After moving into the new house, I decided to take a quick break from carrying and unloading boxes and try to find some free-time to take a few pictures. The weather had been predicted to be rainy all weekend, which isn’t good for moving but great for pictures. But instead of dumping inches of rain, it was mostly sunny all weekend. I headed up to the hills anyways, as Spring was beginning to settle in over the Ozarks.
As I started heading north from Russellville, a strange greenish haze was floating over the hills. Was it some sort of fog that was weirdly reflecting the sun? Nope, it was pollen. Clouds and clouds of pollen. The trees were exploding with pollen, which was drifting around like smoke.
I met my Aunt in Boxley Valley, and we then set out to take a few pictures. Boxley Valley is one of the prettiest spots along the Buffalo River, with numerous old barns and churches located right along the river. Most of the buildings are historic and date back to the 1800s. This is the old Beechwoods Church, which was built in 1918. The church and cemetery occupy a small field, overlooking the distant fields and forests of the valley.
Boxley Valley is filled with several old homes that once belonged to the original settlers of this area. The old Villines cabin, located at the far end of the valley, sits above the river. The cabin was probably built sometime in the 1850s and is part of a homestead that also has a corn-crib, a barn, a chicken coop and an outhouse. The inside of the cabin still contains a few old pieces of furniture from its last inhabitants.
There is still some sheets of newspaper on the wall, which was used as insulation back in the olden days. The doors to the cabin were open, but a few posted signs were there warning against entry. So this was taken with the camera looking through the doorway.
The inside is definitely leaning to one side, which may be why the Park Service doesn't want anyone going inside.
And some of the collection of bottles and containers sitting on the back porch, which may have been sitting here rusting for the past few decades.
Just down the road is this old barn, built in 1915. Sometimes you can see elk here, they will occasionally hang out in the field behind the barn.
Perhaps the centerpiece of the valley is the old Boxley Baptist Church. The church was built in 1899, and is still used as a community center.
Boxley Valley probably has the densest collection of old buildings in the state. This old barn was built sometime around 1920.
Some storm clouds were beginning to move through, and would occasionally cast the hills in shadow. Here the sun poked through, shining onto this old barn and Cave Mountain in the background. Cave Mountain saw a few Civil War skirmishes, with Union troops attacking a small Confederate operation that was mining bat guano from Cave Mountain's namesake cave.
And one last stop, at an old barn that sits near the Mill pond. I didn't notice this until tonight, but in this picture you can see on of the valley's newest residents. To the right of the old barn is one of the trumpeter swans that was introduced here a few years ago.
After that we headed over to hike the trail into Lost Valley, as storm clouds ominously gathered in the distance....