All of a sudden,

Pool on Falling Water Creek

This pool is just downstream from a low-water bridge over Falling Water Creek, north of Ben Hur, Arkansas. The location sneaks up on you.

This nice little pool, just upstream from a low-water bridge on Falling Water Creek, north of Ben Hur, Arkansas appears in your windshield nearly all of a sudden. As you round a downhill curve on the rocky road approaching the bridge, there it is — one of the reasons you come to the boondocks. Since traffic is mostly non-existent, I always stop smack-dab in the middle of the bridge — that is — if the water is not up.  In that case, once it reaches a critical height, attempts to cross may be hazardous to your truck, and your person.

Fuzzybutt falls

Click the pic to see the falls and read the story.

Since most of you will never see this delightful site, I considered it to be an obligation and public service to show it to you. This location is smack-dab in the midst of several great waterfalls, most of which are easy to find, approach, and ogle.

The one falls in the neighborhood which requires a little effort to see is “Fuzzybutt Falls,” a mile or so downstream from the low-water bridge. Fortunately, I have caused a story and two pictures of said falls to be  included on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. Go there and see the falls in two permutations. By the way, my name for the falls is “Hidden Hollow.” The rest of the know world disagrees with me.

For a parting shot, I am showing you the diametric opposite of an Ozarks Creek, to wit, a dusty field on a farm in the Delta. What’s happening in the picture is land leveling to make irrigation more efficient. The tractor is dragging a 30 or 40 foot device with leveling blades. The device responds to a laser to achieve “level.”

Tractor pulling land leveler in dust

It was a dusty Delta Day, Billy Joe.

The pictures you’ve seen in this post are from the same state, Arkansas. We gotcha mountains, we gotcha Delta, we gotcha Piney Woods, we gotcha Grand Prairie, we gotcha … oh well you get the drift.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.



Two dam falls and more

Waterfall at Mammoth Spring Arkansas

You can walk over the falls at Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. Few waterfalls can make this claim. Furthermore you are welcome and encouraged to make the stroll. A long-of-tooth dam (1887) makes the falls,

Dams make these fine falls, thus “Two dam falls.” You can still show this article to your Momma without fear of retribution.

Falls at Rockbridge, Missouri.

Falls at Rockbridge, Missouri created by a mill pond dam completed c. 1868.

fly fisherman at rockbridge falls

See more falls at Cordancer dot-com,

Before we venture further with the falls, I suggest you take a look at the Photo of  the Week page at Corndancer dot-com where this story had its beginning, You will see different views of  the falls and a neat country road. Take a look. We’ll wait here for your return.

Waterfalls do not necessarily have to be naturally occurring to be cool, make nice sounds, and elicit  “OOO” and “AHH” from enthralled onlookers. I was in the presence a couple of man-made falls weekend last which neatly support that theory. The other upside to man-made falls is that man had to get in there to make what ever it is that makes the falls, so it is generally a lot easier, with substantially lower exposure to chiggers, ticks, snakes,  and grievous slips and falls, to sally forth and see the falls.

Barn in the rain

How to shoot a barn in the rain: Step inside an adjacent barn, out of the rain and fire away. Both structures are on the Mackey Place, part of the Rockbridge Trout Ranch at Rockbridge, Missouri.

Around a quarter mile or so from, the Rockbridge falls, you will find the Mackey Place barns along with residential facilities for guests of the Rockbridge Trout Ranch. Not every place you stay offers you a fine old red barn in your yard.

Bluffs near Rockbridge Missouri

Bluffs near Rockbridge Missouri. Not long after I shot this image, a couple of anglers were casting flies which a few unsuspecting trout grabbed up. Tasty catches.

The waterfalls, the barns, and the bluff scene, (the dam controls the flow upstream), are prima-facie evidence that man can successfully interact with mother nature and live in harmony. Keep in mind that each of these aforementioned relationships began more than 100 years ago. If we could do it then, surely we can do it now.


Old gas pump

See more pictures in the Weekly Grist gallery

See an old store and station with a 35 cent per gallon gas pump, high-resolution pictures of the falls, an old house, a low water bridge, an old house and high resolution pictures of the falls on our Weekly Grist gallery.

Non-fattening, rated G and high in natural content. You will not be tested on the content you observe. Click here if you missed the other links.

Also, see “A great gravel road,” a  previous Weekly Grist post from the same area.

Thanks for dropping by,
Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Baring it in the winter

Old red bard

This old barn, resplendent in its winter mode is a familiar sight to the legion of kayaking, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, and hiking enthusiasts who frequent the Long Pool Recreation area, my destination for the day, on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. You can't miss it.

From the looks of things you are figuring this is a story about barns. You are partially correct.  Actually we are talking about what you see in the winter, when most people are staying home versus what you see in the warmer months when the folks who will venture out, well, venture out. It is my contention that there is more to see in the winter.

Old Arkansas Barn

Click on the barn for a full size picture.

Before we pursue that argument further, take a look at where this story started on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot-com. You will see another old barn and a close up of a remote intermittent water fall. Click here to go there. We’ll be here when you get back.

I had high hopes of catching a couple of waterfalls in a mid-winter display of their might a few miles from this barn east of the Long Pool Recreation Area on Big Piney Creek north of Dover, Arkansas. There had been plenty of rain in the general vicinity, but Mother Nature, in her fickle mode, chose to steer her latest deluge in the wrong direction to satisfy my hopes. Whom am I to question?

Never the less, the trip was worth it. The falls, one about 10-12 feet tall, and one towering to 44 feet, are ensconced in a huge hollow which is nothing short of spectacular. Boulders as big as a pickup truck line the outflow of the falls. The waterfalls are accessible only by a hike of nearly a mile in each direction and are not frequently visited.

waterfall near Long Pool Recreation area on Big Piney Creek

This is the smaller of two falls at this destination. This one is 10-12 feet tall. The larger one, which I did not have time to shoot properly is 44 feet tall. Just a trickle was coming over it.

There are two trails to the falls, one of which is close to treacherous. The trail, only a foot and a half wide in some places,  follows Big Piney Creek on the side of a steep hill which bottoms out in the creek. The other trail is an old road which leads to and from the recreational area. It is benign, but steep in places. I took the scenic route in and the safer route out.

Small falls near Long Pool Recreation Area

You see a great deal of detail in these pictures due to the even light on the falls. In summer months the difference between the bright and dark spots due to foliage makes a detailed shot such as this nearly impossible.

Listening to the trickle of the falls in their diminished intermittent mode was good therapy and I did not want to leave. However, I was covering new ground and believed it prudent to allow plenty of time to return to the trusty pickup. That being so, I did not capture as many images as I would have liked. However, I will have a keen eye out for reports of big rains in the area and then beat a path back.

white trees

These poplar trees south of Russellville AR on U.S. Highway 64 are a dramatic presence in this field. "Golden Hour" sun splashes over the scene.

If you have an opportunity, or conversely you have nothing better to do and want to do something different, make an opportunity and sally forth to see some winter magnificence. It awaits you.


waterfall closeup

Click here for more waterfall and barn pictures

See our weekly photo-only gallery which has all of the weekly Corndancer and Grist pictures, plus some cool ones which are not displayed on either site.

This week there are nine pictures. See more angles on  the Corndancer barn and views the waterfall you’ve observed on this page. Click to here to go there.

Thanks for dropping by

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Woolly Hollow

Woolly Hollow Falls
I would guess Woolly Hollow Falls drop around 40 or 50 feet from top to bottom, but not in a straight line. The stair-stepped falls make for good eye candy.

Few things command ones undivided attention better than a waterfall. You don’t have to turn it on and you can’t turn it down, or off. And, in all likelihood you are viewing its magnificence voluntarily. Since it has your undivided attention, you might as well take advantage of the therapeutic benefits accrued while standing in awe of one of Mother Nature’s most powerful creations. Even better, it will not attack or bite and unless you decide to personally sample its turbulence, surviving the experience is a virtual lock.

Waterfall therapy techniques are addressed along with some other pictures of the falls on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com. Get in on these revelations and photos by clicking here, a very cool thing to do.

We are visiting the falls below the dam which makes 40 acre Lake Bennett at Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier, Arkansas. The falls are easily accessible from a trail near the entrance to the park. The park is very popular. There is an office and gift shop in the park which freely dispenses information about the premises.

dam forming Lake Bennett

The top of the dam forming Lake Bennett. While the vegetation may look a bit unkempt, it is nature’s way and a good thing, adding its tendrils to the overall strength of the dam, which was built by the CCC in 1935. This is one of the few places were you see rip-rap embedded in concrete, pointy-side up. One presumes to prevent using the dam as a playground.

While accessing the falls from the bottom is no trick due to the well constructed and tended trail, seeing if from the top at water level is another story all together. One descends from an impromptu parking place on the entrance road near the dam to the lake’s edge. From there follow the lake’s edge until you are even with the dam. At this water level, that required a small wade, not a big deal.

bluff just below the Lake Bennett dam

This bluff is just below and past the east end of the dam, and above the falls.

From there, it would be better if you had the sure footedness of a mountain goat because the top of the dam is laced with rip-rap. You gingerly walk across the top of the dam and wind up near the small bluff you see above. Traipsing across small rip-rap is not my strongest point, but the visual reward at the end of the walk was worth it. Not recommended for anyone with mobility limitations.

above Woolly Hollow Falls

Further downstream from the dam, this is the last stretch before the falls begin to drop. I decided here to curtail my southerly trek along the creek and return to the truck. It looked a tad woolier than I wanted to deal with, if you will forgive the pun.

I followed the stream about another 75 yards or so. The trail was visible, but not well-worn. Not recommended if you take exception to wading and breaking your way through some underbrush. Since I have absolutely no objections to any of the above, I crashed on through like a bull in a china shop. When I got to the stretch of creek above, I shot and turned back, believing at my age that discretion indeed may be the better part of valor. The drop of the falls was not far ahead, but substantially more easily accessible from the bottom.

But wait, there is definitely more

See high resolution versions of all Corndancer and Weekly Grist pictures in our weekly high-resolution gallery. Click here to go there. This week we are including a black and white version of all pictures in this gallery.

A good hike along a wet, rocky, and overgrown trail is one you walk away from in one piece. Thank goodness for small favors and thank you for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

The “Wow!” stuff: seek and ye shall find

These falls at Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas are about midway in a relatively easy hiking trail that loops from a camping area along the lake shore. A healthy rain the day before this shot gave the falls a bit more oomph, a plus for the

These falls at Lake Catherine State Park, near Hot Springs, Arkansas are about midway in a relatively easy hiking trail that loops from a camping area along the lake shore. A healthy rain the day before this shot gave the falls a bit more oomph, a plus for the “WOW!” factor.

The “WOW!” stuff we encounter in our lives is analogous to life’s desserts. Sure we can live without ’em, but why? As a dessert, these experiences are non-fattening, low cholesterol and may, as in the case of the waterfall above, offer an opportunity for a tad of exercise. We actually started this “WOW!” exploration on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot Com. To see some more pictures from “WOW!” experiences and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.

Water rushes over a low water bridge on an abandoned road off Arkansas Highway 171 west of Lake Catherine State Park. When the water is not up, you would probably miss it.

Water rushes over a low water bridge on an abandoned road off Arkansas Highway 171 west of Lake Catherine State Park. When the water is not up, you would probably miss it.

Granted, you do not have to take a trip to a waterfall or other special location to experience a “WOW!”, but for the most part, you exponentially increase the odds of being WOWED, if you put yourself in position to be WOWED. This means that occasionally one must cut the umbilical to daily or even weekend routines and nose about for something new. You may not know where you are going. A discovery is even more delicious if it is uncovered due to a random act of deciding which way to turn. Sally forth in a new direction and see what can be discovered. You never know what you will see. As an example, take a gander at the road sign below:

Lick Skillet Road

Lick Skillet Road off Arkansas Highway 80 east of Waldron, Arkansas.

When I saw the sign, I, in the words of W. C. Fields, ” … was compelled … ” to turn and drive down the road. This was not the first Lick Skillet Road sign I saw, but was the most skewed, so it made the cut to be published. I encountered a friendly young man in a pickup and asked if he knew how the road got its name. He allowed as how he understood that around the turn of the 20th century, a woman operated an eatery on the road. The good ol’ boys of the time observed that the food there was so good, you wanted to lick the skillet. And thus the name.

Further investigation by Googling the term indicated that this appellation, Lick Skillet, at the time, was popular. Turns out there are a bunch of Lick Skillet places and other Lick Skillet roads promiscuously scattered around the nation. There is indeed precious little new under the sun. Sooner or later, someone will claim to be “The Original Lick Skillet.” Or perhaps that claim has already been made.

Mad Dog Road

Abandoned house on Mad Dog Hill Lane near Bluffton, Arkansas on state highway 28.

After having followed Lick Skillet Road until it terminated on Arkansas Highway 80 east of Waldron, I more or less folded the tent with the idea of beating a path back home. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an abandoned house with some Victorian trappings on the confluence of highway 28 and  “Mad Dog Hill Lane.”  In my time, I’ve known a few people, who will remain unidentified, the address of whom would appropriately contain such a street — you know who you are.

No one came forth with an explanation for the name, so I folded the tent again and headed south. Our imagination can fill in the blanks on Mad Dog Hill Lane until something better comes along.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

Family at the falls

This is a continuation from the 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 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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