Thursday, March 17, 2016

Arkansas & Oklahoma Miscellany

The Monday of our spring break road trip saw Taryn and I make the drive west from Arkansas to Oklahoma. Our plan was to spend most of the day on the Talimena National Scenic Byway, stopping regularly to enjoy the views and maybe do some hiking.

Little Missouri Falls
First we took a little side trip to Little Missouri Falls.  Sucker that I am for running water, it was an easy choice -- especially after all the references I saw to the place in Arkansas tourism guides.

Little Missouri Falls
The falls are a series of cascades just a short walk from the trailhead.  This one section flowing under a fallen tree between two large boulders was especially eye-catching.

Little Missouri Falls
This wide expanse also had a lot of visual appeal, with its numerous tiny rapids.

Little Missouri Falls
Taryn enjoyed the chance to scramble on the rocks a bit after a few hours in the car.

Talimena Scenic Byway
The byway itself was interesting.  Unfortunately, very little was blooming along the ridge yet so the trees were still sparse.  And we were under heavy cloud cover with occasional sprinkles the entire time, so the vistas weren't as impressive as they might be under other circumstances.  So we ended up not stopping very much.  I'm considering coming back in the fall, because driving on the ridge was cool and I'm told the foliage can be really stunning.

Foggy Pond, Indian Highway
Tuesday it was time to return home, with overcast skies still in full effect.  Driving through some fog along the Indian Trail Highway we came across a small pond, where the conditions actually contributed to a very nice atmospheric scene.

Broad-banded Watersnake, Red Slough Wildlife Management Area
We made one final stop at the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area hoping to see some roseate spoonbills or purple gallinules.  Instead we got a rotting coyote carcass and this broad-banded watersnake.  Ah, well -- that's how nature rolls sometimes.

A few short hours later our trip was over and it was back to life as normal.  I'm glad my kids are both still willing to go on these little adventures.  To me, they produce some of what I hope will be our most long-lasting memories regardless of clouds, birds, or anything else we do or don't see.  We get time together experiencing new places, something that can never be taken away.

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