Apr. 25, 2004

Sunday morning we were hurrying down Winfrey Valley Road trying to get to White Rock Mountain before sunrise, and faced with the choice of staying high but roundabout along Bidville Road or going low and a little less roundabout along Hurricane Creek Road, I decided to stay high because of all the rain we had been having, and because Hurricane Creek Road is kind of chewed up in places because of a lot of recent logging activity. Either way, though, the first rule of Arkansas roads applied: if the road straightens out for a bit, never fear, it was only an accident, and it'll start winding around again soon enough.

As we pulled over on the road along the spine of White Rock Mountain, we were met with a noisy and persistent introduction from a denizen of the woods: Bob White, Bob White, Bob White. And a fine good morning to you, too, Mr. White. I'm Randy and this is Junie Moon. But no sooner than I had got out of the car and started moving around a little that I was suddenly overtaken by the call of a different nature, and we had to quickly load back up and drive on down to the outhouse at the far end of the mountaintop.

Even so, I managed to get back and hurry down the trail along the east bluffs in time to get set up just as the sun squeezed over the far hilltops, giving me a chance to burn a few frames on sunrise. As I was finishing up with that and loading up to move over to the southwest lookout, something happened that I haven't seen in a while up on that mountain: the wind stopped blowing! In fact, it died down enough for me to photograph trees along the bluff line, and so I did, but that put me a little too late getting on over to the other side of the mountain to do what I had in mind there.

The other big thing I had wanted to accomplish that day was to get back down to Falling Rock Hollow to take another crack at shooting the falls there, but the forecast for a partly cloudy day was giving way to a reality of mostly sunny skies, which meant that to get good light we would have needed to wait around for six or seven hours for the hollow to recede into shadow. We went home instead. Maybe we'll have a shot at it this coming weekend.

Saturday, the creek we hiked up was higher than I've ever seen it, and on our out-bound hike Junie and I, rather than following our usual practice of crossing where we needed to in order to stay on the easiest terrain, attempted only one very careful crossing about a half mile on, where the water, though running fast, seemed not to be as deep. Even so, Junie had to swim for it in some very fast water, and seemed very proud of herself after she made it across as she dashed and pranced to and fro. I was proud of her, too, and gave her a cookie for a job well done.

I wasn't planning to go as far up the creek as usual because I had a notion to get to another place later on that day, but there was this spot we came to where water was seeping down from the hillside onto the stone bank of the creek, and I started taking some photos there, and the next thing I knew I looked up and Junie was snoozing away on the hillside above me and the light was starting to wane and it was getting close to sundown.

The creek was perceptibly down by then, and we crossed it fairly routinely on the hike out. Where the creek joined the river it was obvious the water level had dropped a good five or ten feet in the hours we had been up the creek, and though water was still running over the bridge, at least now you could tell where the bridge was.

By the way, if the photo above looks somehow familiar, it may be because I've presented a photo of the same place in this journal before, back on Dec. 21, only then it was snow covered and the creek was down enough that I could stand in the creek bed. And this is the same spot taken in late summer or early fall and facing downstream instead of upstream.

On the drive over that morning we had passed fields where the White had escaped its banks and meadows where the Buffalo had opened branches.

At one point as we neared Huntsville, I saw people along a swollen stream and a large number of cars parked at a church, among them emergency and police vehicles, which could only mean that something terrible had happened. Later I learned that a mother and her two children had been swept away by the flood as they attempted to drive across a bridge. The two children, a little boy and a little girl, had not survived.