Thursday, May 26, 2022

Paradise Falls

Paradise Falls definitely lives up to its name, since it is one of the prettiest waterfalls in the Ozarks. The falls sit within the Upper Buffalo Wilderness of the Ozark National Forest and can be reached by a difficult 2.5 mile hike/bushwhack. Zack and I headed out there early in the morning, and followed the trail as it dropped downhill and then followed the creek. There were several nice little waterfalls and cascades along the way.




It had poured rain the night before, so we were lucky that there was a nice amount of water in the creek.




And soon enough you reach Paradise Falls, which tumbles 32 feet into a deep turqouise pool. The lush forest around the falls really does make it seem like a tropical paradise.




We stayed there for awhile, taking pictures and enjoying the view (and putting off the hike back to the car).


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Buffalo

A few weeks back I drove up Hwy. 7 and met up with Zack Andrews, a great friend and a great photographer. We drove around the Ozarks, searching for some interesting things to photograph. We went into the woods and found this old abandoned home, which still had some furniture sitting out on the collapsing front porch.


I peeked inside, which probably wasn't the wisest choice since the floor let out a startling creak when I stepped on the rotten wooden boards. I hurried to get this picture of an old sofa before heading back out to safer ground.


We drove on and crossed the Little Buffalo River and then went to a small overlook that provided this view. The Little Buffalo River runs on the opposide side of this field, just behind the line of trees.


I had the infrared camera with me so I got a few shots:



A bit later we stopped by this field, which had this lone tree standing tall amongst the pasture grasses.


From there we headed down into the amazingly scenic and historic Boxley Valley, which easily ranks as one of the prettiest places in the state of Arkansas. We stopped by this old barn, which I know I've shot tons of pictures of already but I think it's my favorite old barn in the Ozarks.




The barn was built in the 1920s and sits next to a spring that people still use as a source of drinking water.


We got back in the car and passed by the historic Boxley Baptist Church, which was built in 1899. Late evening light was streaming through the valley and illuminating the mountains behind the church.


We did walk over to the Buffalo River, which was showing off some deep turquoise waters. The bluish tint in the water is from dissolved limestone.


The next day, after some hiking we were driving around and visited a spot along the river called The Blue Hole. There was a little overlook, so I got this picture with the infrared camera.


And then one last shot from along the Buffalo River, as the sun lit up the trees along the bluffs. While we were there, a few people in kayaks drifted by.


Thursday, May 19, 2022


Just up the road from Booger Hollow is the small community of Lurton. The town sits in the rolling Ozark Mountains, and dates back to the late 1800s. There are a small collection of old abandoned buildings here, including the ruins of an old hotel that was built in the 1930s. The two-story hotel was considered to be quite fancy for the time, and even provided home-cooked meals. And for many years it was a popular spot for travelers making their way up Hwy. 7. But the hotel would close, and for awhile the building was a private home. It is empty and abandoned now.



The building looks to be in pretty rough shape, and has partially collapsed. There's no telling how much longer it will be standing.


Nearby was this old church, which was also left empty and abandoned.



The sign above the door, which is barely visible through the overgrown brush and vines states: "Lurton Community Church - Everyone Welcome."


Monday, May 16, 2022

Booger Hollow

The ruins of the Booger Hollow Trading Post sit amongst the rolling Ozark Mountains. The wackily-named store opened back in 1961 and served tourists driving up Hwy. 7 between Russellville and Jasper. For several decades it was a popular spot. The store sold all sorts of Ozark hillbilly themed souvenirs and tchotchkes like the "hillbilly weather vane," which was a rope attached to a wooden sign that said if the rope was wet, it was raining. If the rope was moving, it was windy. If the rope was white, it was snowing. If the rope was gone, it was tornader. Or there was the "Hillbilly Chicken Dinner," which was a wooden box with a piece of corn inside (for the chicken to eat).


Booger Hollow was one of those places that would have fit right in along Route 66. Motorists driving along Hwy. 7 were treated to sign after sign promoting Booger Hollow and counting down the miles to the store. And when you arrived, there was a large sign proclaiming "Booger Hollow Arkansas - Population 7 Countin' One Coon Dog." At one point, Booger Hollow also had a restaurant, which served the "boogerburger" and the "boogerdog."

The Booger Hollow Trading Post operated until 2004, when the owner sold the property. But for some reason, the new owners never reopened the store, and the buildings have been left empty and abandoned ever since. Time has not been kind to the buildings since then. The old two-story outhouse (where the upstairs was always closed "until we git the plummin' figgered out") has completely collapsed into a pile of rubble. The remaining buildings are fenced off and sit amongst weeds, silently watching the tourist traffic on Hwy. 7 pass them by.


For anyone wondering, the name Booger Hollow is actually based on the location of an actual community nearby. I've seen two explanations for the name - the first being that the valley had two cemeteries on each end that were haunted. So anyone passing through would need to be careful of any bogeyman, or boogermen. The other explanation was that after the Civil War, the rough road through the valley was a hospitable place for robbers and bandits. Which made this a "booger" of a place to travel through. Either way, it was an interesting name for people to have picked. Perhaps they should have dug deeper to find something better instead.


Wednesday, May 11, 2022


The old Rushing church sits along a quiet country road, in the area where the Ozark Mountains meet the Arkansas River Valley. A faded sign above the door states that it was established in 1899, but I'm not sure if that is referring to the congregation or the church building itself. The weathered and peeling paint do suggest that the building has been around for quite awhile. Someone still mows the grass around the church, but it doesn't seem like there have been any services here for quite some time.


Monday, May 9, 2022

Little Rock From Big Rock

One of the best places to see the Little Rock skyline is from Fort Roots, which sits comfortably atop the Big Rock across the river. Big Rock was originally given the name "Le Rocher Français" by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe exactly 300 years ago. On April 9, 1722, Le Harpe travelled up the Arkansas River and spotted the 200 foot-tall bluff along the north-side of the Arkansas River (along with the smaller bluff downriver that became known as the "little rock"). The French explorers had been told by Native American tribes that there was a large green rock along the river. Something must have been lost in translation, because the French thought this meant there was a large emerald there. Instead, they found a tree-covered hill. In honor of this, a park on the hill is called Emerald Park.

In the 1890s, the federal government acquired the land on the Big Rock and built a military installation, which became Fort Roots. Many of the fort's buildings that were built in the 1890s still stand, and several buildings along the old parade ground are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1920s, the fort was transferred to the Veterans Administration, and became a home of a veteran's hospital. The land is still used to care for veterans, and is the site of the VA Medical Center.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Woodruff House

The Woodruff House was built in 1853 for William Woodruff, the publisher of the Arkansas Gazette. And according to this incredibly interesting blog post, it's also one of the oldest buildings in Little Rock.


During the Civil War, the home was occupied by Union troops and also used as a field hospital. Over the years, the house would also serve as a women's boarding home, and then be converted into apartments. The house just barely survived a 1999 tornado that took off much of the roof and broke every single window in the building. In 2005 a minor fire broke out in one of the apartments, and the building was declared uninhabitable. The Quapaw Quarter Association purchased the home in 2014, and stabilized the structure to prevent any further damage. It's currently listed for sale for $299,000.


Monday, May 2, 2022

Little Rock Nat'l Cemetery

Located just outside of downtown is the Little Rock National Cemetery. It was established back in 1866, as a centralized resting place for Union soldiers who had been previously buried across the state during the Civil War. Some of the very first burials were reinterments of soldiers who had been buried in places like Pine Bluff, DeVall’s Bluff, Lewisburg, Princeton, and Marks' Mill. Later on, the cemetery was expanded to included the graves of Confederate soldiers. Now the cemetery contains the graves of over 25,000 people.


The first National Cemeteries were established after the Civil War, and now there are 172 National Cemeteries scattered across the country. There are three in Arkansas, the others being in Fort Smith and Fayetteville. The Little Rock cemetery is full, with verterans now being buried at a new cemetery in North Little Rock. The last burial to be held at the Little Rock National Cemetery was of an active-duty soldier who was killed at the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks.