Snow in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness

January 23, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

My background is in meteorology, so I follow the latest computer weather models rather closely. As I like to say, weather is the ultimate wildcard in landscape photography. On Friday night, I noticed an upward trend in accumulating snowfall potential in northern and western Arkansas, particularly to the south and east of my hometown of Fayetteville. So before daylight Saturday morning, I headed toward my cabin in Newton County. Sleet and snow fell for the first half of Saturday and when it ended Saturday afternoon I measured 1.8 inches of snow.  

Clouds began to clear late Saturday night, so I headed out on an early morning to Hawksbill Crag. With fresh snow on the ground and a full moon lighting up the ground, I didn't even need my headlamp on my hike. I arrived at the Crag at about 5:30am with temperatures in the lower teens. The moon was still out but getting low enough in the sky to create shadows on some the landscape.  

The moon was shining on the mountains behind the Crag, but the Crag itself was in the shadow. In retrospect, perhaps I should have been there about an hour earlier when the Crag would have still been in the moonlight. However, I then would have had to wait even longer in the cold for the dawn light to arrive. After waiting about an hour in the cold, I finally caught this image. 

Hawksbill Crag Snowy DawnHawksbill Crag Snowy Dawn

I also hiked out to a small unnamed waterfall inside the Upper Buffalo Wilderness. This drainage is full of beech trees that still retain their leaves all winter and this added some color to the snowy landscape.  

Snowy waterfallSnowy waterfall

Snow is usually infrequent to the Ozarks, so I was glad to take advantage of this unique opportunity. We will see if this winter season still offers more scenes like this.