Saturday, November 20, 2021

Longpool

It was starting to get late as I was driving home, and there was just enough time for one more stop before it got dark. I hurried over to Longpool, which is a beautiful little spot along Big Piney Creek.

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I made a quick drive through the campground, which was busy with people lighting campfires and making dinner. I stopped to get this quick shot, as it was starting to get dark.

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Steele Creek

After hiking back to the car (and not managing to fall into the river again), I headed to another one of the prettiest places on the Buffalo - Steele Creek. After parking by the campground, I made the short walk to the river. The light rain/mist that had been falling all day had saturated the rocks along the shoreline, subtly bringing out their colors.

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The scenary was enhanced by the fall colors, which were really popping along the river.

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The river here is dominated by Roark Bluff, which is about 200 feet tall and runs for about 3/4 of a mile.

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And one last shot, looking back at the bluffs. From this angle you can see how tall they are in comparison to the trees along the shore.

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Monday, November 15, 2021

Pickle Hole

There is one part of the Buffalo River that I have been wanting to visit for years, so while I was at the River it seemed like the perfect opportunity to check it out. The place is called the Pickle Hole, and apparently it is a big dill...

There are apparently a few different way to reach this spot. I opted to follow the River, which started out easily enough. But the path I followed soon began to run up alongside a steep hillside, which turned into a scrabble along rocks and trying to not slide down the hill into the river. It would be easier, it seemed, to cross the Buffalo and continue hiking on the other side of the River. So I found a somewhat shallow place to cross, careful to not drop the camera in the water (I did stop to take this picture though):

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This way was much easier, although there were a good number of thorns that did were eager to ensnare passing hikers. But the Buffalo River is always scenic, and the fall colors along the water shined.

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And finally I made it to the Pickle Hole, which is a deep pool of emerald water that was decorated with many huge boulders. It was beautiful.

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Lately I've started bringing headphones with me so I can listen to music while I hike. I know this violates all sorts of rules about being in nature and enjoying the wonders of the wild (Thoreau would surely disaprove). But I do it because my brain hates me, and while I'm hiking it likes to play the most obscure songs randomly in my head. Usually they are songs that are annoying or ones that I don't really like. This has gotten worse since we've had kids, which has provided my brain with a jukebox's worth of bad children's songs to play (like Baby Shark or Cocomelon). But it was around here, while trying to get pictures of these rocks, that I accidentally dropped the headphones in the water. Of course they stopped working after their dip in the Buffalo. But no worries, the soundtrack in my head was ready. As if anticipating that I would do this, it had already queued up a random song (it was one that is on a lullaby playlist on my phone that we sometimes use to help get the baby to sleep).

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I was amazed at how pretty this stretch of the River was, and how great the fall colors were.

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While on the edge of the River admiring the view, I stepped on a slick rock and my legs went out from under me. I ended up partially in the water, somehow able to keep the camera from smashing on the rocks or being submerged in the river. My poor tripod banged on the rocks and ended up in the water, luckily it wasn't broken (just soaked). The only damage was a cut on my leg from where I hit a rock. But that, along with hitting a deer a few hours earlier in the car, made it look like it was going to be a fun day out in the woods (and it wasn't even Noon yet).

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Pickle Hole gets its unusual name because this area was once the home of W.P. "Pickle" Edgmon, back in the olden days. It was more recently the home of the Hedges family, who the nearby Hedge's Pouroff is named after. The Hedges bought this land in the 1960s, and lived in a house that once sat on a hill above the river. The Hedges were conservationists, and were among the group that advocated for the Buffalo to be protected as a National River. In the 1990s, their home burned down. It's believed that it was set by people who were opposed to the land along the river being taken by the government (although that was never proven). Now all that remains of their home are two chimneys, and a lonely old barn.  

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The hike back was much less dramatic, I managed to not fall down or drop anything else into the water. I did stop a few times to admire the scenary on the way...

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Friday, November 12, 2021

Boxley Valley

The next morning, I woke up early and headed off towards Boxley Valley to get some more fall color pictures. I drove through the small town of Deer (population 800) and stopped to get a quick shot of this old house.

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And ironically (in the Alanis Morissette way) right after I left Deer, I ran into an actual deer. It was standing in the road, and while I slammed on the brakes it decided to jump right in front of the car. We collided and the deer rolled over the hood, then hit the ground and ran off into the woods. I'm surprised that there wasn't more damage to the car - the headlight is busted, and the front bumper and side are messed up. And while it wasn't all that bad, it still left about $2500 in damages on my poor car.

I safely made it down to Boxley without any other animals attacking my car. Boxley Valley is one of the prettiest places in the state of Arkansas. It is a cornucopia of photogenic places, and I was eager to head back there (even if I had just been there a few weeks before). I stopped at this old barn, and while the photo with the regular camera didn't really turn out, the infrared camera made an interesting exposure. There was a bit of mist and fog hugging the top of Cave Mountain in the background.

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Just down the road was this old barn, which always makes me laugh because the window and open gap make it look like a happy face.

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Further down the road is the old Boxley Mill, which dates back to 1870. It was in operation until the 1940s, and is now preserved by the National Park Service.

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And the old springhouse. I wish I knew more about the history of this little building.

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I stopped at this old house, which doesn't look like it's lived in anymore (I'm guessing because someone wouldn't have left the window open on a cold morning like this).

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The side of the road was lined with cars as people stopped to see the valley's resident herd of elk. I drove by but didn't stop, instead I got this pictures from the window of the car. The damage from the deer encounter resulted in the car making a loud metallic screeeeech everytime the door opens, which would probably scare away the elk (and anger all the photographers and elk-watchers nearby).

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One of the oldest buildings in Boxley is this structure, which was built in the 1850s as a home. It was later converted into a barn.

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This great old barn was built way back in 1915:

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This was a fun little road to drive down...

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The road heads up to the old Beechwoods Church, which was built in 1918.

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The church sits by the Beechwoods Cemetery, which is the oldest cemetery in Boxley Valley. The oldest grave here dates back to 1848

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Also nearby is this old building, which may have been used as an old schoolhouse at one point:

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And one last shot, of yet another old barn. This one was built way back in 1920:

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