Monday, June 29, 2020

Arkansas Arboretum

The other weekend I took Jonah for a little hike around the Arkansas Arboretum Trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. This is a great trail, especially for a four-year old. The trail is easy, and is just long enough to wear out my little one, who sometimes seems like he has an unlimited supply of energy. The trail is a nice and pleasant hike, and is usually less busy than the other trails at Pinnacle (we only saw one other family out there that day).

At one point, the trail runs by the Little Maumelle River, which was perfectly still with a mirror-like reflection.


The trail then runs up and curves through the woods, with moss growing along the sides of the path.


This is my favorite part of the trail, and I always try to take pictures here (much to the annoyance of Jonah, who would much rather run full-tilt down the trail while I'm trying to take pictures).


My poor kid has grown up with me taking lots of pictures of him, and I think he's already over it. I wanted to get some pictures of him during this hike but he wasn't interested. I finally convinced him to sit still for a few minutes and managed to get a decent shot. Here he is actually holding out his finger saying "just one picture Dada."


Saturday, June 27, 2020

What We Do In The Shadows

One evening we went downtown and had a little picnic by the Clinton Library, and then walked across the bridge. It was getting late in the day, and the setting sun was causing deep shadows of the old bridge to appear in the muddy water of the river.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Triple Falls

Before heading home, we made one last stop at the Buffalo River. I took my car back down the steep hill to Triple Falls, and Jonah was thrilled to see the waterfalls. I feel bad, like a negligent parent, that this was the first time he has been to a waterfall like this in person (but it won’t be the last for sure). This is a cell phone shot my wife took of Jonah and I looking around the base of the falls...


The first few times I went to these falls they were barely flowing (the joke being that they were more like Trickle Falls instead of Triple Falls), so Jonah is lucky that they were flowing well on his first visit. It is a good waterfall to take kids though. Other than the road down the hill being steep (and sometimes rough), the walk to the falls is short and easy. The pool below the falls is usually shallow and seemingly great for little ones to explore. The only downside is that your 4 year old might get in the way of an annoyed nature photographer trying to take pictures of the 48 foot-tall falls.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Buffalo Point

Our cabin wasn't too far away from the Buffalo River, and I was eager to take Jonah there for his first ever visit. If anyone actually reads this blog, you might see that I take quite a few pictures of the river. So I couldn't wait to take him there. But of course, while we were up in the Ozarks a tropical depression passed by, dumping a ton of rain. The river, of course, was flooded with brown and murky water as a result.

We headed down to Buffalo Point anyways, and had a picnic overlooking the river. Then we walked over to the river and let Jonah play around with the rocks along the shore (but not get too close to the water). From there we had a great view of Painted Bluff, which stands about 320 feet above the river. The bluff is actually made out of two different types of rock: the lower 70 foot-tall section is Everton limestone. The upper section, which is mostly hidden behind trees, is sandstone.


Monday, June 22, 2020

On The Border

After taking a few pictures at Hodgson Mill, I got back in the car and headed south back towards our cabin in Arkansas. I wasn't in that big of a hurry, so I stopped at a few interesting spots along the way. One of the stops was this abandoned house in Missouri.


At the state line, there was the usual collection of businesses that usually huddle close to borders (like liquor stores and bars). One of the liquor stores was closed, and left abandoned. The only customers that appear to be going into the store now were weeds and vines.


There as a bar nearby that had this advertisement out front, which maybe isn't the wisest idea during the global Covid pandemic?


I crossed over the border into Arkansas, but made a stop by this old camper sitting along a dirt road.

Which looks like it would be a good setting for any Breaking Bad spin-off set in the Ozarks:

Further down the road was this old home, which doesn't look occupied anymore (by people at least, the cows seem to have taken over the property).


Closer to our cabin was this weathered old barn that had a coat of faded red paint.


This sign was hanging on the side of the barn, which was not very Vegan-friendly.


And one last shot, of an old mailbox that was sitting near the barn...


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Hodgson Water Mill

Supposedly, the Hodgson Water Mill is the most photographed spot in the entire state of Missouri. While that claim probably isn't true (who keeps track of that, and surely Busch Stadium or the Gateway Arch are in more pictures?), you can easily see why it would be. It really is a stunningly beautiful place.


The three-story mill was constructed in 1897, which replaced a mill originally built in 1860s.


The mill is powered by a spring, where about 23 million gallons of water of water pour out every day. It is the 19th largest spring in Missouri.


The original water wheel and most of the machinery are still in place, although it hasn't really been used since the 1970s.



A long red wooden walkway leads to the mill, which amazingly was all underwater in 2017. That Spring, some heavy storms dumped a bunch of rain that resulted in massive floods along the nearby Bryant River. The floodwaters were so high that about half of the building was underwater.


The clear waters of the spring create a little creek, which then flows out towards the Bryant River. There is an old bridge nearby (built 1925) that crosses the creek. So here's one last shot, of the bridge that looks to have been painted red to match the mill.


Thursday, June 18, 2020


The cabin we were staying in wasn't too far away from the small town of Cotter, which is home to the iconic and impressive Cotter Bridge. Constructed in 1930, the concrete rainbow arch bridge stretches across the White River. The bridge was the first location in Arkansas to be deemed a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and it has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The bridge was nearly torn down when the state wanted to build a larger bridge, but luckily locals protested and it was saved (a rare fate, considering the old bridge downriver in Clarendon was recently destroyed despite many wanting it to be preserved).


Tuesday, June 16, 2020


We recently decided to book a cabin up in the Ozark Mountains for a few days, which will probably be the last trip we can take with just Jonah before the new baby arrives in August. The cabin was in an isolated location, which meant that we could go and not be around too many other people (a plus since Covid cases are skyrocketing in Arkansas now). Another plus is that the cabin was dog-friendly, so we could bring our pups along for the trip. So we packed up the car, and squeezed in two dogs and three people (well technically four, I guess).

The cabin was located outside of the small town of Pyatt (in Marion County), along a bumpy dirt road. Near the cabin was an old barn, which had this bright purple flower growing next to it. I think the flower is a Bristle Thistle, which sounds like something that would be growing in a Dr. Suess book.


That wasn't the only thing growing, there were a few trees sprouting up next to the weathered wooden beams of the barn.


About 250 people live in the town of Pyatt, which sits near Crooked Creek. There is a short line of old buildings in the town, including this one that had partially collapsed. When we drove by, a recliner was left sitting by a boarded up window.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Along The Buffalo

Perched on a bluff about 250 feet above the Buffalo River sits this rugged and centuries-old Ashe's Juniper tree. The tree managed to score a great spot along the river, with a commanding view of the river rolling by below.


Ashe's Juniper is one of two juniper trees that are native to the state, but it doesn't have that wide of a range. It grows primarily along the dry and steep slopes of limestone-dolomite glades in the Ozark Plateau. This particular tree has somehow found a spot to grow on top of the thick rock.


And the view from the bluff, looking down on the calm river.

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Besides the juniper trees, another interesting plant growing on the bluff was this cactus. I tried to get the camera in the right spot and held the camera very still to ensure that the focus was

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And one last shot from the bluff, looking through a gap in the rock towards the river.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020


After the hike along Leatherwood Creek, I headed back and then walked up the hill to visit the Villines Farmstead. Now preserved by the National Park Service, the farmstead is home to a collection of old buildings that were occupied between the 1850s and the 1940s. The oldest building is the two-pen log house, which was probably built in 1854. This is the front door of the house, which was open but there are signs saying the the buildings are fragile and that you can't go inside.


Peeking in another door you see an old (and uncomfortable looking) mattress, sitting in a room. Above the mattress you cans see bits of wallpaper and some old newspaper, which was used as insulation back in the olden days.



I headed to the back of the house, and looked through the back door. This was an addition to the house, made of cedar logs, that was constructed sometime after the 1880s. There is a considerable lean to the building here, which is probably why the Park Service doesn't want people going inside anymore.


Further down the hill is the farmstead's old barn, which also had a sign up preventing anyone from accessing. The barn door was open, and the old wood was weathered and faded.


There was a lot of interesting details along the exterior of the barn, including this aged piece of wall with a rusted bit of metal siding.


Along the front of the barn is this ring that was nailed into one of the logs. I'm assuming it was used to help corral animals back in the olden days.


From there I started to head home, but made one last stop at one of my favorite old barns in Boxley. The Edgmon barn was built sometime in the 1920s and sits at the edge of the valley.


A field nearby had a few good displays of wildflowers, so I tried to get a picture before driving up the mountain towards home.