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twin falls, spring 2002

Well, how can you pretend to be a nature photographer and live in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and not have a picture of the famous Twin Falls of Devil's Fork?

It isn't that I haven't tried to photograph the thing over the years. I have, but up to now the results have been less than successful. This one will do, I guess, at least until I can take a better one.

The first time I tried to shoot the falls was one of those days that is much more pleasant to look back on than it was to be there. I remember we got started late because it was the second hike we took that day, the first being a hike from the campgrounds up Richland Creek almost to the falls, but since I didn't think I would have much luck getting Connor to ford the creek, and I wasn't eager to try to carry him and my photo gear across, I decided we would just go back and come in to the falls from the upstream side. I know, I know, it sounds crazy now, but you had to be there.

Well, we made it to the trailhead at Iceledo Gap and I thought maybe we had just enough time left for the round trip; so off we went and we made good time for awhile. Unfortunately, this was one of those times Connor decided to take off on a scent and leave me wondering if I'd ever see him again as he had a fine and fancy ramble through the woods. He did finally come back after 15 minutes or so, and off we went again, eventually coming to the part of the route where you leave the trail and head off down one heck of a hill, which was bad enough going down because the going was steep and the footing was treacherous, but was a heartbreaker coming back out later.

So we scrambled down to the creek bed, Connor much more decorously and gracefully than I was able to manage, and in the course of making our way downstream, I stumbled at one point and managed to fling my glasses onto the bedrock and break one of the lenses. And when we finally got to the falls we found that they were barely running. Which didn't matter much because it was kind of hard to maneuver around up on top of that bluff anyway with just one good eye. So we just turned around and left. Which as it happened was a good idea anyhow because we were running out of daylight fast, and I generally don't care to try to make my way on an unfamiliar trail in the dark. Did I mention that I hadn't brought a flashlight? Anyway, Connor was a great help on the way back because I wasn't seeing so well and the trail got kind of tricky in spots, but I was able to count on him to find the right way every time.

That wasn't the last time Connor was to take off on me in the middle of a hike, but as it turned out he was destined to die at home among friends. Although his impromptu excursions always scared me to death, I expect he was never worried at all on one of his little escapades since no doubt he knew exactly where I was at all times because he could hear me blowing my lungs out calling him, and he always came trotting back when he was good and ready.