• Photo Diary: Jeff Rose

    Cutting through the Ozark Mountains for 135 miles, Buffalo National River is known for its rapids, pools, sink holes, caves, and springs and the 500 foot tall sandstone and limestone bluffs that tower above its banks. Arkansas-based photographer Jeff Rose is no stranger to outdoor adventures. We tag along with his friends and golden retriever on a hiking and camping trip to the Buffalo National River. Jeff took to the banks and bluffs of the nation’s first national river for some late night hikes, awesome views, and great times with old friends. Scroll on to see his photos. 
    Photos by Jeff Rose

    Can you tell us a bit about your background? 
    I'm a 29-year-old freelance photographer born, raised, and living in Arkansas. I spend most of my time in the Ozark mountains hiking with friends (a lot of the same ones that accompanied me on this trip) and my girlfriend, Shelby. When I'm home, I'm usually editing photos, updating my website, or spending time with family.

    How’s life in Arkansas?
    Life in Arkansas is great! Like a lot of the South, it unfortunately often gets a bad rap, but Arkansas is really a hidden gem. In addition to the Ozarks, you have the Ouachitas, and a ton of other amazing natural areas. We have some bigger cities but the real charm of Arkansas lies with its small towns. Contrary to popular opinion, there are a lot of forward thinking people and idealists with big dreams looking to positively influence their communities and the world. If sitting in traffic for hours every day or paying a fortune per square foot of real estate is your thing then Arkansas is probably not for you, but for everyone else, you should check us out. You may be surprised.

    Have you always had an appreciation for the outdoors?
    Oh yeah! My parents were taking me camping before I could walk and I grew up exploring my parents property with my brother. Those acres of woods and fields were a wonderland for us and I've kept that wonderment for the outdoors ever since.

    What got you into photography?
    I've always had a passion for art. Since I could hold a crayon I've been trying to capture the world around me. Most of my life that urge had been fulfilled by pens, pencils, and the occasional brush. It was only within the past five or six years that I picked up a camera for a college course and realized it was a perfect medium for my expression. After coupling it with my passion for the outdoors there was no turning back.

    What kind of experiences do you think helped you develop your skills?
    The majority of my photography is taken outdoors in wilderness areas where I have no control over lighting or other conditions. Over time, having to adjust my settings constantly and learn how to overcome obstacles I encounter has definitely helped me to hone my skills.

    Talk to us about the location you adventured through. What were some of the cool spots you stopped at?
    The trail is called the Centerpoint Trail. Located in the upper Buffalo Wilderness Area in the mountains above the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. This trail is one of my absolute favorites because you can access a spur trail (the Goat Trail) from it. This trail leads out to a narrow ledge of Mid-America’s tallest bluff, appropriately named "Big Bluff". Not only is the ledge trail extremely scenic in its own right, with ancient cedars and cave shelters, but it also has one of the best views of the Buffalo River I've seen so far. It’s truly spectacular.

    Any crazy camping stories from previous adventures? Or this one?
    It seems like every adventure has some crazy story in some shape or form. As for this trip: my buddy Brent stepped on a (thankfully lethargic) copperhead, it poured for about 8 hours with a 0% chance of rain and the majority of us only had hammocks (without tarps) to sleep in, and we all got to hear one of the craziest (I'm assuming) mating arguments between two owls over our campsite at about 3 in the a.m. Those are the things that stay with you when reminiscing. The parts that were miserable at the time or even downright dangerous are the parts everyone remembers and that have you in stitches laughing about it later. As long as everyone comes out alive.

    What’s the best camping food?
    In my opinion, nothing beats bacon and eggs cooked on a campfire.

    Whose dog did you take with you? And how did he like being outdoors?
    Brisk is my buddy Chris Killingsworth's dog. In his words, "He loves the outdoors. When he sees me packing up the car full of camping gear he runs around until he lays in front of the car waiting to go. Brisk is a loyal dog that will run and explore a distance in front of the group and stop and wait to make sure we aren't too far behind".

    Any go-to spots to hit in your home town?
    My hometown is right at the foothills of the Ozarks, and though there are beautiful spots here, it's more of a literal home base for me. Within a short drive I can make it to most of my go to spots in the Ozarks. If I had to give a top five, I'd say:

    1) The Goat Trail/ Big Bluff - Hopefully the photographs say it all.
    2) Indian Creek Trail - One of the most dangerous hikes in the state but with some big pay-offs! Definitely go after ample rainfall so that the many waterfalls along the trail are flowing. 
    3) Hawksbill Crag/ Whitaker Point - This is said to be the most photographed spot in the state and for good reason.
    4) Sam's Throne - A great spot to relax with amazing views, camping, and plenty of opportunities for rock climbing.
    5) The Nars - An almost sheer "narrow" rock wall that is the remnant of an eroded mountain. Hiking along the top is not only thrilling but provides amazing views of the buffalo river and surrounding mountains.