Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pinnacle Mountain

It had been several years since I hiked to the top of Pinnacle Mountain, so I decided last week that I needed to make a new trek to the top. But after starting out on the trail, I was quickly reminded why I hadn't done this hike in awhile: it's steep. The trail will quickly remind you of how out of shape you are. Which was a little embarrassing since I was on the "easiest" of the trails to the top.

But I did finally make it to the top of Pinnacle, which provides a good view of the Arkansas River and the surrounding countryside (and also Little Rock, which has eaten up a lot of the rural view with shopping centers and houses).


While sitting at the top, I noticed a helicopter flying around but didn't really think much about it. Well it turns out that there were other people getting shots at Pinnacle that afternoon, and they weren't using a camera. Unbeknownst to me, and the other people hiking, someone had the idea to break into some of the cars in a parking lot along one of the summit trails. The park rangers were apparently waiting nearby and caught them in the act. The three guys in the car then allegedly tried to run over a ranger, who opened fire and hit one of the men. He escaped, and eventually stole a state park maintenance truck. Parts of the park were closed while the state police conducted a manhunt.

But it was quiet and calm at the top of the mountain, and I sat up there until sunset. This is the sun dipping below the low foothills of the Ouachita Mountains that night.


Saturday, August 24, 2013


There were some neat clouds in the sky, which I thought might look neat around sunset. So I grabbed the camera and drove to downtown Little Rock and ended up parking by the state capitol building. I thought the capitol might provide a nice foreground to the clouds, hopefully. So I headed onto the capitol lawn with the camera and tripod and realized I had made a small mistake. There were no memory cards in the camera. Whoops. There were some extra cards in my camera bag, but of course, I had failed to bring that with me as well.

So after a quick trip home to gather up memory cards, I was back at the capitol with enough time to catch dusk.


And one last shot from the capitol, which was hard to get because these flowers did not want to stand still during the long exposure needed to take the picture.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Little Rock Zoo

Visited the Little Rock Zoo a few weeks back, and I tried to take a few pictures.  It was a warm summer day, so many of the animals weren't out, or very active.  Except for the Lorikeets, which were more than happy to get up close and personal to people (especially if you gave them nectar). 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Buffalo River

After leaving Sam's Throne, we decided to visit a nearby landmark that would definitely be worth visiting early on a Saturday morning. That place was, of course, the Ozark Cafe in Jasper. After some pancakes, we headed back out and tried to find something to get a few pictures of. We stopped at a few places, including a waterfall that we hoped might be running (it wasn't).

I ended up driving back over to the Buffalo River. It's one of my favorite places to take pictures, so I like to spend as much time there as possible. I drove through Boxley Valley, and stopped at the old church...


I then drove over to the Steele Creek access along the Buffalo River, and went out to take a few more pictures. I wanted to see how much the river had changed since the last time I was there. In March, I had a pretty memorable visit to this part of the Buffalo, since I proposed to my girlfriend along the riverbank. In the few months since then, there isn't as much water in the river but the view is still just as nice.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Sam's Throne

It has been a strange summer so far here in Arkansas. It's actually been somewhat cool outside (or well, not 100 degrees outside). Which is the opposite of last year, where the temperature pretty much parked itself at 105 for most of the months of June, July, August and September. It has been good camping weather, since it's relatively "cool" outside. Unfortunately I've been a bit busy the past few months and hadn't had time to get out into the woods. But I had a recent Friday night free, and it seemed like a perfect chance to get back up into the Ozarks.

It was going to be a cool and rainy day. The high was only supposed to get into the low 90s. So I left work early and cruised out of Little Rock. It rained on me while I drove on the freeway, but the rain slacked off when I hit Hwy. 7 in Russellville. I drove out to Sam's Throne, a campground in the Ozark National Forest near the town of Mount Judea. It is a great spot, one of my favorite spots in the Ozarks. The view from there is outstanding.

I got to the campground and hurried down the short trail to the bluff that overlooks Sam's Throne. The rains from earlier that day created a lot of fog that drifted and danced through the valley below.


The fog wandered between the hills as if it had a life of its own, growing into clouds that drifted among the trees like a river.


The fog swarmed around and swallowed the bluff I was standing on. For a few minutes the fog had reduced all visibility, the view enveloped by an empty gray. And then just as suddenly and quietly, the fog moved on. The mountains beyond again came back into view, reclaimed from the fog.


I hurried to get as many pictures as I could of the fog, careful to not get too close to the edge of the bluff (it's a long fall if you stumble).


And a shot of the fog drifting around Sam's Throne, which is the name given to this particular mountain. The legend is that the mountain is actually named after someone named Sam. Apparently, back in the 1820's, Sam's sister was kidnapped by Indians. He was not too pleased by this, and went up to the top of the mountain and gave fiery sermons that everyone who lived in the valley below could hear. There's no telling if this story is actually true. Legend also says that Sam buried gold on the throne, but no one has found it (yet).


I was out there while the sun was setting. And while the actual sunset was pretty much hidden behind the clouds, it still managed to light up the fog in the valley below. Suddenly, the fog changed color and became purple.



The sun drifted below the hills, but the fog continued to drift and romp through the hills.



It was incredibly beautiful, watching the fog dart among the hills.



I stayed out there taking pictures until it started to get too dark, and then headed back to the campsite.

I am never a big fan of being awake early on Saturdays. But I woke up before dusk the next morning and dragged myself back down to the overlook. There wasn't as much fog as the night before, just a few wispy clouds drifting across the valley below. This is some fog above a small farm. The overlook is far above the farm, but you could clearly hear the roosters waking up.


And some more of the fog drifting across the valley below Sam's Throne.


And one last shot of the fog drifting through the valley below Sam's Throne...