Daniel at Pam's Grotto

Daniel at Pam's Grotto
Daniel at Pam's Grotto

Friday, August 6, 2010

5-21 Brown Creek Cascade, Forked Mountain Falls and Twist Cascade

I left work on a Friday and went to pick up Daniel.  We headed out Hwy 10 west of Little Rock.  There were a few waterfalls out in the Ouachita Mountains that I wanted to explore.

Brown Creek Cascade
This is Brown Creek Cascade.  It was pretty easy to get to, about 10 minutes on foot.  Unfortunately there were a bunch of trees down across the top.  This place is pretty close to Flatside Pinnacle. (0.8 sec, f-22, ISO800)

We headed next to Forked Mountain Falls.  It was almost a mile of walking up and down along an old Forest Service road, parallel to the stream, but pretty easy, although we had a hard time finding it because we didn't use a GPS. The stream was pretty loud from where we were, which makes me want to go back to see what is down there. We did see a snake on the road, but I don't think he liked us.

Forked Mountain Falls
This waterfall lies in the shadow of Forked Mountain. (Hence, the name.  Duh.)  It was about 7:20 when I shot this, with the setting sun behind us. (1.6 sec, f-22, -.67, ISO100)

Since it was so late, I couldn't decide if we should try for Twist Cascade.  It is almost another mile past Forked Mountain Falls, in a different watershed.  Daniel really wanted to go for it, so we did. We took our shoes off and crossed the creek on top of  Forked Mountain Falls. There wasn't much of a  trail so it was a medium bushwhack, a little tough for a 6 year old.  Fortunately someone had left flagging tape in the trees that helped guide us. 

I was breaking trail for Daniel, mostly through cobwebs and briers. The Guidebook called for a creek crossing, but I didn't want to stop to take our shoes off again, so we followed the creek for a while without crossing.  It seemed there was a reason the guidebook didn't tell us to go that way.  It was pretty rough.  Eventually we got to a spot where we could cross without getting our feet wet.  (Well, mine anyway since Daniel just plowed right across.)  We had to cross the creek again before we got to the cascade. 

The trail was a little easier at this point, but still pretty grown up.  We finally found the cascade, but had to scramble down the hillside to get in position to set up my tripod.  There was a rock outcropping that I found that fit my purposes nicely.  By this time, it was almost 8:30.  We were still in the shadow of Forked Mountain, the sun had already gone down and we were losing twilight fast. 

I only had time to shoot 7 images.  They were all essentially the same, just bracketed exposures.

Twist Cascade
Twist Cascade.  Daniel didn't really see a twist in this one.  From my vantage point on the rock, I had to zoom all the way out just to get everything to fit on the sensor.  This has to be the best light I have ever shot in. (25 sec, f-22, +.67, ISO100)

After I was done shooting, we scrambled to the top of the hill.  I had to stop and pack my stuff in my backpack and pull out my headlamp, which was our only light source for the trip back.  I wanted Daniel to get a little bit of a head start while I packed up, since he couldn't keep the pace that I wanted, but he was reluctant to leave my side.  We started back, and within 10 minutes it was totally dark.

When we got to the first stream crossing, we both just walked right across.  Wet shoes weren't going to slow us down a bit.  This time, we followed the guidebook all the way.  By the time we made it across the second creek crossing, we were holding hands.  I don't know who was more comforted by that, me or Daniel.  Daniel was pretty nervous, and I was too, but he didn't get scared.  At one point he told me to think about the number of calories we were burning! 

By the time we got back to Forked Mountain Falls, I knew we were on the home stretch.  We waded across the waist deep water (at least it was waist deep on Daniel) and took off.  We slowed down a bit when we neared the spot that we saw the snake, but he was off playing football or something. 

As we neared the truck, we were in a stand of young growth pine.  We could see where the truck was, but I saw the headlights of a vehicle sitting there.  That really made me nervous, so I told Daniel to stop and be quiet.  We were out in the middle of nowhere on a Friday night.  I really didn't want to come walking out of the woods into a situation where I didn't know what was going on and couldn't see who I was dealing with.  We waited for about 5 minutes before these interlopers turned around and drove off.  We walked out of the woods at about 9:20.  That hour long hike seemed like it took days.

As we got settled into our seats, I turned around and gave Daniel a big high five.  He did so well!  He was so tired, he was asleep in minutes.  What a fun and challenging time we had!  This was one of those trips that you don't tell momma all the details.  ;)

5-16 High Bank Twins

High Bank Twins is right across the road from the High Bank put in on the Mulberry.  I have floated the Mulberry quite a few times and never knew this gem was so close.

After the amount of rain that this area received, I would have thought that High Bank Twins would have been running good.  Evidently the watershed above here didn't get much rain.  It is interesting how much difference just a few miles makes.

High Bank Twins
High Bank Twins is one of those tall and wide waterfalls that you have to be pretty close to to shoot.  With the limitations of my wide angle zoom lens, I found it necessary to stitch several frames together. (4 sec, f-22, ISO100)

High Bank Twins
Oh, how I wish I had a really wide angle lens such as the  Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs (2 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Small Waterfall at High Bank Twins
This is another little watershed off to the side of High Bank Twins. The sun was playing havoc over here. (10 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Single Daisy
The road was lined with daisy's.  It is always fun to shoot a few flower pictures. (1/50 sec, f-5.6, ISO800)

Well, we were done with another day of waterfall hunting.  We headed on over to Oark, then down to Clarksville for the trip home.  The drive that way is very pretty.  The boys, however, fell asleep just after we left Oark.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

5-16 Turner Bend Falls

After we left Pig Trail Falls, we headed over to the little General Store at Turner Bend, which is on the Mulberry River. There is a little waterfall right next to the store.  This may be the second easiest waterfall to get to. When we got there, it was still mostly cloudy but the sun started peeking out after a little while.

Turner Bend Falls
We were glad to see this waterfall with some good water. (5 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
It makes a nice curtain of water. (5 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
I loved this red rock sitting in the middle of the rain. (1 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
This is when the sun started shining.  Normally the sun makes shooting difficult, but in this instance the rays were only hitting the falling water drops which gave a nice effect. (2 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
I cropped the above picture to focus on the stair steps of moss covered rock. (2 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
I set my camera for a faster shutter speed to isolate the path of more water drops. (1/6 sec, f-5, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
This one is cropped from above to fill the frame more with streaks of water. (1/6 sec, f-5, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
For just a few seconds there were some tight sunbeams hitting the dancing water. (1/20 sec, f-4.5, ISO100)

Turner Bend Falls
While I was writing this post, I decided to crop the above image and boost the brightness and contrast in the water drops.  I wanted to emphasize the play of light and water. (1/20 sec, f-4.5, ISO100)

Daniel at Turner Bend Falls
Daniel loves getting his picture taken. (1/6 sec, f-4.5, ISO100)

Daniel and Grant at Turner Bend Falls
Grant loves to look for rocks to throw. (1/30 sec, f-4, ISO200)

This is another waterfall that is easy to get to and very kid friendly.  Next we headed up the Mulberry River to find High Bank Twins.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

5-16 Pig Trail Falls

We went to Fort Smith this weekend to see Gramms and Bobbob.  There was some rain north of I-40 so we decided to run up the Pig Trail (Hwy 23) to see Pig Trail Falls.  I don't think there is a waterfall in the state that is easier to get to.  There wasn't a lot of water in the falls, but enough to take good pictures.  It was pretty cloudy at this point so I had good light for photography.

Pig Trail Falls
From this spot I was standing about 15 feet from the highway. (13 sec, f-22, ISO800)

Pig Trail Falls

This waterfall has a nice shelf to spread it out, and a little trail that goes behind the falls. (30 sec, f-22, ISO200)

Pig Trail Falls
Always on the lookout for interesting subjects where I am shooting, I saw these. Someone told me these were called "False Turkey Tail Fans". (1/13 sec, f-5.6, ISO800)

Pig Trail Falls
This tree with these translucent fungi was leaning against the bluff.  This is one of those shots that you know will be good if you can capture it in your camera the way you see it.  I really had fun taking it. (30 sec, f-22, ISO100)

Pig Trail Falls
I like the way I was able to frame the falls with the trees. (15 sec, f-22, ISO200)

Jessica and Grant were sitting in the van watching Daniel and I clamber around this place.  I shot everything I could see, and after 30 minutes, we were ready to move on up the Pig Trail.  Five minutes later we were at the store at Turner Bend.