CLOUDLAND JOURNAL ~ BOOK ONE The First Year of Exploration and Personal Discovery in the Wilderness. Come along as Tim Ernst explores the remote wild country surrounding his new log cabin deep in the Buffalo River Wilderness. More than 250,000 words were taken from the first year of his online Journal that is now more than ten years old—the longest running journal on the Internet! Hang out with wild bears, talk to trees, hike in the moonlight, laugh and cry as Tim discovers his inner most self. Autographed.
416 pages, 6" x 9", hardcover cloth, $24.95. ISBN 9781882906659
Retail Price: $24.95 SPECIAL SALE PRICE JUST $9.95!
I recently found your book, "Cloudland Journal, Book I," at the Gravette Library. I have enjoyed it so much. My mother and Willie Faddis' mother were sisters. Some of my earliest memories are from the Cave Mountain area. I have not lived there since I was 7, but it is deeply imprinted on my heart.
You mentioned a story about a man who died and his casket was carried up the ladder. That was my grandfather, Wesley Friend. My grandparents lived in that house with the two chimneys that was the Sparks place. I have a picture of my grandfather standing halfway up the ladder. It was taken the year before he passed away.
There definitely used to be cougars down there. My Great-Uncle Jacob Collins was visiting the Sparks family there where the chimneys remain, and left on his horse after dark. He had to travel 3 miles up the creek (by road); it was no doubt closer if going just by the creek (Buffalo River). He had to cross the creek 3 times. A cougar attacked his horse and followed much of the way until reaching a cleared area just before the last crossing and reaching the house on the other side.
Again, when my mother's youngest sibling was about 13, he was climbing out of the canyon there at the ladder trail and was accosted by some kind of panther or cougar. It was too dark to see the animal; he only heard it growl, and then scream as it left to go down the hill. It is quite a tale. He would gather up rocks, hear it growl closer to him, throw all the rocks and it would back off. While he collected more rocks, it would creep closer. He would hear it growl close by and let loose another load of ammunition. By and by, the animal tired of the game and screamed, as it went off over the hill. I am sure it didn't take my uncle long to get on up the hill past the Faddis place to where he lived at what was then called the 'Ward place'.
I could talk for hours about the stories from that area. I am an only child (born in 1952 at Fayetteville) and my mother was a very communicative person. She has told me so many stories about her childhood, I felt as if I had experienced it all. She used to mention Bowen Gulf, and Whittaker Creek, etc. Reading your journal made me want to come and hike the trails. Mom and I used to talk of doing so. I wish she was alive to share the joys of your book.
When I was about 20, my parents and I did come down to the Willie Woods place (probably the place you refer to as the Woods' boys cabin) and went down what Mom referred to as the 'rock ladder'. We walked past the Woods house into a field, then found a bluff with uneven steps. It was perhaps 8 feet high. We went down it and was on a level spot that wasn't very wide. Another place had steps down a bluff that was higher. When we got down that, the ground sloped down towards the river with too many trees for us to see very far. There was a waterfall, free falling off a rock jutting out. It was perhaps 20 feet high and spilled onto a rock. There was a dark place back under the waterfall, though not a real cave. I have been wanting to hike back there again ever since. Haven't made it yet, but hope to do so.
I have a picture of Hawksbill Craig hanging in my house. It was taken by Arold Sparks' son. I would love to purchase some of your prints and will be looking them over with that in mind. My maiden name was Samuels and my father was born and raised at Red Star. My name is now Wood, but I do not think my husband is related to any of the families down in Newton county.
Again, it was delightful to read your book. If you have time to correspond by e-mail, I would love to share stories.