Fall Drive to Ponca

  • November 5, 2013

I was SO looking forward to driving up to Ponca early in the morning to shoot waterfalls.  The colors were peaking and weathermen were warning about getting up to 4 inches of rain! Yahoo! I got totally excited over that wonderful combination! Well, weathermen stink! We got less than an inch and waterfalls just weren’t flowing. I almost canceled my trip completely but decided to take a photo journey anyways. It was a blast as I got to explore new areas and take in the beauty around me.

I decided to first stop at Iron Springs along Hwy 7. I had passed by this area many times but this was my first time to stop. What a cool area! Lucky for me there was some water moving here. Not much, but it still made for a beautiful picture! Notice the subtle fog along the surface of the water. It was quite cool this morning which added to the atmosphere. I think the first photo may have been my personal favorite of the trip!

FYI, click the pics to see them in their medium-resolution splendor!

Ponca trip in the Fall-1

I noticed a bridge across the creek and a trail head sign on the other side. I love how the colors reflected off of the water!

Ponca trip in the Fall-7

The trail sign said there was a vista point at the top. Cool! I think it was supposed to be 1.1 miles round trip, but mostly vertical. It was a pretty decent workout especially while caring around 20 pounds of photo gear and a tripod. Along the way I found this log and loved how these yellow leaves stood out from the rest.

Ponca trip in the Fall-2

Finally at the top! The hills, colors, and fog were beautiful!

Ponca trip in the Fall-3

Ponca trip in the Fall-4

Ponca trip in the Fall-5

This one red tree stood out as I made my way back down the trail. The sun was hitting it just right and it practically glowed! After this shot I started walking further down the path and stepped over a tree that had fallen across the path. I misjudged the slope and ended up raking my shin across the bark nice and deep. Joy.

Ponca trip in the Fall-6

At this point, I wasn’t really sure where to go next. I wasn’t actually thinking about Ponca at this point so I just headed up Hwy 7 North. I wasn’t in a rush so I just thought I’d take a side-road I came across. I didn’t take it far, but it was beautiful with the colors and the sun rays piercing through every little bit.

Ponca trip in the Fall-8

I’ve passed by this old gas station many times but was always in a rush. This time I decided to pull over and snap a few shots. I wonder what this place was like back in its prime!

Ponca trip in the Fall-9

Oh look, another side road!  Let’s check it out! What do you find at the end of a road like this? …

Ponca trip in the Fall-11

Why, a cemetery of course! Goat Bluff Cemetery to be exact.

Ponca trip in the Fall-10

So, now I’m wondering where to go next. It’s too late in the day and clear skies which is horrible for pictures. Oh well, I decided to go anyways just for fun! On my way toward Ponca I pulled over at this overlook.

Ponca trip in the Fall-12

Ok, so now I’m in Ponca and I realize a problem. Where I’m at it appears to be past peak already. Bummer. I decided to check out the covered bridge. I had been wanting to photograph it ever since I learned about it! I get to the spot and I’m WAY DISAPPOINTED! What in the world happened to the top of the bridge!?!? Ever photo I’ve seen there was a roof! I guess they’re working on it. Problem #2, harsh sunlight. Problem #3, hardly any water running. Oh well, I didn’t come all this way just to NOT take a photo! 🙂

Ponca trip in the Fall-13

Next I head down to a spot that leads me to the Buffalo River. Meh, not much action going on there either but I did the best I could given the conditions. FYI, colorful trees look MUCH better during overcast skies rather than clear.

Ponca trip in the Fall-14

Ponca trip in the Fall-15

I figured I might as well take the time to cross the road and shoot the historic site while I was here. Quite pretty with the beautiful yellow leaves! This was one of the prettiest trees on this side of the mountain between Ponca and Jasper. I wish I had more time so I could explore other areas of Ponca and especially Hawks Bill Crag, but time was running low.

Ponca trip in the Fall-16

On the way from Ponca to Jasper I noticed this barn up a hill with beautiful fall colors on the mountain behind it. Coolness!

Ponca trip in the Fall-17

I guess I was in a barn mood. This would have been a WAY better shot early or late in the day or with overcast skies. I just couldn’t balance the lights and shadows with the sun directly overhead.

Ponca trip in the Fall-18

Same barn, different angle. This shot shows off the bluff line in the background a little better.

Ponca trip in the Fall-19

Just to the right of the barn were these vibrant trees. That darn sun still made it hard to recreate!

Ponca trip in the Fall-20

Ok, so I crossed over the mountain in to Jasper and I can NOT go through Jasper without eating at the Ozark Cafe! Get the zesty burger, your taste buds won’t regret it (but your digestive system and arteries might)!

Ponca trip in the Fall-21

So, I’m sitting there eating my burger when I see a guy walk in. Talk about character! He is a biker wearing a leather vest, has a white Colonel Sanders chin beard, and a leather top hat! I couldn’t resist so I asked him if I could take his picture. This guy was great! he couldn’t have been any nicer and gladly posed for me. He lives in Mt. Home and was there with some friends who lived in Texas. I mean, look at him… how could I pass up the opportunity!?

Ponca trip in the Fall-22

Now I’m done with lunch, done stalking people, and it’s time I head to Little Rock to get our Color Run packets for the next day. Believe it or not, I snapped this shot out the window as I drove off. I think this is the most beautiful part of Arkansas and I can’t wait to go back!

Ponca trip in the Fall-24

Been to Little Rock and now almost home. The sun decided to show off some pizzazz so I took another drive by, out the window shot! Look at the sun rays spiking down, but also some odd rays aimed upward. I guess those aren’t actually rays, but just where the sun was piercing through the clouds. It made for very cool and unusual pattern. What a great way to end a long but fun photo adventure! Thank  you Lord for surrounding us with such beauty!

Ponca trip in the Fall-25

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