I’m really excited to have my dad on the blog today. My dad has been a great inspiration in my life. He works behind the scene on Right Kind Of Lost as he edits every post. Today he writes for Right Kind Of Lost about a place that is special to him.
By Lloyd Kuhn
I really like the White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. I’m very fond of Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area in southern Virginia. And in my home state, I love to hike at Mt. Magazine State Park, soak in the awe filling scenery of the mountains of southwest Arkansas, and camp at Lake Ouachita. I have many favorite places to visit and enjoy the outdoors. But one of my favorite places is not as majestic as the White Mountains of Arizona or the Mt. Rogers area of Virginia. It doesn’t even match the grandeur of the mountains in Arkansas. It a small, humble section of Hall Creek in central Dallas County, Arkansas – which is in the Gulf Coastal Plain. But I love hiking down to this part of the creek.
This place is on corporate timberland which means that it is surrounded by pine plantations. But the tree merchants have bypassed this spot on the creek, and it is still very much like it was 50 years ago. It has a beauty that is both subtle and sublime. It is an oasis in the middle of a pine plantation desert an area of lofty hardwood trees flanking a meandering brook.
Old beech trees with roots secured in the bank thrust outward over the water turning toward the sky. A few have aged initials carved in their trunks. Sweet gums are scattered throughout the creek bottom, many with much of the bark around the base chewed away by beavers. White oaks, the prince of the forest, are scattered displaying their distinctive shaggy bark. And of course the holly, both male and females, are quite ubiquitous. The male trees don’t have berries. The females do.
The creek ripples over smooth, round gravel stopping to rest in deep pools followed by more ripples. Sandy beaches, glistening white and smooth, often are engraved with footprints of raccoons, otters, and deer. Sometimes the sand is peppered with bits of gravel. The water is clear – not as a mountain stream but a sort of murky clear.
Creeks of the Gulf Coastal Plain are different from creeks in the mountains. Coastal plain streams wander all over and around leaving small potholes, sloughs, and bogs much like miniature oxbow lakes. Mountain streams shoot through troughs formed by steep hillsides, bouncing from one to the another.
They are always rushing to get somewhere. Coastal plain creeks amble along enjoying the trip as they go. When it rains, mountain creeks get angry quickly. Coastal plain creeks move slowly to anger but stay angry longer, spilling all over everything.
The creek is lined with debris from former rains. You can see leaves caught in a bush or trapped by a log which causes a small dam. Then there are fallen logs traversing from one bank to the other, making precarious bridges.
When I was growing up, I often went down to my spot on the creek. I was enamored with it then, just as I still am today. It hasn’t changed much over all these years, unlike the surrounding area.
At that time, most of the forest around the creek was second growth, mixed pine and hardwood forest. Much of it contained lofty tree tops and an open forest floor. In many places you could see for a city block. All that is left is this one special place on the creek. When I go down to the creek, those memories come back. Those were happy days.
I like to go in January, February, and early March. Late October, November, and December would be great times to go, but the deer are plentiful and so are the hunters. It is private land and the land owners have leased the hunting rights. But after December, the land relaxes and doesn’t seem to mind a peaceful intruder who only wants to take pictures and relax along with it, enjoying the peace and solitude. Often I just sit down on the bank or by a tree-enjoying the docile flow of the water, listening to the birds and the wind through the tree tops. Every now and then a raucous cry from a blue jay or a pileated woodpecker breaks the rhythmical tones of the forest and unfortunately so does the droning hiss of a jet airplane flying high overhead.
Do you have a favorite place or do you prefer exploring new places? Favorite Places Versus Exploring New Place.
Summertime is not a good time to go. There are too many ticks, chigger, snakes, and the all too obnoxious bugs and mosquitos. Also, the leaves obscure much of the scenery and the light. The wintertime light is really nice. The air is clearer in the winter because it doesn’t hold as much water. Hot air holds more water than cold air. Relative humidity is, well, relative. Also, the sun in the winter is always at an angle. Even at noon it is in the south. So it always casts shadows which gives everything from the bark on the trees to the whole landscape more contrast and texture. Because there are no leaves on the trees, more sunlight shines through and reflects from the deep pools and the riffles.
I love that little spot on the creek. It truly does restore my soul. A favorite place doesn’t have to be something as grandiose as Yellowstone or even a state park. It could be anyplace that reflects the beauty of nature and gives you peace of mind and helps you contemplate your place in the world and the universe.