Posted by: noadventure | November 13, 2009

Arkansas Adventure: Part 1 – Ouachita

With the fall colors changing, we decided to take a trip up to our neighboring state of Arkansas. Neither of us had ever been there before so we figured it would be a pretty rad trip. Here our my thoughts:

Arkansas rocks. It has all the mountains and rivers and outdoor stuff of Tennessee and Georgia, but with none of the population and much clearer bodies of water. There is even scuba-diving because the lakes are so clear! The downside of Arkansas is that it’s sooo remote, that it’s kinda weird. My iPhone 3G was on Edge network through most of the state – what the f?

How remote is Arkansas?

becinthehwy

We’re talking “stand in the middle of the highway like an idiot” remote. Let’s just say that there are a shitload of towns where you couldn’t buy wheat bread to save your life.

Enough of the lollygag. We kicked this bitch off in Hot Springs! It’s a cool little town nestled in a valley on Highway Scenic 7.

hotwaterfountain

They have hot water fountains all over the city that spout the therapeutic water for free. Go ahead, make a cup of tea. Take some home with you. It’s yours. Hot Springs water is hot because it shoots up from close to the Earth’s core after trickling through layers of rock and being filtered for 4000 years. It’s odorless and tasteless just like regular water, but it’s naturally hot.

bathouse_row_hot_springs

We also visited the Buckstaff, the oldest bathhouse on bathhouse row that has been continually in operation since 1912(it’s a national historic landmark).

Here’s how your bathhouse experience goes down:

1 You walk into a one of these beautiful old buildings for a bath and massage.

2 You are ordered to “strip to your bones.”

3 Once naked, you are bathed by an old black man(or woman) with a loofa while you sit in a whirlpool tub like a kid.

4 Next, you go to another tub for a few minutes, then a steam room, then a hot towel wrap(the whole time being paraded completely nude from treatment to treatment in this huge marble room by the old black man(who has seen a lot of penis in his day).

5 After lying naked and towel-less on a table for awhile, O.B.M.(old black man) brings me to the needle shower – see photo:

oc4pic3

6 Last, I got a massage(which was great and cheap).

Invigorated with the old-school spa sesh, we went for a hike. There is plenty of hiking to do right near the city of Hot Springs. Let’s check out Goat Rock!

goatrocktrailsignbigeyestrailgoat rockclimb

That was fun. Let’s cruise up Scenic 7 to Petit Jean state park! Arkansas state parks are fairly awesome. A lot of them were set up by the Works Progress Administration in the thirties and forties just to create jobs. This is a period in history when the United States gave a fuck about parks. Now that the government is in so much debt, parks are like asking a person in a crashing plane if they want some gum.

Petit Jean(pronounced Petty Gene) is rocky and beautiful. Tons of hiking and scrambling to do here in the Ouachita Mountains.

meclimblowmelimbtopbectowardscrackchimneyclimb

Bec in a cave.

becinacave

Me in a cave.

meinacave

Then we found this huge waterfall. It was beautiful, but it stunk. There was a dead-for-a-week 8-point buck deer in it. Gross!

bigwaterfallcouple

Despite the nasty carcass, it was a pretty tranquil spot.

awaterfallrock chilling

Let’s continue onward to… Mt Magazine, Arkansas’ highest point. That makes 2 state highpoints for me because I already rocked Louisiana’s Driskill Mountain.

mtmagazinesign

Mt. Magazine is a great park with plenty of scenic vistas. It’s also a great place for active seniors(seriously, we were the youngest people there by 30 years). The Lodge is top-notch with a modern lodge-y atmosphere complete with gigantic fireplaces and a killer hot tub in our bedroom. this is also one of the few parks that allows roped climbs(which is dumb because there is rock everywhere at Petit Jean).

The climbing was easy.

becclimb

Just watch out for the copperheads!

asnake!

And the poison(maybe) berries!

berriesdof

You couldn’t shake a stick without seeing a breath-taking view.

beccliffclifsit

Just stand on the edge of the cliff with the wind in your hair.

becwindhair

Part 2 – the Ozarks is coming up next!

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Responses

  1. Glad you enjoyed your time at Petit Jean, Magazine, and Hot Springs (which is my hometown).

    There was a dead deer at the Grotto? I’m amazed! It must have fallen from the cliffs above – possibly after being shot my someone. (No hunting in the park – but that area is close to the boundary.) I hope you told the park rangers about it…

    … the berries are “American Beautyberries” (no kidding! Google them and you’ll see.) They’re not poison – though not even the animals eat them until they’re the last thing left in winter.

    Ya’ll come back now, ya’ here? (I promise we’ll have the deer removed by then!)

    ArkyMark and the Hillbilly Bunch

  2. Thanks for the recap. I’m always looking for good places to do one-day or long weekend trips. I’ve lived here my whole life and never explored Arkansas. To us it’s always been like the spot on medieval maps that says “here be dragons!”

  3. […] just read Part 2. For Arkansas Adventure: Part 1 – Ouachita, click here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Arkansas (Little Rock)105 goes to Little Rock, […]

  4. […] have now been to the highest point in North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. More to come on […]


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