Last week I wrote a blog about the how beautiful my hometown Mena is in the fall. This weekend I took a photo excursion through the Ouachita National Forest to Shady Lake. I think this weekend is probably the peak of the fall color season. The Ouachita Mountains in the fall are as pretty a place as you can find.
Shady Lake is a 25-acre lake in the Ouachita National Forest served by an accompanying U.S. Forest Service recreation area. The lake's dam and some facilities within the recreation area were constructed by workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938.
FALL COLOR AT SHADY LAKE
The recreation area includes more than 90 campsites, a swimming beach, playground, hiking trails, picnic shelter, a grass boat ramp and other recreational facilities.
Game fish found in the lake include largemouth bass, catfish and sunfish species. Only rod-and-reel and pole fishing is allowed. Only electric motors may be used on boats.
We hiked the interpretive trail that is just a short distance from the campground at Shady Lake. It was an absolutely perfect fall day with sunshine and temperatures in the low 70's. We were surrounded with such awesome beauty that it was hard to decide what to photograph. This was my favorite photo taken on the hike.
The picture is best viewed large which you can do here. The scene from the same spot, but taken upriver instead of down river, shows a stone bridge across the river.
STONE BRIDGE NEAR SHADY LAKE
On our way home from Shady Lake we drove to the top of Tall Peak. The road is really rough, but the view is worth it.
ON THE WAY TO TALL PEAK
VIEW FROM TALL PEAK ROAD
Most of the drive through the Ouachita National Forest can best be described by the saying, "you can't see the forest for the trees". There is beautiful fall foliage everywhere but it is hard to capture the beauty with film. The only vista along the drive with a place to pull off the road and park is Sugar Creek Vista. There you can literally see for miles and miles.
SUGAR CREEK VISTA
ANOTHER VIEW FROM SUGAR CREEK VISTA
The drive was one of the most enjoyable that I can remember. Fall is one of the most enjoyable times to hike in Arkansas. The summer heat can make hiking unpleasant, and we have a good supply of ticks and chiggers. The cooler temperatures and the splendid fall colors make a hiking a lot of fun. If you don't believe me believe the picture.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.