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.

Outdoor Reporting

IMG_4116.JPGI’ve driven hours and hours for some good hiking, and all of this time I’ve neglected a great spot right down the road. A few hundred acres of woods and bluffs and streams cover Fayetteville’s Kessler Mountain, a 500-foot plateau that stands just inside the city’s southwest limits. It’s essentially a piece of Ozark forest about 5 miles from the university campus and downtown district. The city’s considering a plan to double the length of volunteer-built trails there, like the one above, while maintaining the place’s natural beauty and character, as my story today explains. So I went out there last week to get a good look. I won’t say no to hiking for work.

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IMG_4172.JPGSome of you were around the first time I went to Kessler and posted some mediocre photos of it — my hiking partner wasn’t feeling good that day, if  I remember rightly, so we turned around early. I’m glad I could give trails with names like “Egg Beater” and “Crazy Mary” another try. Most of the time I was alone and it was quiet, with the late afternoon sun slanting between the trees and their new leaves. For any city residents who like this place or hope to visit at some point, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is holding a public meeting tomorrow to see the trail plan and get comments from the audience. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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IMG_4219.JPGThanks for looking,

Dan

One Piece Down

_C1_2000The Razorback Greenway trail threads through crowded downtowns and alongside the busiest streets around, a filament of forest and water in a growing metro. But it begins at its southernmost point in one of the quietest corners in Fayetteville, near a little park called Greathouse and a neighborhood of small houses. The sun shone bright and cool when I got there Sunday afternoon. A few hundred feet past that park, you’d never know you were in a fairly bustling college town: There’s just the trail, the lampposts and the woods outside of them.  The bare trees creaked and rustled in the breeze, and a rooster crowed over and over – seriously, every few seconds – somewhere to the south.

_C1_1959I’ve been pretty sparse with the photos lately, so my idea was to walk along all of the Greenway’s 36 miles. I’ll have to do it in pieces by foot; Sunday I got a few miles down, past downtown and the university. I couldn’t resist going down these side paths that lead off into the trees every now and then. It’ll be neat to see the whole path as winter becomes spring and the Greenway matches its name again.

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_C1_2071Until then, thanks for looking.

Dan

Crystal Bridges

IMG_9891It looks like some serious rain is moving through the state tonight, but around midday it was warm and (occasionally) sunny. I headed up to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for my first photos from Bentonville.

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IMG_9893Opened in 2011 with a relatively small piece of the Walton family fortune, Crystal Bridges is many things: a free art museum, a sculpture garden, a nature park. It also provided for some nice images. Besides admiring the carved woods and molded ceramics, people of every age group were jogging or biking the trails, shepherding little ones and snapping selfies with the rust-coated LOVE sculpture.

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IMG_9907Once again, I can’t wait for this place to get some green leaves on these branches.

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IMG_9947As always, thanks for looking.

Dan