Feb. 15, 2004

There's no better way to spend Valentine's Day than taking your best girl to do what she loves most. So Saturday, Sophie and I went out for an afternoon of dinner and dancing along Jack Creek and up Bear Hollow, no reservations required. Ok, so there wasn't much dinner involved, a tin of vienna sausages for Sophie, a peanut pattie for me, but the forest was music to our ears and we danced up and down those old hills, Sophie much better than I since she's much younger and has four legs to dance with. But I managed to dance at the pace I have left.

And we even had a floor show. As I sat with my back up against a tree far up in the hollow and munched on my pattie, close by a little white-breasted bird climbed up a tree from ground level to high overhead, then dropped straight down before veering just above ground level to a neighboring tree and repeating the process. Baryshnikov himself could do no better.

We found a couple of 6-10 foot waterfalls as we explored the hollow, one of them a double-decker. I'll certainly want to come back in the spring to see what they look like when they're surrounded by green and flowing well. But farther on up the hollow it split in two and we followed the left fork, and we came upon one of the more unusual waterfalls I've ever seen. It's not a tall one, certainly, just six or eight feet, but it's located where the creek runs in a narrow slot between a bluff and a house-sized boulder, and almost directly above the falls there is a smaller boulder jammed between the large boulder and the bluff, forming a land bridge across the creek. And what's more, there is a good-sized tree growing in this crevasse as well, its roots hugging the smaller boulder and descending along-side the falls. I'm not sure there's a good way to photograph this strange little area, but you can be sure I'll be back with a camera to give it a try.

Sunday morning I needed to be out the door by four to make it down to the snowfall in the Ouachitas by dawn, and I actually woke up about three, but gave in when the bed demanded that I stay just a little bit longer. Consequently, I didn't get up until about four and didn't get out the door until five. This meant that during the best light of the day I was still driving down Highway 71 somewhere south of Waldron. Ah well, it was a beautiful drive.

The plan was to start out by making our way along the Talimena Scenic Byway, and that's what we did, but when the day turned out to be bright and sunny instead of the forecast mostly cloudy, it meant that in short order the light wasn't much good for photography and would only get worse, and the snow was quickly melting anyway. So we got what we could along the byway and called it a day and went home.

The photo above is from that morning along the byway, and the one below is from last week's journey under the ice. I hope you enjoy.