Our new shed looked great in daylight as we rounded the bend onto Deb’s cousin’s driveway this morning. On closer examination we discovered a few minor issues with the build that the contractor will correct. And we got moved in — cargo basket, chainsaw, gas and oil.
Then it was time for a little exploring. I teased Deb with the prospect of yet another “mystery” I’d uncovered while scanning the hillshade topo map. In the northeast corner I’d seen a V-shaped ravine, the only such feature on The Mountain.
We parked the Ranger off the north side of the road, crossed over and pressed into the brush, passing what we call “Split Rock” west of the old equestrian trail. I stopped to take a quick bearing, adjusted our heading and we continued southeast.
The scrub was dense and a thorny tangle made for slow going. Deb and I took turns with a pair of pruners, clipping what we had to.
Reaching the base of a large oak we paused and looked around — we’d arrived at the top of the ravine, a narrow valley falling away to our east. The north slope to our left was fairly gradual, the south side steeper and rising higher.
I’d guess that the ravine is 50 feet deep. A dry creek bed cuts through the center, not flowing today but definitely wet from recent snow and rain. We spotted clumps of green grass coming up through the leaf litter, a sign that spring is right around the corner.
None of this shows up on conventional topographic maps. It’s not evident in satellite images. Only the hillshade layer on The National Map revealed it.
And another thing — the full extent of this small valley is visible only in these winter woods. Once the leaves are on the trees, most of what we saw today will be hidden again ’til late October.
We’re tickled to have found it. We celebrated with a long-overdue stop at Blacksheep BBQ in Yellville, taking our meal outside in bright sunshine.
Tomorrow and Monday will be cloudier, but warmer. I predict there will be more exploring.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.
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