We live in the neighborhood of upper Kings River, in Madison county near the Newton county line (Arkansas). Kings River Falls are not too far away as the crow flies. The landscape here is rocky heart of the Boston Mountain range Ozarks, with very little flat ground away from the river valleys. Our 160 acres of Wild Ozark is not in a river valley. It’s mostly benches of ancient seabed eroded over the millennia into trenches, with only a little bit of flat ground. Those trenches evolved into the hollers that offer so much of the biodiversity that I love.
Crossing the Kings River Bridge
A couple of miles down the dirt road that leads to our sanctuary is where we encounter the first Kings River bridge as we head back to the pavement. When I first moved here, there was only the low-water bridge. I worked in Bentonville and so traveled the roads twice daily, going in and out. Lots of memories gained crossing that bridge during rains.
Several years ago, the bridge was just a concrete low-water crossing, like the other five bridges on our road. The first two bridges we cross are over Felkins creek, another inspiring waterway that will eventually be commemorated in the Ozark pigments that I paint with. The other three cross over little tributaries that lead into Kings river as well. In our landscape, all water leads to Kings River at some point or another, as we are in the watershed of that beautiful river.
Often times, the first bridge across Felkins had already flooded. At that point, it’s either turn around and go home, or try the back way out. But when that happens, we can never make it to the Kings river bridge. Sometimes I’d race to make it past the first two bridges. The goal – to get over this third one before the water rose too high. Once, I made it across the first bridge at Felkins, but the second bridge was already flooded too high. So I turned around to go back across the one I’d crossed, and found it flooded there then too. Nothing to do but wait it out at that point. I spent several hours parked on high ground waiting for the storm to pass and the water to go down so I could get back home.
A couple of more miles down the road is one of the spots I like to wade across and look for yellow rocks.
Choosing Which Ones to Paint
I’ll choose 4 of the photos in my collection of Kings River photos. My goal is to paint one from each of the four seasons. In my next post, I’ll show you the ones that made the cut. I may even just go down to the bridge and paint a little plein air during spring or summer. I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy doing that with oil paints or not. It might be too much of a mess. But it would be fun, and a learning experience.