Monday, May 31, 2021

Muddy Waters

One activity we started during the pandemic would be to drive downtown and have a family picnic. We would pack up the kids, order takeout from Flying Fish and then find a shady spot on the grounds of the Clinton Library to eat a good meal while being socially distanced from everyone else. Now that things are opening back up, there is usually a good crowd of people in the park and on the bridge. And also, tons of people getting their pictures taken. It never fails, but there's always lots of people getting their senior/graduation/engagement/pregnancy photos taken at the park around sunset. I apologize to all of the other photographers out there who have had to photoshop us out of the background of their pictures.

But after eating our delicious meals from Flying Fish, we burned off the fried foods by taking a walk across the bridge. This night, some interesting clouds were reflected in the high and muddy waters of the river. The river was high, you can see how it had flooded the wooden walkways at the wetlands below.


Monday, May 24, 2021

Annie's Chapel

Along the road between Dover and Hagarville sits Annie's Chapel, a quaint old church that was built in 1886. I wasn't able to find out much about the church besides the year that it was built (and that it was once a Methodist church)


I don't know who Annie was, or if anyone ever knew the answer to the question of Annie are you ok? Are you ok? Are you ok Annie?

Anyways, the door to the church matched the rest of the building with faded and peeling paint.


I invited myself inside and looked around. The internor was graced with a collection of pews, all covered with dust and cobwebs. Next to the altar was this old piano...


The church sits near the delightfully named community of Booger Hollow. One idea of where the name originated is because back in the olden days (after the end of the Civil War), the valley was considered an inhospitable area. The rough road that headed down from the mountains was a good place for bandits and highwaymen, who would attack and rob travellers. Because it was a "booger" of a place, the name Booger Hollow stuck.

Another idea was that the community sat between two cemeteries, and that one should need to bring a friend with them if they were walking around at night. The word Booger here instead is a combination of the words boo and bogus. But however the name was derived, I think we can all agree that it is definitely a strange name to pick. And that perhaps those early settlers should have dug deeper and pulled out a better name for the area.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Maddin Chapel

Along a dirt road near Lake Dardanelle sits the old Maddin Chapel, another old relic that has seemingly been forgotten.


I tried searching for any info about the building, but had no luck. I would love to know how old the building is, and when it was left abandoned.


The door to the church is gone, but the entrance was guarded by a tree that is defiantly growing at the base of the stairs heading inside.


And a view of the church interior, which was filled with wasp nests and the flotsam of windswept leaves and fallen wooden boards.



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

From Rushing With Love

Tucked along a country road near the small town of Dover is the old Rushing Church. Faded and peeling paint adorn the front and sides, and a wooden steeple with broken boards sits atop the church.


I searched for any information about the church and its history but came up empty-handed.


There is a small sign over the door that says "Established 1899," but that I'm not sure if that means when the congregation was established or if it's when the church was built. But one definite way to tell the age of the building is the thick layer of moss and lichen that have grown upon the stone stairs over the years...


Monday, May 17, 2021


From Broadwater Hollow, we decided to take the scenic route and follow a dirt road that cut through the woods towards the Buffalo River. We ended up at Erbie, which was once a small community that sat along both sides of the Buffalo. Not much remains of Erbie now - the historic Parker-Hickman farmstead is on the south side of the river. And on the north side there still stands an old church, house and barn. The church is thought to have been built in 1896, and services were actually held here all the way until the year 2000.


Erbie has a long history. The oldest known settlement along the Buffalo was at the Parker-Hickman farmstead in 1830. The community of Erbie would have a population of about 100 people in 1930. At that time, the town was comprised of about a dozen buildings (which included the church, a post office and a store). One of the buildings that does remain here is this old house, which was built in 1922.


Near the house is this old barn, which was built in 1913.




Our original plan was to cross the Buffalo River on the low-water bridge at Erbie, but the river was too high to cross (I'm no expert, but I assume that when the water is so high that there are actual waves going over the bridge that it isn't safe to cross). So instead we followed the road as it headed roughly up the hills to the east. Along the way, we passed by another old barn and got a few pictures before heading off to Jasper to pick up dinner from the Ozark Cafe....



Friday, May 14, 2021

Broadwater Hollow

After the hike up from Whitaker Creek, Zack and I decided to try to hit a few more waterfalls. We ended up driving over to Broadwater Hollow, which has some neat waterfalls that are reached by a short and easy hike (but the drive down there is on a really rough dirt road). The first waterfall that you see while hiking down into the hollow is Paige Falls, which is only eight feet tall but it empties into a wide pool.


The water was up in the creek after all of the recent rains, and the water looked a little muddy. But the creek was incredibly scenic with lots of neat little photogenic places, like this spot where a huge rock stubbornly sat in the fast moving water.


Further down the creek is Broadwater Hollow Falls, which is 21 feet tall (it looks a lot taller in person). The photos do not do justice of how neat this little area is.


And one last shot from Broadwater Hollow, as the creek flows through a channel that has been carved through the thick rock. A little side waterfall tumbles down the hill and joins in, as the setting sun lights up the trees in the background.


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Compton Double Falls

The thousands of people who hike to Whitaker Point (or Hawksbill Crag) to enjoy the view may not realize that far below them, hidden away beneath the trees, is the spectacularly scenic Whitaker Creek. The stream, which runs through the Upper Buffalo Wilderness of the Ozark National Forest, has to rank as one of the prettiest in the Ozarks. There are several waterfalls along the creek, including the gorgeous Compton Double Falls.

It had just about stopped raining by the time Zack and I arrived at the muddy parking spot for the trailhead. When Tim Ernst published his waterfall guidebook, there was no trail to the falls and you had to take a "medium bushwhack" down to the creek. In the years since, a steady torrent of people have left behind a well-trod trail. It still isn't the easiest of hikes (especially if you've gotten even more out of shape during this era of quarantines and lock-downs like me) and it is pretty steep in places.

And it doesn't take long before you start seeing some waterfalls. The first is Amber Falls, which Tim Ernst named after his daughter. If you were going to choose a waterfall to name after your kid, this is a good one to pick.


The falls are 18 feet tall, and the rocks behind it were coated with a thick carpet of moss.


The tree here looks like it had just recently fallen into the pool by the falls. Hope there weren't any wayward hikers or photographers standing below when it decided to fall.




These two large trees presented a nice little frame for the falls...


And one last shot of Amber Falls....


Several smaller creeks flow into Whitaker Creek, and many of them have their own little waterfalls. We hiked by this unnamed waterfall and stopped for a quick picture.


We hiked along the creek, which was slow-going because there were so many neat little spots to stop and take pictures at.





This pretty little waterfall/cascade area was right above Compton Double Falls (meaning I had to be sure to be careful not to slip and fall into the creek here).



And then the view from the very top of Compton Double Falls, looking down into the pool below.


And then finally the view of Compton Double Falls from the base. The falls are 39 feet tall.


The falls are named after Dr. Neil Compton, the founder of the Ozark Society. He is also credited as being one of the most instrumental people in the effort to prevent two dams being built along the Buffalo River in the 1960s. If it weren't for Dr. Compton, there probably wouldn't be a Buffalo National River.



If you look closely you can see that the falls were actually a Triple Falls thanks to all the rain the night before.


And then the view from behind the falls...


From here, Whitaker Creek continues downstream past massive moss-covered rocks.


Also just downstream is another waterfall, along another creek that flows into Whitaker Creek. The falls are Owl Falls, and the hike to it from Compton Double was a real hoot.


Owl Falls are about 20 feet tall. It's amazing how many different types of waterfalls are along this short section of creek.




By then it was time to start hiking back, so we headed up the hill. It was again slow going since there were more little waterfalls along the way. The trail crossed the small creek just below these falls.


And one last shot, of a smaller unnamed waterfall. This one was about 10-15 feet tall and was also a double waterfall (we joked that it was like the kid-sized version of Compton Double).