RESTING ON A massive quartz limestone bed, the Ozarks plateau is one of the oldest mountain regions in North America. Blanketed in hardwood forest and riddled dark mysterious caves, the natural heritage of the region makes the Ozarks a magical place strangely unique in the United States.

The Lowly Red Cedar

The Lowly Red Cedar BY JOSHUA HESTON Hillbilly Christmas trees. Pencil cedars. Weed trees. The red cedar (which is in the Juniper Family and is not a cedar at all) clearly has a bad reputation. The tree is made even less popular by the large amounts of pollen it produces during the season. Nevertheless, the…

Murder Rocks

Murder Rocks BY JOSHUA HESTON Partway up Pine Mountain, just a few miles south of Kirbyville, a stand of elephant rocks rise to the west of the old Springfield-Harrison Road. Nowadays, they are hard to see (the elevation of the new road took care of that) and harder to get to (they are on private…

Ice Roses

Ice Roses BY JOSHUA HESTON If you find yourself traipsing about an Ozark hillside sometime this winter, it might be a good idea to watch where you’re going. Otherwise, you may put your foot down on an ice rose. Ice roses, also known as frost flowers, are rare natural formations. They form at certain altitudes…

The Red Fern

The Red Fern BY JOSHUA HESTON If you search the internet carefully, you’ll learn the truth. Truth that red ferns exist only the realm of cryptobotany. What does that mean? It means the red fern is a figment. Made-up. A bit of literary imagining. A myth. Sort of like Bigfoot. But prettier. That’s if you…

Hogscald Holler

Hwy 23 road sign from 1962 Hogscald Holler BY LANCE ESTEP WITH JOSHUA HESTON During the fall of 2014, Lance Estep, a member of the Arkansas Archaeological Society and student at Missouri State University, was given the opportunity to conduct an independent study of Hogscald Holler near Eureka Springs for his Advanced Methods in Archaeology…

Hiking to Cave Spring

PLATE 2. Hiking to Cave Spring by Joshua Heston Cave Spring in Shannon County, Missouri, has seen its fair number of canoers (the Current River flows past the mouth of the spring) as well as hikers. I had the chance to visit in April, 2010, finding it to be one of the most exciting and…

…winter skies

by Joshua Heston

It is that time of year. Time to look at the cold blues, the browns, the grays, and hope for spring. Still, and yet, there’s beauty in a world stripped of brightness. A world tinged with frost. A world at times etched with shadow.

The burnt sienna grass in the grader ditches; dark cedar glades. And oaks painted an almost luminous red-brown. It’s beautiful stuff. But, like much of the Ozarks, it is a beauty you just have to slow down for a moment to appreciate it.

It is not postcard perfect beauty… no, it is a beauty that — to appreciate — you must get out of the house, out of the car and out of familiar comforts.

And then stop for a moment to see the world around us.

—from January 23, 2011, StateoftheOzarks Weekly, Issue 167


“That all with one consent praise new-born gawds, Tho they are made and moulded of things past, And give to dust that is a little gilt More laud than gilt o’er-dusted.”

— Troilus and Cressida. Act 3; Sc. 3.