Weeky Photo Challenge: Ephemeral – Momentary beauty of frost flowers

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ephemeral.”

Frost flower next to the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas

Frost flower next to the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas.

This little heart-shaped frost flower was next to the Ozark Highlands Trail on a winter’s hike. It would be gone within a few minutes as sunshine peeked over the sharp edge of a nearby mountain to the east.

Though these small ephemeral gifts do not last, I have the privilege of carrying them in my memory and sharing them through my camera.

Frost flower

frost flower

Mary Oliver’s words come to mind often on the trail.

Quote Mary Oliver Snow Geese  copy

frost flower

I’m thankful for the “task” of carrying these small gifts with me as I continue down the trail. Thank you for allowing me to share.

Fresh in the ghost town of Rush, Arkansas

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Fresh.”

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Yesterday at dusk, I photographed these new daffodils against the old backdrop of this historic structure in Rush, Arkansas. Many of the structures in Rush were built in the 1920s.

Early mining efforts began in the 1880s as miners prospected for silver. No silver was found, but zinc made the little town thrive as World War I increased the demand beginning in 1914. Rush is now within the boundaries of the Buffalo National River in Marion County.

The contrasts continued. Fresh water flowed from the ancient limestone hillsides next to abandoned mines. I filtered tasty water right off of the surface of the ground next to the trail.

It was easy to fill the filter pouch from water flowing out of limestone bluffs.

It was easy to fill the filter pouch from water flowing out of limestone bluffs.

An artesian stream bubbled up out of the base of a small creek flowing through the town of Rush. The water was clear and cold. I wanted to jump in and let the water chill my toasty feet but decided to settle for a picture and a quick splash on my face and arms.

The artesian flow circle was about four feet across.

The artesian flow circle was about four feet across.

The next morning, some of that sweet water from Rush provided me with a tasty cup of coffee! Mmmm good! The freshness continues.

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Walls of Ice and Stone

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Wall.”

These winter pictures were taken within the last two weeks in the Ozarks. As I load these images, it is a rainy 60-degrees outside. These icy walls are gone but their stone foundations remain.

Ice flows on White Rock Mountain

Ice flows on White Rock Mountain

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Icy waterfall walls.

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Detail of icy waterfall walls

Ozarks homestead stone wall

Ozarks homestead stone wall

Weekly Photo Challenge: Campfire “Reward”

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Reward.”

Campfire at the end of the day.

After hiking in the snow today, I was reminded of what a “reward” a warm campfire is at the end of a cold winter’s day.

Dinner at the end of a long day's hike.

Pasta dinner. 

A hot dinner cooked over the fire is one of life’s simple pleasures and a just “reward” for miles traveled.

Campfire at the end of the day.

Time with friends around the campfire is a great way to end the day on the Ozark Highlands Trail.

Photo Challenge: Scale

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Scale.”

Bluff in the Buffalo River area of Arkansas.

Bluff in the Buffalo River area of Arkansas.

On a recent hike to Hawksbill Crag in the Buffalo River region I was fascinated by a smaller bluff close by. The young lady peeking around into the valley added a sense of scale to the stacked rocks on the bluff.

Little rock in the Grand Canyon

Little rock in the Grand Canyon

Playing with a small rock in the Grand Canyon.

Playing with a small rock in the Grand Canyon.

This photo was from a backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t resist sharing this older photo because it is another example of imposing human scale into the natural landscape.

I photoshopped my hiking buddy out from under the rock in the first version just for fun. Did the addition of human scale influence your perception of the size of the rock from the first photo to the second?

Photo Challenge – Rule of Thirds with Water and Dog

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Rule of Thirds.”

I looked at photos from a hike into Lynn Hollow last Saturday for evidence of the “Rule of Thirds” and found it in use for the following photos among others.

Blue-green swimming hole in Lynn Hollow.

Blue-green swimming hole in Lynn Hollow.

Placing the active movement of water using the rule of thirds is a useful tool.

Small cascade in Lynn Hollow, Ozark Highlands Trail

Small cascade in Lynn Hollow, Ozark Highlands Trail

Hiker-dog heard something in this dead tree that she wanted desperately.  The last photo shows the use of “Rule of Thirds” to place Hiker-dog’s rear for a balanced, and humorous depiction of  typical K-9 behavior.

Hiker pausing from her digging into the trunk of this dead tree.

Hiker pausing from her digging into the trunk of this dead tree.

Hiker-dog doing what dogs do.

Hiker-dog doing what dogs do.

The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself” Boxley Valley Church

Boxley Valley, Arkansas

Boxley Valley, Arkansas

Faith in things you cannot see
Hope in things that may yet be
Mountains and lives intertwined, but free.

Stopped to photograph this church last week while hiking several trails in the Buffalo River region.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”

Photo Challenge: Serenity in Lost Valley

IMG_3990rrSerenity – The state of being calm, at peace, and untroubled. This morning I paused at this pool below the Natural Bridge and Cascade on the Lost Valley Trail. This water flows to the Buffalo National River a short distance away.  Serenity best describes what I felt while taking in this scene.

Inside the cave above Eden Falls

Inside the cave above Eden Falls

A few minutes later I sat in the darkness of  a cave above Eden Falls and light-painted this scene with my flashlight during a 15-second exposure.  The water at my feet flowed down Eden Falls, eventually blending with water flowing from under the Natural Bridge, where I sat earlier.  Inside this cave, I felt like a small piece of the world, observing in peace and serenity.to crawl more often.

The next morning I realized it took a difference set of muscles to crawl into position for this photo.  Just a little sore, but well worth it.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Serenity.”

Unexpected Yellow in the Grand Canyon

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Yellow.”

Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon

Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon

I was surprised by the winter yellow/gold of cottonwood trees in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  In this desert environment, the cottonwood grows close to creeks and streams, especially along Bright Angel Creek as shown here.  Snow covered Indian Gardens Campground the next night, just a few thousand feet higher in elevation.

Hiking up Bright Angel Trail.  Winter gold is gone.

Hiking up Bright Angel Trail two days later. No winter gold to be seen up here.

Ozark Mountain Frost Flower – Gone, But Not Forgotten

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

Frost flower next to the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas, USA

Frost flower next to the Ozark Highlands Trail in Arkansas, USA

This cold morning discovery while thru-hiking the Ozark Highlands Trail was a special little gift.  My wife enjoys looking for heart shapes in nature, and now I’ve picked up the habit.  This frost flower would disappear shortly after being touched by sunlight, but it would never be forgotten.