Monday, May 20, 2024

Northern Lights

Last week some science-stuff happened with the sun, which allowed the Northern Lights to be seen in places that its never usually seen. Places like....Arkansas. But that night I was deep in the chaos of getting two kids to bed, and somehow managed to miss the best of the light show. But I did hurry to try to get a few pictures while the lights lasted. I ended up at Lake Maumelle, which offered a view of a soft pinkish light mixing in with the stars above the lake.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Pinnacle Mountain

I remember making the drive out to Pinnacle Mountain way back when I was a kid. Back then, it seemed like it took forever to get there. Of course in the years since then, the suburban sprawl of west Little Rock has steadily crept up towards the park. But thankfully the park still feels like a refuge, despite the close proximity of a Wal-Mart supercenter, fast food restaurants and gas stations.

I headed out there on a cool and cloudy day to try to get a few pictures. The Little Maumelle River, which flows near the base of Pinnacle Mountain, was running high after all the recent rains.

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I did the Kingfisher Trail, which is a short and pleasant little hike along the Little Maumelle River.

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The trail runs beneath several massive bald cypress trees. The trees are over 500 years old, and it's amazing that they somehow escaped being chopped down for lumber. The park sign along the trail says that they would have been saplings when Hernando de Soto was exploring this part of the country.

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Across the parking lot from the trail was a picnic area, which sat by this small creek.

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From there I headed over to the old location of the park visitor center (which has since moved to a larger and fancier new building). There is a small lake, which was once a rock quarry. There was a little bit of fog drifting along the trees.

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This was taken from the little boat dock that sits atop the water.

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I stood out there for a few pictures, careful to not drop the camera or fall in. I got one last shot with the infrared camera and then headed back home.

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Monday, May 13, 2024

The Old Mill

Last week, Jonah and I visited the Old Mill in North Little Rock. I actually grew up in NLR, so I've made many trips to the mill over the years. My grandparents used to live a few blocks away, and we would always walk over there when we would visit. It's nice to see that the Old Mill still hasn't changed all that much - it's like an old reliable friend.

Whenever I visit the mill, I can't help but remember one of my teachers in high school. Way back in the olden days of the 20th century, I was a student at North Little Rock High School. There was a school literary magazine, which even had a photography contest. So I submitted a few pictures, including one of the Old Mill. As a true native of Dogtown, it's impossible to resist the lure of the Old Mill when you have a camera.

So my senior year, I actually joined the staff of the literary magazine as one of my electives. I soon learned that the Creative Writing teacher in charge of the literary magazine had some pretty strict policies on what could be accepted into publication. There were certain things that were instantly declined when they were submitted, like lovey-dovey or "dark night of the soul" poems, which did certainly help in keeping out some of the more angsty teenage poetry. But one of the teacher's biggest pet peeves was in photography, specifically Old Mill photos. She was so tired of seeing so many Old Mill pictures that she forbade any Old Mill picture from being published. Over the years, the magazine had received so many Old Mill photos that they even set up massive boards that displayed all of the collected images as a massive collage. So as a new member of the staff, I went over and saw the boards and soon found the Old Mill picture I had submitted from the year before. It was there, along with all the other rejects.

The Old Mill has been attracting photographers since it first opened (in fact my grandfather took pictures of it back in 1934). And with my most sincere apologies to Mrs. Ward, here is one more Old Mill photo to add to the mix:

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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Lurton

On the way home, I went through the small community of Lurton. I always try to go through here to visit this old abandoned building, since there's no telling how much longer it will be with us.

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This was once a hotel, built back in the 1930s. Hwy. 7 used to run through Lurton, and this was a popular spot for travelers.

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It was considered to be quite fancy for its time, and it even provided home-cooked meals. But it closed long ago, and has been left empty and decaying ever since. Part of the walls have caved in, and what is still standing has a pretty precarious lean. It unfortunately looks like it could completely collapse at any moment.

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Just down the road is a small abandoned church.

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It's hard to read now, thanks to the overgrown plants. But the sign above the front door reads "Everyone Welcome."

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Thursday, May 9, 2024

Rock Creek

After surviving the trip to Lichen Falls, we headed to Oark for lunch at the Oark Cafe (not to be confused with the Ozark Cafe in Jasper). After that we decided to take the scenic way back, which meant a dirt road that went deep into the forests of the Ozark Mountains. And since it was still foggy, we made lots of stops along the way.

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We took a slight detour and ended up visiting the aptly-named Rock Creek, which flows into Big Piney Creek. It started raining again as I took this picture of the creek (which really is filled with rocks).

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On our way out we made one last stop at this overlook. Bits of fog clung to the mountains, and Big Piney Creek runs through the valley below.

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