01/05/14 Featured Arkansas Photography–Dry Creek Falls in the good times
Taken with a Nikon D1x (remember that camera?) lens most likely Nikon 28-70 at 28mm, F11, for approximately 1 second, iso 200. There are some places in Arkansas that are special for me. Dry Creek (yes that is the name) was one of the best little hidden gems in the Ozarks. This little creek runs for about 3 miles before emptying into Cave Creek which eventually runs into the Buffalo River. Dry Creek Falls is about 2o to 25 feet tall and is unique in that it’s in a grotto that drops away from level ground so if you don’t know what you are looking for, you will walk right by it.
I made my first of many trips to Dry Creek Falls with Jim McDaniel who lives near by. Jim, I hope you are well. That day was a cold and wet January day and I only remembered that I wanted to come back to the falls with a good camera. The spot is really beautiful and is surrounded by different trees species that in the fall and spring really can add some great color to the scene. There is a classic pool below the falls and it was a great swimming hole for years.
In the past back in the 20’s and 30’s locals would come down to the base of the falls and have church services. I probably have hiked down to Dry Creek falls about 20 times but on the day this picture was taken, it was the best. The water was running at a great level, and the fall colors were just perfect. I was using a Nikon D1x 6MP camera which just did not have enough resolution to really capture this scene. I am glad I caught it that fall since I never was able to get the same wonderful fall scene again. I made several trips during the spring, but all my fall trips were dry runs (no pun intended).
Sadly in the 2009, Arkansas suffered through one of the worst ice storms in recent history. The trees around Dry Creek falls were damaged severely and the scene wonder of this spot was ruined. Now all that is there are broken tree tops and mass amounts of trash and broken off trees that have caught up below and at the edge of the falls. Many of the trees that rim the grotto have broken off or worse died and now are just standing dead trees. I tried to hike down to the falls in 2010 with Bob Shull and almost got lost since the trail had been so badly damaged by the winter storm and what looked like a small tornado. We eventually started to walk down the creek as the road that you normally follow was blocked by so many downed trees. By far the most amount of damage was at the falls themselves. They will never really look the same and it may take 50 years or more for the area to fully recover. One more testimony to just how fast nature can take change the way things look overnight.