In these parched, late summer days, the sight of a waterfall cascading over rocks and crashing into some remote forest pool evokes an almost visceral response of joy.
Thanks to amateur videographer Ben Stone, we can visit some of Arkansas' most beautiful falls, even if it is just on our screens.
In a video he created and shared on his YouTube channel earlier this month (see it at arkansasonline.com/ptwaterfall), Stone transports viewers deep into the Ozarks for spectacular views of some of the Natural State's most dramatic waterfalls. For a soothing, serenity-filled three minutes and 17 seconds, we are on a ride through the lenses of his drone and handheld cameras to places like Mirror Lake Falls, Cedar Falls, Hemmed-in-Hollow, Leatherwood Creek and more.
With its calming soundtrack and expertly shot pastoral scenes of flowing water through dense woods, the video is a respite from the maelstrom of daily life and a reminder of Arkansas' stunning natural beauty.
And it's the epitome of chill.
The 27-year-old Stone lives in Batesville, where he's wrapping up a graduate degree in computer science online from Georgia Tech. He is an avid hiker, and took up photography and videography as a student at Cave City High School.
The waterfalls video is his second based on Arkansas' Ozarks treasures. The first, posted in 2019, includes waterfalls but also has footage from White Rock Mountain, Whitaker Point and the Ozark National Forest.
"This one is kind of a sequel," he says. "In the first one, I wanted to go to as many sites as I could and film them. I do think the Ozarks have a unique look. It's this dome that's been carved out by rivers and creeks."
After the initial video, he concentrated on waterfalls and the state's canyons.
"The canyons are a neat part of Arkansas. They are these places where there are 300-foot bluff lines on each side of you. In the spring, the waterfalls are the centerpieces of those canyons. A good creek hike will end with a waterfall that creates this environment. Because of how our state was formed, the environment feels like it was built around the waterfall."
One of the neatest shots is from Mirror Lake near Blanchard Springs, when Stone sends his drone camera through a window in the remains of an old rock building to reveal the glorious falls.
Stone has about eight months to go on his degree and plans to leave the state after graduation. He does have ideas for other Arkansas-related videos, however, including one on fall colors in the Ozarks and another on how to safely access the Eye of the Needle at Indian Creek near Jasper.
"I really want to bring awareness to just how beautiful it is here," he says.