Monday, December 4, 2023

Foggy Night At The Big Dam Bridge

It was another foggy night, so after getting the kids to bed I grabbed the camera gear and headed out to the Big Dam Bridge. This is the view of the bridge, and its purple lights, reflected in a rain puddle.


From there I hurried over and started walking across the bridge, which runs for 4,226 across the Arkansas River. But with the thick fog, it was hard to see all the way across the river.



And one last shot from the bridge. After this the fog just started to fade away, almost like magic.


Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Old Mill

Traffic was starting to back up on I-40 on our drive back home from Dagmar, so we detoured into North Little Rock and made a quick visit to The Old Mill. I'm a native of Dogtown and have made many trips here over the years. My grandparents actually lived in Lakewood, just a few blocks from the Mill, and we used to walk over there regularly.

But of all the times I've been there, I think this was one of the few times when there weren't any other people there. I guess it helped that it was pouring down rain while we were there.


Thursday, November 30, 2023


To paraphrase Neil Gaiman: Many phenomena - wars, plagues, sudden audits - have been advanced as evidence for the hidden hand of Satan in the affairs of Man, but whenever students of demonology get together the stretch of I-40 between Little Rock and Memphis is generally agreed to be among the top contenders for exhibit A.

Especially in the rain.

The trucks were either going  30 or 90 mph, and were kicking up so much spray it was like driving through clouds. But despite some tense moments on the freeway, we finally made it to our destination - the Dagmar Wildlife Management Area near Brinkley. It's a neat spot, and one that not very many people visit. There is a road that follows a bayou, which then ends at Hickson Lake. The rainy weather seemed to saturate the fall colors on the trees.




As we were leaving, I made a quick stop to get a shot of the dirt road heading through some trees. As I stood in the rain, a few deer walked across the road. One stopped and stood still long enough for a picture, like it was posing.


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Around Keo

After leaving the Plum Bayou Mounds, we stopped by this small oxbow lake near the town of Keo. The lake was once a channel of the Arkansas River, and is now filled with thousands of cypress and tupelo trees.


The fall colors here were close to peak, and seemed too look more saturated thanks to the rain that started falling.


A little but further down the road, I pulled over in the rain and hurried to get a shot of this abandoned church:


We headed north towards another abandoned church, which sits along a lonely stretch of gravel road. It looks like someone has been using the church as a place to dump some of their old furniture.


On top of the church there was one of those roof turbines, those metal spinning things that look like a chefs hat. The door of the church was open, so I took a quick peek inside. While I was there, the turbine started to spin. In doing so it let out a metallic screech, which sounded like a ghost or banshee screaming. Needless to say, it was a little bit creepy and unnerving. Especially if you don't know what the sound is until you rush out of the church in a hurry....

The inside of the church was trashed. But the old piano still remained, sitting next to the broken windows along the wall.



A marker on the side of the church said it was the New Zion Chapel Baptist Church, and that it was "rebuilt" August 4, 1962. Wonder how long it's been abandoned?


The roof turbine let out another wail as I took one last picture with the infrared camera:


Saturday, November 25, 2023

Plum Bayou Mounds

Rising above the otherwise flat lands of the Arkansas Delta are the Plum Bayou Mounds, which were constructed by Native Americans well over a thousand years ago. Originally there were 18 mounds, which were built between the years 650 and 1150. They were built by the people of the Plum Bayou culture, and were used for religious and ceremonial purposes.

The Plum Bayou people built mounds in other areas, but the ones contained in what is now the Plum Bayou Mounds Archeological State Park were the largest. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, "Eighteen mounds were arranged around two rectangular open spaces that were used for ceremonies. Today, one mound is forty-nine feet high, another is thirty-nine feet high, while a third is thirteen and one-half feet high; the original heights are unknown. All others are less than four feet high. Only one mound has been identified as a burial mound. Some were used as platforms for ceremonies, while others had residences of religious leaders on them. Excavations in five mounds have uncovered evidence that they were originally low flat-topped platforms constructed with soil. Several mounds were positioned to line up with the sun on the horizon at sunrise and sunset on the equinoxes and solstices. The position of the sun on the solstices established times that were important in the annual cycle of activities, both for farming and for rituals. A standardized unit of measurement, 155.8 feet, was also important in the placement of mounds, so that the site layout was planned."

It's not known why the site was abandoned after the 12th century. A few hundred years later, the mounds would be discovered and they were studied. But they weren't preserved, the lands were privately owned and farmed. Many of the mounds were plowed under and destroyed. The state of Arkansas bought the land in 1975, and it was later named a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

This is a view of Mound A, which is the largest in the park (and the largest prehistoric Native American mound in the state). It stands at 49 feet tall, and it's believed that a building used to sit on top of the mound that served as either a place to live or for conducting ceremonies.