I love traveling the winding dirt roads through the Ozark hills where homesteads, farms, and woodlands passed down through the generations form the landscape for my Waterside Kennels series. When I can’t get out to explore on my own, I find inspiration in the tales and photos of people like Jim Warnock, author, photographer, and avid trail trekker. In addition to many articles on hiking and travel published in regional magazines, he also authored the book Five Star Trails: The Ozarks which is a “must have” resource for anyone interested in hiking.
I turned to Jim for advice while I was writing Dangerous Deeds and his thoughtful suggestions provided the details I needed when crafting trail scenes. I also drew inspiration from his photographs. Here are a few from one of Jim’s 2013 adventures; you can read the entire post here. I hope this inspires you to go out and explore, wherever you are!
The trail passes the oldest known structure along the Buffalo River. Built by Alvin and Greenberry Parker between 1847 and 1849, the structure is now known as the Parker-Hickman cabin because it was occupied by the Hickman family from 1912 to 1978.
Jim shared this bit about the cabin from Ken Smith’s Buffalo River Handbook:
Newspapers and magazines were used to cover the inner walls and some print can still be read. Mud and wood pieces were used to fill between some of the large timbers. The cabin was skillfully built with precisely cut half-dovetailed log corner joints.
As shown in these two photographs, the wall coverings still exist (click on image to enlarge the view):
Video lovers will appreciate this 7-minute virtual tour of the beautiful Ozarks:
When not hiking and writing about trails, Jim might be found maintaining his adopted 4-mile section of the Ozark Highlands Trail from Jack Creek to Dockery Gap. He shares many of his trail adventures with his black Lab, Hiker-dog. (I shared part of Hiker-dog’s rescue story here and here.)
Want more beautiful photographs and stories? Be sure to check out Jim’s blog at https://ozarkmountainhiker.com/.