Looking for a fall

Fall foliage and barn

Since fall has postponed its grand opening here at home, I went north to the Ozarks to find fall. This fine looking barn at the foot of a fall splashed hill helped satisfy my gnawing desire for the third season. I found it on Arkansas Highway 74 east of Snowball.

Fall is dragging its feet in the Delta. Here it is the first of November and most of the trees are still green, our ground is as dry as a powder house, and for the most part, there’s not much of a fall nip in the air. Hungry for fall, I set out to find the elusive season in the mountains of Searcy County, Arkansas. I am a denizen of the Delta by natural selection, but was born at the feet of the Ozarks. I suppose my underlying DNA pushed me north. See the beginnings of this trek on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com. See the dog’s sculptured partner and some fine fall color.  Click here to go there. We’ll wait here.

dog statue

On the way to Marshall AR, our starting point in our quest for fall, I found this dog offering a welcome to the Smiley's Blueticks enterprise. For those who do not know, a Bluetick is hunting dog of the hound persuasion. Although the dogs make fine pets, they are highly valued as coon-hunting dogs. Really good ones fetch a high price.

We headed for Snowball AR looking for County Road 12. County Road 12 runs west from Snowball and t-bones a forest service road which will carry you south, provided you turn right which sounds crazy. Logic tells you that if you are traveling west, a left turn should take you south. At this junction, guess again. To go south, turn northwest. In any case, good ol’ County Road 12 runs through some rugged territory and gives you some good higher altitude fall scenery.

country road and fall foliage

Not far from Snowball AR, this country road meandering through the boondocks is a macro show stopper for fall splendor. It may get even better when the rest of the trees start to turn.

County Road 12  runs through valleys and winds its way to the top and back down, around curves, switchbacks, and other temptations of gravity set to swallow you if you do not pay attention to driving. Views from the top remind you of Robert Goulet singing “On a clear day you can see for ever and ever . . .  .” Bumps and road conditions notwithstanding, it is well worth the trip.

View of fall foliage from mountain top

As the road crawls across the top, the view is spectacular, particularly with great fall light and brilliant foliage.

As the sun began to drop in the afternoon, the warm fall tones became warmer and colors intensified. In the fall, the sun does not have as far to drop since it hangs lower in the sky to start with. The result is good broadside light to taller objects and dramatic long shadows.

Overlooking a valley with fall foliage

A parting shot. As we began descending from the mountains, we found this colorful valley showing its fall hues, chromas, lights, and shadows. Some kind of cool!

The dropping sun also signals a time to seriously aim for home before dark, but not before grabbing a few more images. In the words of John Wayne in The Cowboys, ” . . .  we’re burnin’ daylight.” We made our retreat shooting our way out. In addition to these foliage and color shots, we grabbed a cool barn, a bridge and other buildings in the boondocks. You’ll see these next week.

Update, December 6, 2010

The night before I did these shots, I dined at the Sunrise Cafe in Marshall. It was not my first trip. The quality and quantity of good southern comfort food had not diminished.

Sunrise Cafe Marshall, Arkansas

It is always a good sign for out-of-towners when a good crowd of natives are at the feed trough. It portends well for good eating. The crowd at the Sunrise Cafe in Marshall welcomed me. I was served a whopper meal of catfish. Notice the pie safe by the door. Yum!


See all of the Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures, plus those “keepers” from the shoot that we did not publish. Click here to see this picture-only gallery.

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

%d bloggers like this: