Arkansas Waterfalls Guidebook
Ernst, Tim (author)
Cloudland.net Publishing, 2003
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|Print Style||Full Color|
Reviewed by Bryan Swan
Arkansas isn't exactly a state where one would assume there to be a significant number of waterfalls (at least to those of us who don't live in Arkansas). Tim Ernst is a photographer from Arkansas who decided to try and remedy that situation and the result is this guidebook. He went out and documented 133 waterfalls throughout the state, and he did it well.
The first thing that really stands out about this book is the abundance of full-color photographs. Most waterfall guidebooks feature either have lots of photos, but in black and white, or fewer but in color. Ernst has a ratio of 1.1 color photo for every waterfall he discusses in the book. The photography is for the most part pretty good, though Ernst often tosses himself into the frame for some perspective - usually clad in his signature all-too-short running shorts. Because the waterfalling season in Arkansas is in the winter, most of the falls are surrounded by bare trees in his photos, which don't make them particularly pretty pictures, but you work with what you get. The information provided for each waterfall, or group of waterfalls as is often the case, is very detailed, well written and provides very useful instructions on accessing each location, hazards one may encounter and other natural features worth seeing en route.
On the production side of things, this book was definitely a low-budget to self-produced product. The chapters are divided up geographically - in a fairly logical manor at that - but there lacks a good visual reference or thumbnailing of exactly how and where each waterfall occurs. Similarly in each chapter the structure is somewhat incoherent (though I have seen much worse). A few of the pictures suffer from printer resolution limitations, and graphically and stylistically the book is kind of bland. It is well bound and printed on tough paper though, so it should hold up to years of field use. But given the work Ernst has put into this book, these flaws are very overlookable.
Any waterfall hunters in Arkansas or within driving distance of the Ozarks or Buffalo River Valley should not hesitate in picking this book up, its well worth it. But anyone collecting waterfall books should also put this one towards the top of your list.