Once is not enough

Small waterfall at Lake Catherine AR

This intermittent fall, a gossamer statement of natural beauty, is for the most part ignored by viewers who are concentrating on the nearby larger falls at Lake Catherine State Park, Arkansas. Until this visit, I was guilty in not noticing it as well. It was worth the wait.

The skinny falls you see above are intermittent. They only have significant water during periods of heavy rainfall. A few days before this picture was shot, it could have been a raging torrent. Intermittent falls are like that. Years ago in the film days, I photographed some intermittent falls in the Ozarks that were in the raging torrent stage.

Lake Catherine State Park falls

See more Lake Catherine falls at Corndancer dot com

I caught these falls after visiting the close by Lake Catherine State Park falls on and off since the late sixties and finding these intermittent falls are lurking in the shadows less than 20 feet from the “main” falls.

I should have my head examined for decades of missing this picture. Other than the therapeutic advantages of re-visiting waterfalls, I suppose this discovery is another good reason one should frequent these natural wonders.

Speaking of Lake Catherine falls, may I suggest that you digress and go to the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com and see the larger falls and get in on how this whole story started. We’ll wait here.

Falls at Lake Catherine State Park

These are the "main attraction" falls at Lake Catherine State Park. The intermittent falls are just behind the foliage in the left side of this picture.

Lake Catherine falls are immensely popular with good reason. There is almost always water over the falls and unlike many falls are easily accessible. Lake Catherine State Park is minutes from I-30. Once you are at the park, a short hike is required to reach the falls. The trail is well-worn and is more like an earthen sidewalk in most places than a trail. It is suitable for all ages. I suppose this is not my last trip unless the higher power determines that it is. All the more reason to have enjoyed it.

Taking the back roads

I generally take the “back” roads when traveling. Returning to my home from Hot Springs is no exception. My back route takes me over Arkansas State Highway 190 which passes through Bookman. Bookman is a rare bird. Google can’t find it. I would not have noticed were it not for the signs.

Bookman sign

There are two Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department signs emblazoned with "Bookman" about a mile or so apart on Highway 190. The most noticeable thing between the signs is the "dark lagoon" in the foreground. (The backlit picture is a cheesy attempt by me to add some visual mystique to my contention of the possible inhabitant).

 There’s not much between the signs. When traveling west, the sign is on a bridge approach. The bridge goes over a stream I call “The Black Hole of Bookman,” whose highest use, I have determined from my visual reconnaissance, may be to serve as a residential area for the legendary “boogerman” we all feared as children. I’m serious. It’s spooky.

Home of the boogerman

Just past the bridge at Bookman, the Black Hole, which could be the home of the legendary boogerman, the ultimate villain we all feared as children.

At this point there may be some semantic conflict. In certain parts of the South, many of us were adults, or nearing adulthood when we learned that in the outside world, this ultimate apparition was known as “the bogeyman.”  Being one who more or less adheres to how I was brought up, I’m sticking with “boogerman” thank you very much.

Elvis on a fire truck

You can't make this stuff up!

The King and his fire truck

Up in northeast Arkansas on a recent trip, I ran across one of the “you can’t make this stuff up” photo opportunities. Seems Dickey Tree Service of Portia AR, uses a retired hook and ladder fire truck in the pursuit of their business. When the truck is idle, the folks at Dickey park the truck beside US Highway 63 and  put a full-sized fiberglass Elvis atop the truck cab. It does grab your attention. For the pièce de résistance they install a smaller Elvis at the top of the ladder. We will follow this story in more depth in future editions of Corndancer and Weekly Grist.


Weekly Grist Gallery

See more pictures in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Be sure and check out our Weekly Grist Gallery for more waterfall pictures, Lake Catherine area pictures,  including a tree across the trail, and closer to home, what you might think is an approach from the veldt to the jungle, but isn’t by any stretch of the imagination.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind




Family at the falls

This is a continuation from the Corndancer.com photo of the week picture-story. If you arrived here without first going to the photo of the week and want to catch up, (a cool thing to do), click here.

As I was engrossed in shooting a series of bracketed photographs of the falls at Lake Catherine State Park, I heard somewhat of a clamor down the trail leading to the falls. Mostly laughter and the sounds of people having fun. Turns out it was a couple of families and some friends. As they came closer and I overheard their conversations, it became plain that their conversations were not being conducted in south Arkansas English, which pretty well left me out of the loop.

The family, enjoying the environment, approached the falls and sure enough, out comes the ubiquitous digital camera. I offered to shoot them in front of the falls. One of the family members switched to English and handed me the camera. The group went as close to the falls as they could get and remain dry. I shot a few exposures and a straggler or two came up and we started the process again.

Two families and friends enjoy the falls at Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs AR.

Two families and friends enjoy the falls at Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs AR.

I asked them to stay put after I shot with their camera so I could shoot with mine. There is some blurring in the shot, one wiggling baby and one arm twitch.  I had the camera set up to shoot the waterfall at 1/5 second, not the best speed for human beings.

I asked them if they lived in Arkansas. They told me they were from Dallas. I thanked them for coming to Arkansas and encouraged them to do it often and spend as much money as was possible while in the state. They laughed and so did I. I gave them the corndancer.com address and told them to check the photo of the week and this blog. That was my contribution to international goodwill for the week.

The families explore the top of the falls. One adult introducing the baby to the chilly waters of a mountain stream. He seemed to enjoy the experience

The families explore the top of the falls. One adult is introducing the baby to the chilly waters of a mountain stream. He seemed to enjoy the experience.

It occured to me just how small our world has become. Though currently from Texas, it was patently obvious that the Lone Star state was not where they were born and reared. Yet here were some folks from thousands of miles away and this ol’ boy from south Arkansas − and we had something in common other than the same numbers of eyes and limbs. We all wanted to see a waterfall that Sunday afternoon. Would that other complexities could be that simple.

All content. pictures and verbiage ©2008 Joe Dempsey

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