Mar. 7, 2004

I had never been to Shores Lake,except to park at the trail head of the loop trail, until Saturday morning when Junie and I arrived before dawn to see if we could get some sunrise shots. The lake itself turned out to be your usual Ozark reservoir, an oversized pond formed by diking up a ravine, although in this case on the smallish side as these things go, and on this morning a greenish brown in color owing to mud kicked up and carried in by recent rains. It is, however, plunked down right in the middle of some prime Ozark scenery, including a nice pine-topped ridge line on its east side that figured prominently in the photos I took that morning, a couple of which you see on this page.

As we were walking back to the car afterwards, I was treated to a pretty nice light show as several small birds were having a breakfast of sycamore seeds up in the crown of a couple of sycamores near the water's edge. As they pecked away at the sycamore balls they would send feathery back-lit seeds showering down to the ground, sort of like the snowfall shaved by Edward's scissor hands, bestowing a small grace on these old undeserving eyes.

Late that afternoon Junie and I found ourselves scrambling along a steep and rough hillside, where every step was a struggle to keep from sliding down the hillside, the fallen leaves on the ground acting as a sort of lubricant that made every step an adventure. It had looked easy from Potato Knob road, just a little jaunt pretty much level or slightly downhill all the way over to a bluff that I was hoping would have an unobstructed view all up and down Salt Fork valley and the country beyond. I couldn't see it well enough from the road to see whether the bluff was taller than the trees in front of it, but the potential payoff was so great that I even brought the camera gear with me.

I was thinking as I was taking two steps forward and sliding one step sideways on the side of that mountain that if it's not an old saying, it ought to be, that if God had intended for us to live in the Ozarks he would have made one leg longer than the other. And as we were coming up on the bluff we found ourselves at the edge of a ravine with the bluff on the other side, not more than 150 yards away in a straight line, but with the land going pretty much straight down and then straight up at that point, we had to work our way around. As a final small indignity, small now as I look back on it but not so small at the time, when we came around the other side of the ravine, we were up the hillside from our destination and overshot it by a couple hundred yards, and so had to backtrack to it.

And after all that, of course, the bluff wasn't even close to having a view, as the trees growing in front of it towered over it. Oh well, the view of a just rising full yellow moon greeted us as we climbed back onto the forest road and made our way back to the car.

Next day you can be sure I was grateful to be walking down a good old trail, or in this case, an old jeep road, pretty much flat all the way, as Sophie and I made our way along Hurricane Creek towards Heathcock Hollow to continue our explorations there. It was a sunny and warm day, and a little windy, the daffodils and trout lilies were blooming, and the creek was running higher than a couple weeks ago, high enough that there was no way to make a dry crossing on foot. As it turned out, we got a late start and didn't make it much farther up the hollow than last time, but I did get back to the little pocket canyon I found then. The waterfall there was running better than before, although still lightly, but since this was a few days after a moderate rain at the end of what has been a pretty dry winter, I'm optimistic about what I might find after a robust April or May downpour. We'll see.