Bushwhacker Bluff Shelter

DSC_4555Last week we visited one of the bluff shelters along the White River excavated in the 1920s by archaeologist Mark Harrington. From this work, Harrington concluded that there had been a distinct native American culture he called the Ozark Bluff Dwellers. While that notion is no longer considered valid — these were Caddoan people using the bluffs but they interacted with the larger Caddoan society — it still makes an interesting story. The bluff shelters Harrington visited are difficult to find — some may be inundated by Beaver Lake — but we can access this one through a friend’s lake property.

Cottonwood Giganticus!

While in Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, along the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma, my colleague Debby Kaspari and I came cross this gigantic cottonwood tree. I saw some big cottonwoods along the banks of streams in Arizona which far outstripped anything I had seen in Oklahoma for size, but this one takes the prize! Climbing into the tree for a photo was a nonnegotiable for me, and I was able to use a couple of small trees behind this big one as climbing aids. The tree was draped with long, lush strands of Virginia creeper, which blew dramatically in the wind. It is difficult to effectively convey in a photograph the height of this great, and undoubtedly very old, living thing.

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