National Geographic : 1970 Nov
country-one of the least developed parts of the Ozarks. One autumn evening I joined seven members of the Ozark Society, which helped carry the fight against the dam, to plan a canoe trip on the Buffalo. As we sipped coffee beside a campfire, I asked Harold Hedges what makes the Buffalo special to him. A veteran of canoe trips on 81 rivers, he recently retired to a home near its headwaters. "The bluffs," he answered. "Spec tacular is the only word to describe the bluffs along the Buffalo. No other Ozark river offers anything that compares with them." Next morning, we put the canoes into a glassy pool-and I, too, appreciated the majesty of the bluffs. Fortress-like, they rose to 400 feet, seeming to shut out the world. In its deep V-shaped valley, the Buf falo slept beneath a coverlet of mist, awakening when the sun rose high enough to wash the bluffs in pale gold. Now vireos warbled and wrens chat tered. A heron eyed us from a limb. Wa ter snakes and turtles sunned on rocks. We ate lunch on a gravel bar, then paddled on toward Rush. A ghost town now, Rush boomed from the 1890's through World War I, when its citizens extracted zinc ore from mines named Smuggler, Monte Cristo, Jackpot, Hawkeye, and Sam Hill. Cave Yields Prehistoric Menagerie Near Cave Creek, a Buffalo tributary, I sat in cool, dank Peccary Cave one afternoon as Jack McCutcheon probed a bank of clay with a trowel. Soon he handed me a small lump. "Here," he said, "I'll let you have the joy of discovery." When I rubbed away the clay, a frag ment of what seemed to be yellowed ivory appeared. "Probably part of the tusk of a peccary," Jack ventured. A balding, well-muscled man who puffs a pipe, Jack first explored the cave on his farm five years ago. His finds included the jawbone of a peccary. A relative of the pig, the peccary still lives in the southwestern deserts. But the jawbone Jack found was of the ge nus and species Platygonus compressus, long extinct. When Dr. James H. Quinn, 683 EKTACHROME BY ROBERTM. LIGHTFOOTIII Maestro of Arkansas folk music, Jimmy Driftwood (his real name is James Morris) enjoys his neighbors' artistry at the Friday-night musicale at Mountain View. A noted song writer, he organized the musicians of his home county into the Rackensack Folklore Society, which sponsors the Friday-night get-togethers. Master of two arts, Violet Hensley both fashions fiddles and plays them. Here she saws out "Soldier's Joy," as daughter Sandy, one of nine children, and husband Adren strum accompaniment. Violet learned to carve the instruments from her father, and made her first at 15. KODACHROME BYBRUCEDALE(r, N .. S.