Tim Ernst is tracking storms and waterfalls with this week’s sporadic and scattered storms across the Ozarks! You can read all of Tim Ernst’s Cloudland Cabin Journal entries at this link http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html. Tim Ernst’s home page is at the following link http://timernst.com/index.html. Here is a great clip from his journal today.
05/27/10 The air is filled with sweetness today – sounds of happy birds just waking up to greet the new day, cool air that has been swept clean from recent storms, and beautiful early soft light gently kissing the landscape awake.
We’ve spent a lot of time the past couple of days dodging big thunderstorms, and running around trying to keep our computers and other electrical equipment from getting blown up by them. At one point the local radar showed more than 20 of the bright RED thunderstorms in our area – those are the ones that could destroy thousands of bucks worth of equipment in a single flash. (Sorry, but contrary to popular sales hype, surge “protectors” DO NOT WORK when lightning strikes nearby, nor will the company actually pay a claim for damage – a total waste of money.) So we work as long as we can, then run around frantically shutting down and unplugging computers when the storms get too close. At times this week we’ve had five computers running at once so we have been busy bees!
We’ve been using the wireless connection on the iPam some to track the storms while the other computers have been unplugged – it has been fun to watch these big storms come sweeping right on by, most of the time not dropping a single drop of rain. Yesterday evening there was a big one that developed in northern Boxley Valley and ran right on up the valley past us – we could see all the rain and lightning that was at times just a few feet away, but nary a drop fell on the cabin and the storm raced on upstream to the south and finally disappeared.
The other day I was out on a short ramble just before dark to test out a new pair of snake-proof gaiters when I noticed the sides of all the trees light up with this beautiful color – it had been cloudy most of the day and so no direct light. I got out of the cabin without even my little snapshot camera so all I could do was marvel at the glowing forest. Then it hit me – the light was on the WRONG side of the trees! It was coming from the east – at sunset? When I finally got to an opening in the forest where I could see out I realized that the light was coming from a giant thunderhead that was sitting right on top of Mossville a couple of miles to the east, and the setting sun was bouncing off the big cloud and shining right on over onto our mountain. The cloud was glowing different shades of pink and orange. And in the middle of it all there was a patch of blue sky – with a 3/4 moon shining through! It was all very odd, and spectacular! (here is the cloud after the moon went into hiding again)
Yesterday morning I made a made dash out the door before sunrise to hike into an area of three waterfalls that looked like had received a couple of inches of rain overnight. They were all pretty easy to get to – all in a row right along the Ozark Highlands Trail. But all that rain had been soaked up by the landscape and the waterfalls were not running well enough for photos. What I did discover was the fact that with all of the rains of late, combined with the open canopy above from the ice storm last year, the hiking trail was already overgrown with tall weeds – it is very early in the summer for this to happen, but conditions are just right and so we have the lush weeds. The trail was easy to follow, but just a warning to hikers – be sure to wear LONG PANTS for any hikes on wilderness trails in Arkansas from now on this summer!
One note about ticks and snakes – even though I’ve been bushwhacking through some of the thickest of the thick jungle that you would ever encounter in Arkansas, I’ve only seen one poisonous snake all year, and I’ve only been pulling off one or two ticks a day. Wear bug spray, and watch out for snakes, but don’t let the threat of them keep you from enjoying the woods!
My lovely bride has been busy working on the new ARKANSAS WILDFLOWERS guidebook that we are publishing for the regional wildflower expert, Don Kurz. We are really excited about this new guidebook – it will be much easier to use than anything available for Arkansas before, and will be filled with Don’s great flower photographs. Pam just completed scanning many of those (our dining table has been set up as the scanning station this week – another computer we’ve had to worry about shutting down as storms approach!). Don has been out crisscrossing the state making sure he has new photographs of all the species – more than 400 of them! Pam will do all of the design and layout work with Don’s text starting next week, and we expect to have the book available this fall.
Speaking of Don Kurz, it was great to have a visit from him at Cloudland the other day – always a treat to be in the company of such a botanical wizard as he! If you ever get the chance to go on a hike with Master Kurz it will be well worth your time.
My sister and her husband from Illinois also stopped by for a visit this week, and we spent a delightful day just sitting around and visiting – something I almost NEVER do. The weather was nice and hawks put on quite a show right out in front of us as they soared and dove and played in the air currents above Whitaker Creek.
I’ve been mostly over in the gallery/print room working on some new canvas prints for the ArtFest show in Bentonville in a couple of weeks, and continuing the process of editing pictures for the Arkansas Autumn picture book that I’m SUPPOSED to have done by next week – I’ll be a little bit late on that one I suspect, although there will be several all-nighters in my near future – sometimes I get in that zone and I just keep on working ’til dawn.
No bears yet, but I expect to see one every time I look out the window. We’ve probably had some circling the cabin since the dogs have thrown fits several times – they have a different fit for bears than for people. Now that I have posted this, we’ll probably get hit by a bear tonight! (garbage is in the freezer so he won’t get much)
Wildflowers in Mom’s meadow have exploded of late – May was her month and she wants to make sure that we remember her! Not a day goes by…
The sun has now appeared above the ridge to the east and its warming rays are touching the sea of clouds below – causing them to wake up and start to move around and head out for their appointed rounds. Nothing but blue sky above, but many of those baby clouds will rise up and become puffy white clouds that may drift past your window later today and create a daydream or two…
Courtesy of Tim Ernst. You can read more on his Cloudland Journal at the following link. http://timernst.com/currentjournal.html
Weekend Camping Forecast:
If your outdoor plans leads to camping this weekend, you are in good shape. An isolated afternoon shower is possible on Friday but most of the area will stay dry. Then a weak cool front will push in by Saturday morning. It will bring with it slightly drier air which will make it feel a bit more comfortable. Lately the dewpoint temperature (humidity/moisture level) has been near 70 degrees which makes it feel oppressive outside. The dewpoint will fall to near 60 degrees for the weekend. As a result, it will still feel humid but not oppressive like most of this past week. It will be a great weekend for camping with morning lows around 58 to 60 degrees in northwest Arkansas and 64 to 66 in the river valley. If you are camping through Memorial Day you will wake up to temperatures in the mid to upper 60s with a few scattered showers possible. Scattered thunderstorms are possible through the day with highs in the mid 80s. It will be a great weekend to spend outdoors!
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