Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall at the Buffalo River - Part 1

So it was pouring down rain by the time we reached Zack's Jeep. We decided to head out from Sam's Throne, and began driving down the very steep and curvy road heading north towards Jasper. We had all of the Ozarks spread out before us, with peak fall colors and cool light. The only thing was to decide where to go next.

So it shouldn't come as a complete shock that our next stop was, of course, the Ozark Cafe in Jasper. After a cheap and filling breakfast (I had pancakes, in case you were wondering), we headed back out onto the road towards the Buffalo National River. We soon turned off of the paved road and headed down the bumpy dirt road that heads down to Kyle's Landing and Camp Orr. And it was awesome. The fall colors were great, with their colors saturated by the steady rain. And occasionally, some fog would drift through the scene:

We made slow progress on the road, because there seemed to be something great around every turn...


We finally made it down to the parking area at Kyle's Landing, and got out for a few pictures. I took some but none turned out, thanks to there being countless drops of water on the lens. But here is another shot of the road, heading out of Kyle's Landing:

We reached paved road and then headed down to Steele Creek. We were both surprised to see that the road to Steele Creek has been paved recently. The last time I was here, in July, it was just a dusty dirt road. So of course, we stopped and got some more shots of a road heading off into the foggy fall colors...

The Steele Creek area along the Buffalo River is one of the prettiest places in the state. And the fall colors there looked awesome...

And here's the view from along the river. This was awkwardly taken while trying to shield the camera with an umbrella...

By now soaked through, we got back into the car and headed back onto Hwy. 74. We dropped down into Boxley Valley. Our first stop was the low-water bridge on the Buffalo. But as I went out to take pictures, I found the camera lens was completely fogged up. From there we got back into the car and drove to a nearby barn, and I impatiently waited for the lens to defog. I got tired of waiting and changed lenses and got this shot instead...

The next stop was the Beechwoods Church and Cemetery, which is near Lost Valley. By now, luckily, the lens had sufficiently defogged. This is a shot of the cemetery, which is the oldest in Boxley Valley.

And the dirt road that leads to the church:

And then it was back again to the Jeep. We drove across the valley, and then turned and drove up Cave Mountain Road. We eventually found the parking area that leads to Hedge's Pouroff, which provides a spectacular view of Boxley Valley and the rolling Ozark Mountains. I just couldn't believe how good the fall colors were:

It was still pouring down rain, and the camera would quickly fog up everytime we got in or out of the car. But the fall colors were so great that I wanted to stop at every barn that we passed...



From there we decided to head off somewhere a little bit different, a small dirt road that seemed to head straight up the side of the hill. It was Walker Mountain Road, which steeply went up and then ran along the top of the mountain. Occasionally, you could see bits of Boxley Valley below. The fall colors were just brilliant along the road, and we got out for a few more pictures:

We followed the dirt road as it snaked through the woods, and eventually hit paved road again at Low Gap. By then we had spent several hours standing in the rain, and were thoroughly soaked. As much fun as being out in the rain had been, it seemed like it might be a good time to find somewhere warm and dry. So where to go? Back to the Ozark Cafe for a late lunch! They didn't seem to mind serving people covered in mud with dripping wet clothes, luckily.

After a good burger, we had seemed to dry out some. While eating, we overheard some of the old locals there saying that the fall color this year was the best they had seen in years. We couldn't help but agree.

So it was back to the car and the rain. We weren't really sure where to go next, but eventually drove to a few other places along the Buffalo River. This was at the put-in at Hasty:
And yes, we made many "don't be hasty" comments here.

It was starting to get late in the day, so we decided to drive over to the Erbie campground along the Buffalo. This is the barn located along the long dirt road heading to the campground:

We were planning on camping at Erbie that night, and when we headed down to the campground, there wasn't a single other person there. Erbie has a very large campground, and it was a bit odd to not see anyone else there. Which I guess shouldn't be too surprising, since it was a rainy Thursday night. But at Steel Creek the night before, there were two other people in the camping area, a couple from Texas. We managed to bump into them a few times during the course of the day. It was so often that we assumed they thought we were stalking them.

But since we had a plethora of options at Erbie, we settled on this campsite. I think it might be one of the better campsites I've stayed at, with this great tree growing in the center of it. The tree would come in handy, since it provided a bit of shelter while we tried to get a stubborn fire going in the rain...

Before it got dark, I walked along a trail that led from the campground to the Buffalo River. In the dying twilight, I got this shot of an old tree growing on the river bank:


Don said...

Bunch a great shots Brian. I love shots of fall colors and undulating roads. I was up in that area just a few days before you and the color hadn't gotten great yet. I also had clear skies, which didn't help. I guess I missed it for this year. I'm hoping the Ozarks color is peaking this weekend.

Cormackphotos said...

Thanks Don, I wish the fall colors would stick around a bit longer.