Well 2008 is finally coming to an end. This really hasn't been the best year. I had a sad death in the family in January, and spent the rest of the year worrying if the place I work for would file for bankruptcy and if I'd have a job or not. Things got better toward the end of the year, though. My cousin's high school football team won the state championship, and I still have a job (for now, at least). But I've made a serious effort this year to take more pictures, and spent a lot of weekends out driving around the state. Not to toot my own horn, but I got a few good shots out of it. So this is going to look back at the year that was, with some of my favorite shots of the year.
I made a trip over to Petit Jean Mountain, with a hike down to Cedar Falls. Those falls are among the best in the state, and I'm already trying to find the time to head back up there again.
This is along Cedar Creek, on the way to the falls:
And one more Petit Jean view, of the small waterfall by Lake Bailey:
A few weeks later I made the trip out to the Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, in search of bald eagles and trumpeter swans. The swans were sitting a bit too far out in the water to get a good shot of, and I never saw any eagles, but did see this armadillo:
On Superbowl Sunday I got out early and visited a few waterfalls before meeting some friends for the game. First I went to Haw Creek Falls, then tried to find another waterfall nearby. On the way to those falls I passed by this little cascade. The little bit of white at the top of the photo is some snow that hadn't melted yet.
On the way to another waterfall (which had no water), I was driving down this snowy and foggy dirt road through the Ozark National Forest...
A few weeks later I made what would turn out to the most memorable of hikes of 2008 - my failed attempt to reach the great Twin Falls of Devil's Fork at Richland Creek. The first stop that day was Falling Water Falls:
And a shot of Six Finger Falls:
And one of the last pictures taken on this trip. To reach Twin Falls would mean having to cross this creek, which was running high.
It was pouring down rain, and I was soaked. I made it just a half-mile away from Twin Falls and had to turn back, defeated. Reaching my car I was soaked and miserable, having just broken my tripod. And the icing on the cake - I somehow did some minor damage to my car on the bumpy dirt road there, the CV boot or something got cracked, which ended up being too damaged to repair and I had to get a whole new axle for the car. Thanks, Richland Creek!
But that didn't keep me from heading back out there. The next weekend I made another attempt to reach Twin Falls, and actually made it this time. I followed a different route, which was a few miles longer and was listed as a "difficult bushwhack," which really did leave me sore for about a week after finishing the hike. But it was amazing, this is a waterfall taken along the way:
And finally I made it. Because these falls are so hard to reach, they are considered the Holy Grail of Arkansas waterfalls. It'll be awhile before I attempt the trip to reach them again!
After all that I'd thought that the next waterfall I'd visit would be much more easier to reach. So my next trip was to Falls Creek Falls at Lake Catherine State Park. This didn't involve any dirt roads, and the hike is short and easy.
On St. Patrick's Day, I made a trip out to the Big Dam Bridge to get a shot of the bridge covered in green lights. It looked like a storm was coming through, so I stuck around and tried to get a shot of some lightning. After about 20 minutes of nothing happened, all of sudden these bolts dropped down. And amazingly, thed did it while the camera was taking a picture:
I started the month out heading to Texas to see the FC Dallas season opener against Chivas USA. The game ended in a draw, 1-1.
After work a few days later, I got this shot of some dogwoods blooming at Pinnacle Mountain:
And then I made the trip up to the Buffalo National River. There had been a ton of rain and I was seeking out waterfalls, but the sun was out so I didn't think I'd get much. This is a shot of a horse in the fields by Steele Creek:
On the trail at Lost Valley, I was lucky to get good light and find Eden Falls all in shadow:
And I really like this old barn at Boxley Valley:
We made another trip down to Dallas for a soccer game, and I took these while exploring downtown Dallas:
The Junction Bridge opened up around this time of the year, and I got a shot of it and had my first of what will probably be many more crazy people encounters.
Towards the end of the month I went to visit some relatives in Charleston again and stopped at the Cherokee Prairie:
And then went to Mt. Magazine, the highest point in the state. I hiked the trail to the summit, and got my shot while being "the highest person in the state." I didn't post this shot here before, so here it is in all its glory:
A quick Big Dam Bride shot:
And a sunset, again from the Big Dam Bridge:
One weekend I spent exploring a few of my favorite waterfalls - Longpool, Haw Creek and Pam's Grotto. This small waterfall is below Longpool Falls:
And a view of Haw Creek, just before I started the hike to Pam's Grotto:
Pam's Grotto Falls:
And Haw Creek Falls:
On Memorial Day, I took this shot of fireworks over downtown Little Rock:
On the last day of the month I made my first of many more trips to Collins Creek (and got a speeding ticket on the way):