County line

IMG_7985.JPGThe journey down the Razorback Greenway has finally reached Benton County. Almost halfway! Only 20 or so miles to go. I’d started to fear this quiet leg of the trail would be a relative bust for some fresh shots, but then Lake Springdale popped up around the last bend, right across the county line, and saved the day.

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This last one isn’t from the trail, but I have to share it. I was walking around my apartment complex a little before sunrise and looking up at the purple clouds when I noticed birds flying south. They weren’t in an orderly V formation like geese; instead they flew at least a hundred feet from each other, moving like black flecks of ash drifting from a huge fire. They filled the sky by the thousands, ranging from just above the top of the apartment buildings to the limit of my eyesight, tiny specks in every direction. And they were silent. I had never seen anything quite like it. I’d like to learn what kind of birds they were, but Google hasn’t cracked the mystery yet. An hour or so later they were gone, and the sky was clear.

IMG_8000.JPGEvery black speck here is a bird. They’re a bit hard to see here, so opening the photo in another tab might help.

Happy November! Thanks for looking.

Catching up

IMG_7747.JPGThere’s more than 3,000 people in this photo — more than live in a dozen different towns in Washington County and more than twice as many people in my entire high school in Nebraska. They’re having hundreds of conversations and maybe a few arguments. Lots are standing, but some are kneeling. There are kids and parents and cousins and buddies and a whole lot of strangers. Some are Texas State fans, if you can spot the maroon in the sea of crimson. All of that life in a single frame.

IMG_7743.JPGIt’s taken me way too long to have these pictures ready. The two above are from the Sept. 17 Razorback game, my first. It was a good time, though it made me miss Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. Anyway, that’s it for my words this time. Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, have some much quieter snapshots of the latest leg of the Razorback Greenway trail.

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Greenway V

_C1_7396.JPGIt only took eight months, but yesterday I got past the Fayetteville section of the Razorback Greenway and into parts I’ve never seen before. A beautiful Saturday brought a few more miles of the 36-mile thread that carries characters like this pair, who were taking a break during a ride from one end of the trail to the other and back — I’d need a breather, too. Others included some disc-golfing fraternity brothers and a bulldog puppy named Princess that got doused with water to cool off from the trek around Lake Fayetteville.

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_C1_7449.JPGWe’ll see what’s going on in Springdale next time. Thanks for looking.

The Greenway

Bike trails are a big deal around here.

For the first time, an unbroken thread of paths and trails connects all of the Northwest Arkansas metro, from Bella Vista in the north to Fayetteville at the south end. The cities marked the project’s completion Saturday with a festival of biking, train riding, history walks and food that drew at least a thousand people by my reckoning. A few dozen of them told me the best way to celebrate was riding all 37 miles.

I started the day in Fayetteville, where a couple hundred people gathered in the morning for a bike and train ride to the main event up in Springdale.

But before that, something I didn’t expect: a march, about 40 strong, for Freddie Gray, whose death after being severely injured in police custody sparked protests across the country and has led to criminal charges for six Baltimore officers.

_C1_8877It was a blink-and-you-miss-it deal; I had time for the one photo and they were gone. The cyclists, meanwhile, kept gathering, cheering the train from Springdale when it sounded its horn.

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_C1_8945The bunch arrived in Springdale by train or bike half an hour later. More bikers and others flocked in by the hundreds.

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_C1_9050Several mayors and other officials gave speeches and thanks to everyone involved; this is a project planned for a decade, under construction for three years and built for $1 million a mile. The speakers touted the trail’s economic impact as well — a topic my co-worker Joel dug into in today’s paper — before leading the crowd in a spirited round of “Woo Pig Sooie.”

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_C1_9075Finally, bikers cut the ribbon for the trail at noon.

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_C1_9164Not a bad party. Thanks for looking, and take a look at some more photos here, if you like.