Monday, August 17, 2009

Ozark Vacation: On Piney Creek with Denny Elrod and Family

An email arrived yesterday from my lovely wife describing their afternoon picnic with Denny Elrod -- of Exploring Izard County (EIC) fame -- and his family:
In the afternoon, I drove to Brockwell and met there Denny's family. Then we drove further to Calico Rock area, and some part of the road was gravel road. We went to a creek called Piney Creek, which belongs to somebody, a doctor of Denny's town. Denny got the key, and we had the privilege to go into the area. It was a beautiful place and an ideal place for kids.
I admit, to my regret, that I've never been to Piney Creek though I've seen it in photos and videos from Denny's EIC website and blog, and the images in today's post come from both Sun-Ae and Denny, for they both took photos. Here's an especially striking image of this rugged, peaceful spot with its isolated swimming hole:

Now, that's merely a 'creek' . . . so you can imagine the bluffs on the more impressive White River -- or you can take a look at a couple of the images that can be found on my Ozark Photoblog from February 2008 (though you'd have to scroll a bit to find them). Here are some more Piney Creek 'bluff' scenes:

Above, with the lower part of the bluff in the background, we see En-Uk as a nearly-skinny-dipping spaceman. Sa-Rah and Denny's daughter, Cecily, have more modesty than En-Uk . . . thank God:

But 'bluffs' offer merely ephemeral interest for En-Uk, whose friend Logan captures a turtle for him . . . according to Sun-Ae:
They swam and had fun with their friends, and En-Uk finally met a turtle. Denny's youngest boy Logan caught it and gave it to En-Uk, who then tortured it, covering it with sand mud so that it cannot escape while he was playing in water. He had at least the mercy to leave the turtle's face uncovered so that it can breathe. Eventually, we let it go. I didn't go into the water and sat in a chair and had good chat with Joy, Denny's wife.
Denny asks if I trained En-Uk:
And . . . did you teach your son to torture turtles? He does it nicely . . . no lasting harm, mind you . . . but the CIA would be interested, I believe, in his techniques!
Perhaps . . . though I don't see any evidence of waterboarding:

Hmmm . . . as I study this image carefully, I begin to think that the so-called 'turtle' looks remarkably like a tortoise. In my opinion, it has been misidentified and wrongly caught up in a dragnet that mistook it for a turtle due to faulty profiling procedures. Should we be astonished in such a case that the 'turtle' might attempt an escape, as it is obviously doing in the above photograph! No doubt, this 'turtle' will complain to the press about having been stopped at the border, and the US will face angry protests around the world in response. But enough about turtles. Let's look instead at a lot of kids, starting with En-Uk and Jonah digging in the sand:

Here's the yet undisturbed portion of this sandbar

A small child (Sun-Ae says not of their party) is testing the waters . . . with a bridge in the background:

Meanwhile, other kids -- Sa-Rah and Cecily, among them -- are swimming in Piney Creek's 'Blue Hole':

Cecily and Sa-Rah appear to be enjoying the water . . . though Sa-Rah seems to think the stream a bit cold:

Here, we see them again . . . playing in a shallow area near some minor 'rapids':

En-Uk, meanwhile, attempts to net some fish:

But without success. Wait, what's this? En-Uk encountered an unusually large aquatic critter?

En-Uk insists that the 'minnow' was this big! And Sa-Rah points the direction in which that gigantic minnow swam off:

As the kids huddle together for safety, Sun-Ae and Denny's wife, Joy, discuss the reputed 'monstrous minnow' . . . doubting the report:

But perhaps the kids should get out of the water just in case such montrous denizens of the deep might actually lurk in Piney Creek's mysterious waters, threatening to engulf and devour. Besides, other adventures beckon . . . like adventures in eating, for as Sun-Ae tells us:
[Denny and his family] brought some hot dogs and chips, drinks, and sweets, so after swimming, Denny made fire, and we fried sausages over the fire poked through a tree branch, which was a new experience.
The fire poked through a tree branch? Or the sausages? Even sausages that have been poked through a tree branch sounds like a weird way to fry them. Such a sausage would not be especially 'edifying' afterwards . . . though I suppose that one would learn a lesson about proper cooking in the arduous effort. Let's turn to Denny's more colloquial, American English:
I'm honored to have cut the sticks for your family's first weenie-roast! Sun-Ae was quite impressed with the cooking utensils.
Oh, I get it now -- the 'tree branch' has been poked through the 'sausage'. That sort of cooking experience is so much a part of my own childhood experience that I would never have thought of introducing my wife and kids to the experience . . . so I am grateful that the idea did occur to Denny, as these images reveal:

More hot-dogging, with En-Uk and Sun-Ae:

But . . . where has Sa-Rah gotten off to? Oh, here she is again (though Sun-Ae is now missing):

Denny has made an excellent, Boy Scout style fire! But eventually, only smoke remains:

The kids are busy sending smoke signals, I presume. And we again see Sun-Ae. But Denny has been nowhere to be seen in any of these photos! Hold on . . . here's a You Tube video, with everybody visible at one time or another:
The Hodges' Piney Creek Adventure
In this EIC video posted by Denny, you'll see him and everbody else! So click without delay! Meanwhile, Sun-Ae bids the Elrods goodbye:
We drove back to Brockwell and said good-bye there. I drove into the night, and it was a great drive for me . . . for driving . . . is . . . good fun. Anyway, we had a nice day, and I was very exhausted from driving.
Um . . . okay. You enjoyed the exhaustion of driving? Well, when you've driven a bit more, Sun-Ae, you'll discover that exhaustion can sometimes be tiring. Anyway, thank you Denny and family for treating my wife and kids to such a wonderful experience in that beautiful, isolated spot on Piney Creek.

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At 5:56 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

Our pleasure!

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm glad to hear that. I guess the kids behaved.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:57 AM, Blogger Jessica said...

While house shopping in So Cal, a real estate agent tried to sell us on a house that bordered the "creek." I was flabbergasted until my husband explained that a 5-foot concrete drainage ditch that's dry 11 1/2 months of the year constitutes a "creek" in this part of the world. You make me long for the Ozarks, as I knew them from the Missouri side.

By the way, if you get a free moment or two, I'd be grateful for your answers to a couple of writing questions on my blog.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jessica, I'd be worried that the California 'creek' might flood during that 1/2 month of rain.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:52 AM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

That looks to be one of the mud or musk turtles.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That's probably because En-Uk dipped it in water and covered it with mud, but I'm positive that it's a tortoise, a land-based turtle that we in the Ozarks erroneously called a terrapin but that is actually a box turtle.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:19 PM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

Ah, right you are: Terrapene carolina triunguis, the "Three-toed Box Turtle". I should have looked more closely, and didn't realize that clicking on the photo would enlarge it. So doing reveals both that it has twelve rather than eleven marginal scutes on each side of its carapace (and so is not a member of the Mud Turtle family), and also the orange spots on the turtle's front legs, which confirm the very subspecies. Sorry for my error.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

No problem. It's an understandable misidentification based on En-Uk's torture techniques.

Once again, we see that torture only produces unreliable information.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:42 AM, Blogger Shela said...

how wonderful it was to stumble over these photos and stories. I haven't seen this area for over 30 years. I camped there with my family sometime around 1978, and I have vivid memories of helping my dear grandmother down to the creek and watching my mother give her a creek bath. We fished, swam and absorbed the absolute beauty of the earth in this spot. I would not even be able to navigate to the 'blue hole' although it would be wonderful to enjoy it again. (My mother swears she could, haha). Thanks for your journal of that visit.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Shela, thanks for visiting, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the memories.

Denny has a lot of images of this place and more over at his blog, Exploring Izard County, so you might want to visit his place. Just Google the blog title of his blog.

Jeffery Hodges

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