Hardware Collage

WordPress Photo Challenge: Collage

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I love a good hardware store, but never thought to pull the camera from my belt while visiting one! That is until I visited Walrod’s Hardware. This is a Fort Smith treasure and reminiscent of The Tool Room that my dad and I often visited when I was a teenager.

On this day, I was driving my dad from a doctor’s appointment and commented that we needed to take a little field trip. What I found were collages that appeared random, but ask Jerry, the owner, for the most obscure of items, and you’ll see that there is a practical organization that works. With experienced eyes, he effortlessly points out the item on a busy shelf. 

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I was overwhelmed by the choice of hammers!

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I now have an appreciation for the beauty of screw-eyes and u-bolts!

IMG_2240rrThough this galvanized watering can seemed out of place atop the ratchet sets and next to the nuts-and-bolts isle, it stood out with an artistic flair.

Here are a few scenes from our hardware collage field trip.

 

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Walrod’s Hardware
2113 Midland Blvd.
Fort Smith, Arkansas, 72904

Fiery Sky Over Lake Alma

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Eric Scowden and I hiked to The Point well before dark and determined where to place our tripods. In the water was the best spot. As we prepared our cameras I asked, “Would this be a bad time to tell Tim Ernst’s cottonmouth story?”

Eric had been at Tim’s slideshow so we were both remembering it at the same time as we stood in grassy water close to shore. We were not waist-deep in water as Tim had been and there were no boulders for cottonmouths to get eye-to-eye with us.
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The show began at 9 p.m. with color still in the sky but the brightness and sounds were still startling and beautiful.

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Plant growth at the bottom of the frame where we stood in the water.

Delayed percussive booms traveled across Lake Alma with jarring impact. On the hike out, we heard continued fireworks provided by local residents, mixed with distant thunder provided by Mother Nature. I was glad that Hiker-dog was hunkered down at home since she doesn’t care for loud noises, though she may have been fascinated by the fiery skies over Lake Alma.

With lightning showing thorough the foliage in the distance, we spent some time experimenting with light painting and long exposures. Eric took a photo of me swinging my headlamp around to illuminate the scene.

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Thanks to Eric for the photo coaching. His advice helped me capture some pleasing photos of our small town fireworks show.

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Follow this link to download a pdf of the Alma Park Map 2017.

Be sure to check out Tim Ernst’s website and journal for wilderness stories and photography.

Ozark Highlands Trail on The Trail Show Podcast

The Trail Show

Steven Parker, Maintenance Coordinator for the OHTA, gave an excellent discussion of the Ozark Highlands Trail on The Trail Show podcast. Seven’s interview begins 41 minutes into the podcast.

If you accidentally come in a couple of minutes early, don’t let the heavy metal-like “Back on the Trail” scare you. Just past this shocking sonic experience, you will be treated to a 20-minute discussion of the Ozark Highlands Trail.

Click on link to go to the podcast or paste address into your search window: http://thetrailshow.com/the-trail-show-60-the-oht/

Here’s an earlier blog post that includes some photos of Steven and other volunteers who keep the OHT open. In Praise of Trail Maintainers

Missing the John Muir Trail

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This time last year I was with good friends on the John Muir Trail. While reading a thru-hiker blog, I came across this Maslow quote and immediately pulled out my maps to plan a future adventure.

If you look closely, you can see the John Muir Trail route across the green edge next to the lake below. How I’d love to walk that path again!

My JMT post from last summer: A Few Steps in Paradise

Arkansas’ Island in the Sky

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Cameron Bluff on Mount Magazine

Residents of the Ozarks hanker for higher elevations this time of year. I wish Arkansas had an 8,000-foot mountain, but it would be crowded with the whole state huddled at the top through July and August.

Fortunately, there is a place where you can sometimes escape the south’s summer heat and humidity. Mount Magazine, at 2,753 feet, is Arkansas’ island in the sky and offers a wide array of beautifully maintained hiking trails and facilities.

Years ago, I visited Mount Magazine and saw the remaining footprint of the 1940 WPA Lodge that burned in 1971. The huge stone wall that formed the terrace for that earlier lodge now stands below a massive new lodge, completed in 2006. All rooms feature views across the Blue Mountain Lake and valley. To learn more about the history of this area, check out Don Simons’ book, Mount Magazine (Images of America).

The lodge and surrounding cabins are beautiful as is the campground, located a short walk from Cameron Bluff. We traveled through driving rains in the River Valley to reach Cameron Bluff Campground, arriving in an eerie cloud atop Mount Magazine. The next day brought temperatures in the low 60s, heaven for the summer dayhiker!

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Sunset at Cameron Bluff

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Taking in the views from the North Rim Trail

Hiker-dog and I wanted to hike around the “island” and decided to do a longer variation on the hike I described in Fives Star Trails: The Ozarks. We accessed the trail by the High Point Trail and then added the full length of Mossy Bluff Trail, East Benefield, Bear Hollow, and Will Apple’s Road Trail.
IMG_1890rrWe completed the morning with the North Rim Trail to make a 12-mile loop, arriving back at our campsite ready for lunch and a nap.

Color provided visual highlights along the trail on this summer hike. A lone coneflower called caught my eye as we hiked Mossback Ridge Trail.
IMG_1982rrButterflies danced from bloom to bloom, sometimes landing long enough for a picture, despite my lack of a long lens. Mount Magazine and the nearby town of Paris hosted their 20th (and last) Butterfly Festival in 2016. Thankfully, the diverse butterfly population didn’t get the news release and still arrives on Mount Magazine to enjoy its unique blooms and cool temperatures.
IMG_2098rrIMG_2056rrA subtle collection of frog calls announced our approach to a small hidden pond located on the historical Benefield homestead. While Hiker-dog grabbed a drink, I captured a short sample of the pond’s soundscape.

Between the flowers, bluffline vistas, cool morning air, and wildlife, we ended our day filled with thankfulness for Mount Magazine, our gorgeous green island in the sky!

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The view from Sunrise Rock on the Bear Hollow Trail

A few more glimpses of color and beauty from our hike…

New Lake Alma Trail and Disc Golf Map

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The following link will open a pdf of the Lake Alma Trail Map and Disc Golf Map, suitable for printing or using with your electronic device. We’ll eventually post this link on the City of Alma website. Hardcopies are being distributed through Arkansas Tourism Visitor Centers.

Alma Park Map 2017

  • Thank you to Western Arkansas Planning and Development Commission and Rep Charlotte Douglas for design grant.
  • Thank you Crawford County Advertising and Promotion Commission for printing grant.
  • Thanks to Mayor Keith Greene, the City of Alma staff, and Harry McWater, for technical assistance and support.
  • Thank you to Arkansas Master Naturalists for inspiring me to invest the time to write grants!
  • Thank you to Calvert McBride Printers in Fort Smith
  • Thank you to Kristian Underwood, for his commitment to producing beautiful and functional maps, whether for a city park or the Ozark Highlands Trail!

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A Father’s Influence Along Life’s Trail

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“Helping” my dad do some yard work a few years ago.

Happy Father’s Day –

I have some of my father’s traits and am thankful for those in every case. Sadly, I did not get his 6-pack abs or shiny dark hair, but I’m thankful to have inherited his legs and his enjoyment for walking our little planet. (Use link to read more….)

Source: A Father’s Influence Along Life’s Trail

New Map of Lake Alma Trail and Rec Areas

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Coming soon! A beautiful map of the Lake Alma Trail, Disc Golf and recreation areas designed by Underwood Geographics.

  • Thank you to Western Arkansas Planning and Development Commission and Rep Charlotte Douglas for design grant.
  • Thank you Crawford County Advertising and Promotion Commission for printing grant.
  • Thanks to Mayor Keith Greene, the City of Alma staff, and Harry McWater, for technical assistance and support. 
  • Thank you to Arkansas Master Naturalists for inspiring me to invest the time to write grants!
  • Thank you to Calvert McBride Printers in Fort Smith
  • Thank you to Kristian Underwood, for his commitment to producing beautiful and functional maps, whether for a city park or the Ozark Highlands Trail!

We’ll be able to share this map/brochure in print and digital forms soon!

LAT Map 2

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