LITTLE BLUFF JOURNAL - NOVEMBER 2021 (previous months)


Little Bluff cabin cam November 29 - that's Mrs. Clause's studio this morning - on the upper level above the garage (where she paints and quilts) - she has the BEST view looking several miles eastward to the Little Buffalo River valley and bluffs. HAPPY TUESDAY TO YOU!

Journal updated on the 29th

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BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER 50th ANNIVERSARY posters now available! (photos by Tim Ernst)

CLICK HERE for info and to order - limited to just 50 prints of each scene.


NOTE: our canvas gallery is OPEN all the time - by appointment only - give us a call, text, or email to reserve a time! (so far we don't have anyone coming to the gallery this weekend so currently ALL times are available)

2022 ARKANSAS wall calendar now shipping! - click here for info

(*note that we did not publish an engagement calendar for 2022)

11/01/21 There was quite a bit of color in the sky at dawn today (photo below), along with wet, misty landscapes - a perfect day for hiking! I spent most of the day in the gallery working on a computer that’s getting more cantankerous by the minute. By late morning I was too. So I took a break and went for a hike around the loop trail here, and oh my goodness it was as good for the soul as it was for my mood - just BEAUTIFUL in the deep woods!

At one point my hearing started to fade into white noise without any distinct sounds. I figured that since my mind had wandered off a bit that perhaps my hearing had too. When I stopped to study myself, I realized that the white noise was actually soft raindrops - I had a stocking cap on and a hooded jacket pulled ‘round my ears tight, the rainfall was smacking the hood so much so that the drops were all I could hear. Not bad way to spend a few minutes really, and the old misbehaving computer woes dissolved into the landscape...

Later in the day Kinnie Woods arrived at the gallery - and he brought a gift - fresh, homemade apple butter! And not only was it fresh, the apples came from my most favorite apple tree on the planet! So many fond memories of this little tree that always produced rock-hard small apples that hardly any set of teeth could penetrate. But each year when they began to drop I’d pick up a few and give them a bite - sometimes almost breaking a tooth off! They were almost impossible to chew, but the reason I kept trying them was the fact they were always so SWEET! Kennie said this year the apples were different - not rock solid - but just as sweet. I’ll let ya know tomorrow...

It was still cloudy and pitch black when I headed back up to the gallery after dinner (and a Dolly Pardon documentary on Netflix). There was no need to worry about snakes since the temp was 42 and the ground still pretty wet. I didn’t bother with a flashlight, and while I could not see much of the ground even after my eyes got adjusted, I was able to follow the narrow track of white gravel along our driveway up to the gallery just fine. I LOVE walking in the woods at night! November is gonna be a great month...





11/07/21 Late yesterday as I drove towards the 40th birthday celebration for the hiking club that my brother and I started in 1981 (the Ozark Highlands Trail Association), I stopped to get this snapshot of evening light on the Mulberry River near Oark. A while later I hiked up to the highest point on the Ozark Highlands Trail (a great hiking trail that our club spent more than 300,000 hours building that decade) as the last rays of sunset slipped below a distant ridgetop (where we used to deer hunt as boys). There was a hearty group of hikers gathered round a big campfire for the celebration - I had led the first 27 or 28 of these “Hike-In’s” but had not attended one since stepping away from leadership duties in 2009. It was great to see so many smiling faces and display of tents pitched all over. I was the only geezer there who had attended the first Hike-In back in 1982, but I bet many of those who have gone to the great trail in the sky were looking down on us with a raised mug of grog. Back at ya guys! It was a joy to stand back in the shadows and listen to the music of conversation - many from much younger hikers who we hope will take up the torch and continue the traditions of the trail. A couple hours later as the conversations and embers calmed down I slowly walked away from the fire into the darkness and hiked two miles back to the van for the long drive home.



11/10/21 Here's one of dozens of puffball mushrooms in the front yard - see what happens when I step...






11/23/21 Here's the trail to the office (below) - always a beautiful hike back and forth that we get to enjoy many times each day.


11/25/21 I sat in the dark this morning sipping java watching for 30 minutes as the colors in the east grew and shrank, lighting up individual layers of clouds, sometimes filling the entire sky with delight. Howling winds at sustained speeds of 30-40mph nearly blew my bathrobe off when I stepped outside to snap this photo - hold on, the cold front is coming


11/25/21 We got enough rain overnight to get our waterfalls running - this one WAS along the creek side of the trail up to the gallery - YIPPIE!


11/28/21 Speaking of bluffs (the new Buffalo National 50th Anniversary poster-prints), here's a snapshot of the bluffs at Upper Pruitt on the Buffalo River this morning - very still and quiet for a perfect reflection. My bride dropped me off at Lower Pruitt (on her way to get groceries in town) and I hiked the Mill Creek Trail to check on conditins for a guidebook update (low water bridge across Mill Creek has been removed and a GIANT bridge now in its place - so you either have to wade the creek or climb up and cross on the big bridge - nice view from up there. On the way back I hiked the Hwy. 7 bridge to the picnic area at Upper Pruitt where I took this photo - it's a lovely place to visit - HAPPY SUNDAY TO YOU!


11/29/21 Another dawn found me back on the couch sipping my most favorite breakfast - FROZEN SMOOTHIE! (protein mix, almond milk, lowfat vanilla yogurt, handful of fresh spinach, cup of frozen fruit, water) After more than two years of this almost every day I still love it - every sip! When I’m on the run it’s a pain because it takes me 10-15 minutes to consume it. But on days like today before the sun has risen it’s great to just sit and enjoy both the new day and my frozen delight.

But I did get a late start and the sun was already rising as the pups and I headed out into the woods to do the freshly-blown loop trail. Seems like the leaffall this year has piled up more and more leaves than normal - some places in the forest are literally a foot deep or more. I love the aroma of the dried out crispy leaves in the forest - nothing else smells like that (not the musty smell of wet, decaying leaves - but the much cleaner and more earthy notes of crispy leaves).

I blew all those leaves off the trail once last week, but a lot more piled up since and I was beginning to slip and slide while hiking across some of the steeper terrain on our little trail. But this morning it was clean and clear and GREAT hiking - only bare dirt or rocks for my boots to dig into!

Blowing the trail is usually easy - you literally just hike along at a slow pace and the big fat battery-powered blower clear the way. But yesterday I decided I would try and get the creek side of the trail blown off with a single battery charge (the batts weigh about 5#s each, normally takes me at least two and sometime three batts to do that half of the trail). Wilson loves to hike along right in front of the blower - he seems to like getting covered with leaves. But when I realized I might actually be able to get the chore done on one batt I had to pick up my pace - and I ended up quite literally blowing the leaves up Wilson’s, well, you know.

The faster I hiked the more he got in the way, sometimes he would leave the trail and let me pass, only to run past me up ahead again. By the time I reached the last part of the hill I was walking as fast as I could - probably jogging even. I had to run the blower on slow power to save the batt, but it had to be fast enough to blow leaves while keeping up with my pace. Wilson was not amused. But we MADE IT all the way to Pam’s swing and back to the driveway! I was toast and I think even Wilson laid down to take a breather.

Anyway, back to this morning. As I switchbacked down through the “boulder jumble” section of our property I could see the hillsides in the distance lighting up with the first golden rays of sunshine, and the more I hiked the more sunshine spilled into the valley off to my right. It was a GLORIOUS sunrise and oh so nice to be in the middle of the forest surrounded by it all!

One problem though - Mia hit on something up the hillside somewhere and began to bark like she was being chased by a bear. Wilson and I paused for a moment to appraise the situation, then assumed she probably had just treed a squirrel and wanted some help. So naturally we just continued on up the trail, stopping now and then to make sure she was still barking at something. By the time we reached Pam’s bench the wind was blowing and we could no longer hear her. OK, ok, maybe we should go have a look. So we turned around and started to bushwhack across the steep hillside (and through deep leaves) and suddenly Mia appeared - smiling and wagging like normal. I think what she really wanted was just to be noticed, and once we turned around to go look for her, she was fine...

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