road and stopped for a picture (I definitely didn't drive down it - my old car would have gotten immediately stuck in the mud there).

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Further south was another church, but this one was actually much harder to find. While it was located right alongside the road, it was almost entirely hidden by trees and brush.

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I tried to get closer to the church, which wasn't easy since the church was nearly cocooned by massive vines of poison ivy. And if you look closely at the top of the window, there is massive wasp nest. Luckily that congregation had already left and didn't attack anyone trying to get too close to the old building.

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However, I didn't manage to escape unscathed. I got a little too close to the poison ivy here, which is making my arm itch now just typing this.