Providence and Provence led us here

Waterfall on Bidville Road

Wide angle distortion deceives you into believing these falls on Bidville Road near Winslow, Arkansas are not tall. The fact is, they are at least 20 feet tall and perhaps a bit more. Ice is forming in the pool and icicles have formed adjacent to the falls. A hike of a quarter mile or so across rocky terrain is necessary to see the falls as you see them here.

The story of these falls started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. To see another picture of the falls and formations close by, click here go to Corndancer dot com, a very cool thing to do.

While exploring the territory where these falls reside, I had the good fortune of running into Eugene Provence, a lifelong resident of the area. His good advice helped me find the way to the falls. Eugene makes his living driving a truck over twisting, precarious gravel roads in this parts, the Boston Range of the Ozark Mountains out of Winslow, Arkansas.

18 wheeler truck on mountain gravel road

Eugene Providence skillfully drives this truck over twisting, turning mountain gravel roads which are far from the ideal venue for large trucks. I was taken aback when I first encountered the truck approaching a one lane bridge I was approaching from the opposite direction. You simply do not expect to meet 18-wheelers this far back in the boondocks.

Eugene Providence

Eugene Provence at the wheel of his big White tractor.

Before the day was over, I met three of the Providence family including Eugene, his father, and a Provence nephew to boot. To the man, they were outgoing, friendly, and helpful. It is not often that one meets strangers out of the clear blue sky who put for such demeanor. Good upbringing I suppose.

As you face the falls, to the right is a steep cliff, probably the height of a five story building. Bidville road runs not far from the drop off. Eugene said at one time a truck and trailer hauling a bulldozer went over the edge. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to see how that could happen.


As you face the falls at the base, this bluff is to your right. The right of way for Bidville Road is not far from the edge. Icicles dangle from the edge. BRRRRRRR it was cold!

View from the top

top of the falls

This is looking down the bluff at the falls from the shoulder of Bidville Road. The white objects at the bottom center left of the picture are the ice formed in the pool below the falls. You can barely see the small cascades of water running down the bluff from the vicinity of the large rock to the right center of the picture. It is a long drop.

As I was setting the tripod up at the edge of the road to get the shot above, Jason Provence, related to Eugene, stopped as he drove by to caution me about the bluff. I thanked him and told him that if he came back by in about 30 minutes or so and the truck was still there, but I wasn’t, to kindly extract what was left of me from the bottom. Fortunately, that was not necessary.

approach to the falls

This terrain is at the approach to the falls as you hike in. It is typically replete with rocks, boulders and fallen timber knocked down by a severe ice storm last January. The low angle to the shot is due to the fact that yours truly is sitting on his back side after losing his footing, taking a dive and unceremoniously assuming that ground-level position. I figured as long as I was there I might as well record the event.

The boondocks around Winslow and anywhere else do not go into hibernation and disappear when the weather turns cold and the leaves drop. It is a good time of the year to see things you won’t see when leaves are on the trees. I’ll have more to say about that in a later diatribe.

Our headquarters for this foray was Sky-Vue cabins, just a mile or so south of Winslow on US Highway 71. A clean, well-lighted place with great breakfasts and gracious hosts.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

6 Responses

  1. Joe,
    I love your work. Very inspirational and really captures the way I remember the US (back in Cedar Falls and Desm Moines, Iowa). You captured the lovely landscape and the great people.
    I’ll be sure to keep checking this site regularly.

    PS. I saw on the forums you had some issues with getting the image quality disrupted on your photos when it was ‘optimizing’. I’m having the same issue but am not sure from the replies on your post what to do. Care to offer any tips? I’m really losing quality here (specifically vibrancy and colours)!

  2. Hi Joe,
    I’m not sure if my last comment saved or not (net at work is a bit shoddy) so I will be paraphrasing here:
    Your work is great, it really reminds me of the things I loved about the states (the landscapes and the wonderful people).

    I got to your site via a forum post where you commented about picture quality. I don’t really understand most of what they’re talking about (I’m amateur hour incarnate) so would you be able to let me know what worked for you?

    Thanks Joe, I’ll be sure to check your site regularly.

    • Thanks for your kind words. I am glad you enjoy the site. On the quality, I’m still not 100% satisfied, but making certain that you post to the exact size you want seems to help. In a couple of cases, I managed to upload images that were 1 pixel over (or under) he maximum size (468 pixels wide), and WP processed the image which degraded it somewhat. I send links to the weekly posts here and on the Corndancer site and will be happy to add you to the list.

  3. Joe,
    thanks for your reply and your tips.
    Please let me know how I can be added to your weekly posts.
    In the meantime though, I have wonderful news!
    I’ve found a way to export images almost identical to the ones on my camera and laptop!
    It’s as simple as looking at the picture in Picasa and exporting it from there!

    I have posted more details (plus a shout-out to you) on my blog. Here’s the link.

  4. I guess I’ve been visiting weekly for a bit over a year, yet your keen eye continues to amaze me. Let me see … you were rounding a corner and your eyes caught a glimpse of the falls.

    And I always appreciate your encounters with so many good people. Although I imagine you find the occasional, not-so-nice person, you continually show your class by not mentioning them.

    I hadn’t imagined ice in Arkansas, but I realize that a December wasn’t the best of months there. And to think your spring blooms aren’t that far away.

    Now if I’m ever in your area, it would be a pleasure traveling with you on your pic days. :}

    Have a blessed New Year Joe!

    • Frank, we see ice every winter, not to the extent that Cincy sees it, but it is a relative thing I suppose.

      You are correct on the jerks. Actually, in the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve only met two and they were genuinely men of bad humor.

      And on rounding the corners … God was kind enough to give me long legs and good peripheral vision, which amazingly, at my age continues to function well. I am grateful to God for long legs, good peripheral vision and good friends like you.

      And when you are in the neighborhood, I have a passenger seat available in the pickup.

      Happy New Year,

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