Visiting the Ozarks

Visiting the Ozarks

Arkansas Ozarks Barn Arkansas Ozarks Bowl
Years later I returned to Arkansas in a better time of year and with a better camera. I did a dedicated trip to the Ozarks which is a beautiful rural area of the north central areas of the state. Here is one of the few places in the country where you can largely see huge swaths of land without buildings and homes in the way. There are of course country roads and the occasional small town or barn along the way, but for the most part the Ozarks are one of the best wilderness areas in this part of the country.
Arkansas Ozarks Ozarks
These above photos were taken along Arkansas’ scenic highway 7. Believe it or not, the area above is commonly referred to the Grand Canyons of Arkansas. Whoever made that claim has obviously never been to the grand canyons. As beautiful as the Ozarks are with their rolling mountains and lush valleys they can’t possibly be compared to one of the world’s largest desert canyons. The photo above was taken from a view tower along Route 7. The elevation of the Ozarks are relatively low, with the highest peak being around 2,500 feet.
Arkansas Ozarks Lizard Arkansas Ozarks Turtle
The only reptiles I came across where lizards like the one above and the three toed turtle on the right. I actually saw the three-toed turtle on the road. I normally don’t pick up hitchhikers but I figured he might get run over, plus I wanted to use my macro lens on him! Below are two macro photos. I saw his reddish features when I had first picked him up, but the macro lens and flash really brought out the colors and unique patterns. On the lower right is the turtle’s scaly front leg. The scales seem to be so thick you can’t visually tell he has an elbow there.
Box Turtle Turtle Scales
Arkansas Ozarks Glory Hole Arkansas Ozarks Glory Hole
Most of the large rocks and stones thrown about in the /zarks lead to some interesting geography. The large hole you see in the upper left is actually the result of a small waterfall that eventually penetrated through the stone over tens of thousands of years. This place is known as the glory hole, but without a person in the photo it’s hard to get perspective on the size. I’d estimate it to be a few feet wide so you could easily get several people to fit through the glory hole at the same time. On the right is a photo of the glory hole from underneath the massive rock with a little bit of light making it through. During wet conditions this forms an interesting waterfall.
Arkansas Ozarks Whitetaker Point Ozarks Whitaker Point
I did a great hike in the Ozarks to Whitaker Point. The hike itself was really fun, changing from a basic hike to the woods to some great overlooks along this ledge above. Whitaker Point is one of the most beautiful places in Arkansas.
Arkansas Ozarks Stone Arkansas Ozarks Leaves
Other shots from my hike show this massive stone all by itself in the middle of the woods. It was also still deep in summer yet some of the gusty winds sent a bunch of leaves coming down photographed on the right.
Arkansas Ozarks Creek Dry Arkansas Ozarks Cave
This creek on the left was completely dried out when I visited, so it must have been in the middle of a dry spell. On the right is a massive cave I came across during my hike. I imagine that hundreds of years ago this provided the perfect camp for native Americans. Some of the wetter parts I came across was this large but slow moving creek. The water was so clear I could easily see fish like the one on the lower left. Since everything else was so dry here, I imagine this could be a powerful flow of water after a rainstorm.
Arkansas Ozarks Fish Arkansas Ozarks Creek
Arkansas Ozarks Bugs Arkansas Ozarks Bugs Mating
These surrounding photos are a collection of random bugs I came across. I’m not sure the species of the bugs above on the flower or the guy on the lower left, but I believe they are native to my home state of Virginia. On the lower right of course is a butterfly.
Arkansas Ozarks Bug Arkansas Ozarks Butterfly
Arkansas Ozarks Frog Arkansas Ozarks Woodpecker
The only amphibian and bird I caught with my camera is the well camouflaged frog above and the red headed wood pecker to the right. I only noticed the frog because he was jumping around and got my attention. Likewise the woodpecker was making a racket so I spotted him almost directly above me. Earlier in the hike I had come across a large bird that was also making a bunch of noise high up in a tree. Whatever he was doing, building a nest or just having a tantrum, he was sending a lot of leaves and small branches crashing down. There was too much foliage to see him, and I got a quick glimpse of what I think was a large hawk as he finally flew away.