Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trip to the Ouachitas

The stuff hanging from the tree is a lichen (algae/fungi hybrid) appropriately called "old man's beard"
Fossil field near Waldron a few miles from Oklahoma
An old school house just outside Waldron

I am scheduled to teach a course in biogeography in the the spring and plan to incorporate field trips to all six regions of Arkansas. I really need to visit those sites I plan to take the students to during the course, so I started this week by visiting one of those regions called the Ouachita mountains. Bismarck is actually in the foothills of the Ouachita mountains, but Debbie and I went to the heart of the Ouachitas on Friday. I wanted to check out a fossil site I was at two years ago to be sure the fossils were still unburied. The fossils were unearthed by an open-pit coal mining company and just spread all over the ground. However, the company has moved on and most of the area is now covered in topsoil and grass, but a few bare places remain and a small pit. Debbie and I were able to find a few fossils in a matter of minutes so the trip will be on for the spring. We plan on making trips to the other 5 regions over the Christmas break. The other regions include the Ozarks, the West Gulf Coastal Plain, the Arkansas River Valley, the Delta, and Crowley's Ridge. This is the reason it was so difficult to describe this state to non-Arkansans. It really just depends upon where you are in the state.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hiking with Brayden

We took full advantage of a nice cool fall day and Brayden's visit. Lake Catherine is less than an hour away and the State Park had some hiking trails we had never been on before. Brayden really likes the outdoors and especially enjoyed crossing the many bridges on this trail.

Rock Thrower

There must be a rock-throwing gene on the "Y" chromosome. Every boy I have ever known could entertain himself for hours with rocks and some body of water into which to throw them. Our two mile hike on Saturday turned into a 3 hour excursion due to all the pools of water along the trail. Brayden threw and threw and threw-- left-handed, right-handed, both-handed --big rocks, small rocks-- it didn't matter. So much for all those expensive toys, remember the best things in life are free!


No, we didn't let him eat the rocks. But we did give him chocolate pop tarts for breakfast.