Fall 2019

4 09, 2019

High Pointing Part Seven – The Odds and Ends

By |2019-12-12T11:44:24-06:00September 4th, 2019|Categories: Fall 2019, Pack & Paddle|

This is the seventh in a series of my adventures to visit as many of the fifty US states' highest points as I can. Last time we took look at two trips to visit the southern Appalachians in 2010 and 2013. You may have noticed that most of the stories have revolved around a specific trip to visit many sites in one big trip or take advantage of the fact that I'm in the vicinity of a high point. This time we will take a look at those high points I detoured to see because I was doing something else and it was nearby. The states covered in this episode are Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana and Ohio. Arizona If you've ever traveled out I-40 west towards Flagstaff, about fifty miles out you begin to see a lone peak growing bigger as you make your way west. This is the highest point in Arizona, Humphreys Peak, 12,633 feet above sea-level. In September 2004 I was part of an Arkansas group that was headed to Havasupai.  We had a second bunch on our permit from Tennessee and had to wait a day for them to fly to Las Vegas. To use our [...]

4 09, 2019

The Myth of the Thong Tree

By |2019-12-12T11:44:31-06:00September 4th, 2019|Categories: Fall 2019, Pack & Paddle|

Informal outdoor lore in the Ozarks often includes references to something called a thong tree.  These are trees that have been bent over and forced  to grow upright from the far end of the pushed-over stem.   Lore has it that these are deliberate signs created by native American and early explorers intended to point the way towards some objective such as campsite or mountain trail.  There are a number of reasons to suspect this kind of story.  There are no documented references to thong trees in the journals produced by early visitors to our area like Schoolcraft and Nuttall.  Moreover, there are so many examples of such bent over trees that it is hard to believe that the sparse distribution of early settlers would need to mark so many trails.  The single known reference to trees trimmed by explorers to mark the way comes from French traders in northern Canada where waterways were disorganized into a complex maze by past glacier activity and the landscape is covered by a monotonous spruce forest.  Branches would be pruned on spruce trees located on prominent points of land adjacent to portages or river tributaries as a way of marking these locations.  Because [...]

4 09, 2019

Ozark Society News and Happenings

By |2019-12-12T11:44:41-06:00September 4th, 2019|Categories: Fall 2019, Pack & Paddle|

C&H Buy Out – On June 13, 2019 Governor Hutchinson announced the “agreement” to close the C&H Hog Farm.  The buy-out money, 5.2 million from the Arkansas Department of Heritage and 1 million from Arkansas Nature Conservancy, is in escrow.   But more than two months later the 180-day close down has not started yet because of an issue over potential liens.  Still we are assured that the deal will stick.  Basically, the 9-page agreement establishes a conservation easement to the State of Arkansas which permanently prohibits CAFO operations on the property but does allow most other types of farming or even a housing development.  The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (now DEQ under the recent governmental reorganization) has the responsibility for directing facility remediation and continuing monitoring. Permanent Moratorium on Swine CAFO’s – The current moratorium on medium and large swine CAFO’s in the Buffalo River watershed is due to expire in 2020.  But it makes no sense to spend 6.2 million dollars to preserve “the historical, cultural, and recreational significance of the Buffalo National River” without making the moratorium permanent.  DEQ made that recommendation at the July 26 meeting of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology and received [...]