Sharing Trails at the Arkansas Literary Festival

Ark Lit Fest Warnock pic

Excerpt from the festival website

If you’re in the Little Rock area, come enjoy two great books at this free event!

Ark Literary Festival exerpt

Excerpt from the printed program

Time: Saturday, April 29 at 11:30 a.m.

Place: Witt Stevens Building Central Arkansas Nature Center, 602 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR

 

Matt Moran and I will be taking you on a tour of the Big Woods of the Delta Region and the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri. We’ll share the beauty and history of these regions and help you plan future adventures. Check out the full schedule of events and make a weekend of it!

Help spread the word by printing or sharing with your friends: Five Star Trails Poster 042917 Literary FestivalFive Star Trails Poster 042917 Literary Festival

When in doubt, write.

As a child, I thought writing was magic. For real writers, words must flow without effort in finished form, or so I thought.

My senior English teacher was Inez Taylor. She was pretty tough but got me excited about writing. I worked particularly hard on a short story about a newspaper photographer who realized he wanted to make a career change as he photographed a tragic fire scene. Ms. Taylor liked the story, especially my description of the photographer’s boss. This positive experience was memorable but didn’t transfer into continued writing.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m an educator, working with young children. In a workshop by a wonderful teacher named Dee Post, I learned some strategies for leading children in writing. I applied what I learned and ended up creating some fun products with the children in my school. Later, I felt the desire to share my thoughts about learning and began writing short features in our school’s newsletter. Slowly my confidence increased.

Over the years, I grew to love hiking, largely by reading trail guides by Tim Ernst.  My desire to share trails with others led me to write short blogposts about my outdoor adventures. I discovered a beautiful regional publication in Northwest Arkansas called @Urban, now known as Do South Magazine.

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October 2012 issue of @Urban, later to become Do South Magazine

In September of 2012, while working with volunteers to build a trail around Lake Alma, I wanted to share this trail with others. I was reminded of something my mother often said, “When in doubt, take a step.” One morning while browsing the @Urban Magazine, I decided to email Marla Cantrell, Managing Editor, and propose an article about the new Lake Alma Trail.

Marla responded by asking if I could share something I’d written. I sent one of my school newsletters that included the story of one of my former students and a book review I’d written for an education publication. Her short response the next day was, “I love your writing.” An award-winning writer like Marla Cantrell making this statement had a strong impact on me. She went on to ask for a 700-word article about the Lake Alma Trail and photos for their October issue. That article was “Lake Alma Trail: A Trail for All Reasons.” IMG_0199rrMarla Cantrell became an important influence in my writing. I told her I should have paid tuition with each article written because of her excellent coaching and encouragement. Writing still didn’t flow like magic, but it was worth the challenge because of the chance that my words might open others to new learning and beauty.

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October 2016 article by Marla Cantrell in Do South Magazine

In October of 2016, I was honored by a Do South article written by Marla about the publication of my first book, Five Star Trails: The Ozarks. I’m thankful for my mother’s advice to take action in spite of my doubts. I’m thankful for mentors and encouragers along the way and for readers who’ve shared in my joy of continued learning and discovery.


5-Star Ozarks cover

An unforeseen pleasure of writing this book has been working with a great group of professionals. A few words of thanks to the following individuals:

Tim Jackson, Acquisitions Editor, for asking me to write a trail guide for the Ozarks, and for guidance during the two years we worked on this book.
Scott McGrew for his beautiful work with mapping and cover design.
Kerry Smith for copy editing and insightful clarifying questions.
Laura Frank, proofreader, for attention to detail.
Holly Cross, Managing Editor, for support and guidance through the writing and publishing process.
Tanya Sylvan, Marketing, for promotional expertise and encouraging me to share on the Menasha Ridge Press Blog.

Deep Greens and a Healing Spring

Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green

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Alley Mill, Missouri

My wife and I spent three days exploring springs in the Ozarks of Missouri. Alley Mill Spring was one of my first springs to visit two falls ago*. Revisiting this week reminded me of the rich grays of limestone and wood mixed with blues and deep greens.

The unifying and ever-present element that connects each scene for me is the color green. Sitting still to drink in the greens on mossy rocks and swirling under the water heals my soul and quiets my spirit.

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Cascades below Alley Spring

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Looking across the deep spring vent toward Alley Mill

After my first visit to Alley Mill, I immediately changed my travel plans and camped close by so I could visit the next morning and avoid the crowds. Hiker-dog and I walked the trails and included a description in Five Star Trails: The Ozarks, (my two-year labor of love).

A Special Guest on My Home Trail

The goal of this morning’s hike on the Lake Alma Trail was to pick up a couple of trashy spots I’d noticed on my last couple of walks. I never expected to be greeted by a bald eagle as Hiker-dog and I began at the west end of the dam.

I rarely attempt photos of birds, especially in flight, but I couldn’t resist.  Watching this bird was an early morning thrill.

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Even my “home trail” holds surprises and visual treasure if I pay attention and watch for the beauty.

Everything you need to know for day hiking

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Hiker-dog is always ready for a day hike.

It’s a treat to post for the Menasha Ridge Press Blog. As publisher of trail guides, including The Ozarks, they feature their own authors.

I enjoyed listing the basics of day hiking all in one post. Please share with those who want to get started. Hiker-dog thinks I need to write a post entitled, “Everything You Need to Know for Hiking With Dogs.” Maybe after I’ve had more experience.

Follow this link to the post: Everything You Need to Know for Day Hiking

“Selfie” from Atop Mt. Whitney

WordPress Photo Challenge: Atop

IMG_4911rrAfter 21 days on the John Muir Trail, we climbed to the top of Mount Whitney. I have an aversion to selfies but felt compelled to capture this visual souvenir.

These feet brought me here, so they were deserving of recognition atop this beautiful fourteener. My face only hitched a ride. In route, my face exhibited expressions of exhaustion, worry, a little fear, and occasional pain. Prior to this point on the trail, these feet planted themselves over 2,100,000 times without a whimper or complaint.

Take a break my trusted friends, and pose for your well-deserved selfie!

The Ozarks – more feedback from readers

dyer-lfs-0117r“Enjoyed the great outdoors at Lake Fort Smith yesterday using our copy of Jim Warnock’s book, The Ozarks! We’re already planning future hikes with it too! 10/10 would recommend purchasing it! All we needed was our own Hiker-dog!”  – Trey, Delaney and Darian

Wish these kids could have seen the smile on my face when I receive their message and photo. My biggest kick comes from seeing my book on the trail. Knowing it’s relevant to these energetic young people is a bonus. Below are comments for The Ozarks posted on Amazon.com. I’m thankful that hikers are liking my two-year labor of love!

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Seeing The Ozarks at Pack Rat in Fayetteville was a thrill!

Ozarks Dax bookstore

Former student, Dax, found The Ozarks in Hot Springs

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-amThe best trail book I’ve ever read. That’s comparing others written for Northern CA to Maine, and everything in-between. This guide not only offers suggestions for day hikes, but how get there, what to expect on the trail, side-trails to hit or skip, how far to civilization to stock up on supplies, and noteworthy places to stop and gawk when on the road from here to there.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am This is a very helpful book for anyone interested in hiking in the Ozarks. Whether you are a beginner or an avid hiker there is an Ozark trail here for you. We are especially interested in the Mulberry and Buffalo rivers and were happy to see that several of the trails are in those areas. Looking forward to seeing how many of these we can mark off our list in the upcoming year…

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am I enjoy hiking and found Jim Warnock’s guidebook an excellent source for planning and making decisions about trails in the Ozarks. I have hiked some of the trails he described, but the additional information is greatly appreciated. I plan to continue making great use of the book for future adventures. Mr. Warnock displays great insights into enjoyable hiking adventures and it is certainly very evident he speaks from vast experiences in the great outdoors. I certainly appreciate his work on this publication and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in the beauty of the outdoors.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am Invaluable resource for nature lovers who would like to experience the great beauty of the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks. Hikers will find the detailed information particularly helpful.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am I am a hiker and I gave this as a gift to another hiker. She has used the book and loves it.

screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-7-58-59-am Excellent read. Planning already.

Visit my author page on Amazon to see reviews and my book signing schedule.

Gift from the Ozarks: A Children’s Story

I wrote this picture book for a class of first graders and was pleased with their response. Young children can be a tough crowd, but they liked it! I used photos and part of the story from a thru-hike of the Ozark Highlands Trail that Bob and I did a couple of years ago. Click on the title page above to open a pdf of the little book.

Follow the next links to read a more detailed account of our trip on the Ozark Highlands Trail.

  1. Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat: The Ozark Highlands Trail
  2. Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat, Continued-Fairview to Tyler Bend and a New Hiking Partner

WordPress Photo Challenge: Gifts from “A Road Taken” in the High Sierras

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Sky pilot flowers

The road taken was 210 miles of the John Muir Trail last July. Each step gave fresh glimpses of beauty.

While struggling up a mountain ridge, a burst of aroma passed over me from sky pilot flowers on a granite face next to the trail.

This sweet breeze renewed my strength and quickened my step. The memory of those surprising sky pilots were pressed deep into my memory so that they still overtake me at unexpected times as unexpected gifts.

WordPress Photo Challenge: The Road Taken