Some real warmth is finally here, and warmth plus rain means hidden networks of tiny fungus filaments in the forest floor are popping out mushrooms. I’ve already paid tribute to the variety and strange, sometimes slimy beauty of these little toadstools here and here, but still the Ozarks have new kinds to show me, including the above beauties at the entrance of a Devil’s Den State Park cave.
I hope you had a good Memorial Day weekend — thanks for stopping by.
This month has brought a whole lot of rain: more than 7 inches so far this month, with another 8 (!) possible between now and Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Yesterday’s storm swept away a homeless camp in Fayetteville, caused other flash flooding and caught houses on fire with its lightning, and that was with only 3 inches of rain. The ground is almost completely saturated, so be careful of all the runoff this weekend, and especially don’t drive through it.
The pauses in the mayhem, on the other hand, have brought great chances to see local waterfalls at their full power. The one above is a cascade at one end of Lake Wedington, which sits in a nearby patch of the Ozark National Forest. I took an early morning hike on the trail along the lake’s edge Sunday, my first time there.
The waterfall drains the lake around the trail’s halfway point and was absolutely gushing, tumbling 50 or so feet and throwing off curtains of mist. The torrent blocked me from going any further — the trail continues somewhere on the other side of this mist. But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Today brought another break in the rain, so I hurried down to Devil’s Den State Park this evening. Some of the waterfalls there are going as strong as I’ve seen.
By this weekend, the falls might look more like this. Stay dry, everyone.
And at the risk of being way too presumptuous or commercial, if you all like any images in this or other posts, you can get prints of some of them (in much higher resolution) here. It might take a few days after a post for the photos to appear, but I keep it pretty up to date. Feel free to tell me which, if any, you’d like to have available.
Thanks for looking,
This is just wrong, y’all.
Trees and other plants from the South to the Great Lakes are coming to life several weeks early. Four days this month have reached record high temperatures, according to the National Weather Service, and we’ve gotten to 80 degrees twice. January had 11 days above 60, while the average is in the 40s. Now, there’s always been wacky weather, and climate scientists are always quick to point out that climate change doesn’t cause any single weather pattern, instead affecting the probability of certain events. Scientists have measured the highest carbon dioxide levels in millions of years in the atmosphere; the gas is strongly connected to temperature throughout the planet’s history.
On top of that, these particular blossoms belong to a Bradford pear, an ornamental but invasive species that humans brought here from east Asia. Invasive species like these trees and honeysuckles crowd out native plants and steal away their light and nutrients, which can hurt local bugs, birds, mammals, soil, water and us, and they’re hard to get rid of.
Basically we’ve made a mess, even if it looks nice or feels great.
That brings me to these rock piles along Lee Creek at Devil’s Den State Park. I know I’ve shown them here at least once before, and they’re a pretty and neat way for dozens or even hundreds of people to connect in the same space. It’s also something we shouldn’t be doing, come to find out. It’s bad for creek beds and the fish and amphibians and bugs living in and under them, and it’s something park rangers around the country are trying to stop.
Anyway, I don’t mean to be the buzzkill during some really fantastic weather. The point is we humans have a way of leaving our marks big and small. Keep an eye on them.
Thanks for lookin’.
Our first decent winter weather in years gave me a chance to see Devil’s Den State Park in a way I never had before: covered in snow and ice. About 100 straight hours of sub-freezing temperatures adorned the bluffs and valleys, even the snow itself, in crystals and icicles. You know I couldn’t resist.
I know this isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but I’m just endlessly fascinated by ice. It can arise in the most complex and beautiful forms that last for just days or even hours, especially here in Arkansas. It has been above freezing for a few hours now, and most of these formations are probably gone. I love that.
Thanks for looking!