Scott and I went on our annual autumn getaway to Arkansas a couple of weeks ago! We have been going every year for 12 years now, and always go with the intent to see the peak of the fall foliage change. We rent a cabin in some remote, secluded, peaceful area of the state (usually a different location every time, although we are very fond of the Mountainburg/Devil's Den area and have been there 3 times), and spend a few days hiking, taking pictures of gorgeous scenery, and relaxing.
This year we arrived at the peak color change! I mean, I really can't imagine it being any better, which really made me happy since photography is always a big part of the trip.....for me, at least! And Scott is very accomodating and tolerant of my constant picture-taking. I rented some lenses for the trip, since I can't really justify the purchase price of the wide-angle Tamron 15-30mm that I fell in love with in Durango, and I also have been wanting to try out a macro lens for years, so I rented a Nikon micro 105mm.
We chose to go to the Ponca/Jasper area this year, and arrived after dark after depositing our children for safe-keeping with various family members along the way.
When we finally found the cabin, way out in the middle of nowhere (as is often the case, and I love it) and even through 2 fields with cows blocking the road, we opened the car doors to find ourselves in the middle of a 40 mph windstorm with blasts of air that felt like they were straight from the Arctic.
It was....a bit surprising, and not exactly a pleasant welcome to our cabin! I was glad I had looked at the weather forecast and packed most of our cold-weather coats, hats, etc.
The next morning, I awoke expecting it to still be cold, of course, but I didn't hear any wind, and I went to the front windows to look out at what was supposed to be a lovely, sweeping view over rolling mountains of perfect fall foliage.
What I saw was.....nothing.
White fog, and nothingness, in all directions.
I was amused at first, commenting that it was kind of cool that we were in the middle of such dense fog. I fully expected the fog to burn off by mid-morning.
But..... it didn't! The fog lasted ALL DAY! Crazy.
So, I decided to embrace this unique and unexpected photo op, and we bundled up and went out to explore around the property where we were staying.
After exploring, we went back inside, had lunch, and played games for a while. I kept looking out the window, hoping the fog would lift, but when it got to be mid-afternoon and nothing looked any different, we decided to go for a short drive and see if we could make our way out of the cloud.
Turns out.....we couldn't drive out of it. It was just as dense, if not more so, several miles away.
At one point, as we were cautiously driving VERY slowly along a curvy county road, a young stag with a nice set of antlers stepped out of the fog from the right side of the road, stopped and looked at us for a second, then jumped over the fence on our left and disappeared into the mist. He appeared and disappeared so suddenly that it felt totally surreal.
But we did find a nice little hiking trail close-by, and took a walk in the rain, with Scott holding an umbrella over my camera as I snapped shots!
We got tired of walking in the rain after about an hour, and went back to the car.
On the drive back from Centerpoint Trail, the fog was definitely still present, but had lightened up some, and we were able to see more of our surroundings, including this beautiful little covered bridge. It was the entrance to a group of cabins that are available to rent, and we might think about going there sometime!
We also drove to the Buffalo River. This had really been the main reason for our choice of Ponca as a destination: I had seen pictures of these bluffs, and had to see them (and photograph them, obviously) myself.
Even with the fog, the bluffs of the Buffalo River Valley did not disappoint! I actually think it added an element of interest to the view. That steel-blue of the rocks jutting out over emerald water and framed by the multi-colored trees just makes for some gorgeous scenery.
Thanks for reading! Coming soon, Day 2 in Ponca.