Monday, November 19, 2018

Mt. Nebo

I've admired Aaron and Joanna's photos
and family/couple adventures to Mt. Nebo on their blog,
but had assumed it was too far distant
to be practical to visit as a day-trip.

Clearly, Arkansas geography is not my strong suit ;D

No, those aren't green tornado clouds... just the view through the windshield!

And how glad I was to be wrong!

This state park was developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp,
which means beautiful rustic buildings :D

Mt. Nebo is a lot like a mesa out west - steep sides, and flat-ish on top -
which means gorgeous views!

It also means that most of the hikes start at the top,
drop down, and then go back up.

We followed a path familiar to the Choates,
to see a waterfall,
with more water in it than they're used to seeing there.

What a breathtakingly gorgeous day!
The only thing that could top
the weather and the amazing fall colors,
was the warm company of my friends :D

Arkansas is beautiful in a completely different way than my home.

Our trail led to the falls... and behind them!

Arkansas... I'm lichen it ;D

Below the top of Mt. Nebo, a "bench" circles the mountain.
Due to the geography/geology of the rock layers,
there are (were?) many natural springs along the bench.

Yes, yes, it really was that gorgeous.

After descending to "the bench" via the waterfall,
we circled north to Fern Lake and headed back uphill.

The beauty and views were totally worth it!

The Choates had timed our adventures just right to get back up to the top
(and the van) just in time for a sunset picnic.

What you CAN'T see is the significant temperature drop!

Or the delicious Whole Hog barbecue dinner!
(For the record, of their seven sauces,
I'm a huge fan of number five!)

Around the perimeter of the rim you'll find cabins and houses for rent.
Love love love these rustic ones, built by the CCC.
*Happy Sigh*
You know I want to go back, and stay in one of these!

Just time for a quick potty-break before driving back to Conway...
and the girls were warming their cold hands under the heat vent!

And goodnight!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

And on Saturday...

We met up at Pugh's Old Mill - a north Little Rock park.

True confession: I've never seen Gone With The Wind,
but evidently this park is famous for being featured in the movie.

The park is in a beautiful setting,
though it's not as old as it looks.

Most of the wood and the
ancient-looking vines and roots (like the bridge above)
are... concrete.

Still, it's truly a beautiful place,
and obviously well-loved.

MANY people were enjoying the park and the mild weather
on a Saturday afternoon.
In the brief time we were there, 
we saw a wedding and
what must have been a quinceanera,
complete with a Disney-princess-worthy (ie huge) dress
that required help to maneuver through the park!

My visit to Arkansas was really much more about people than sight-seeing,
and we three mamas got some valuable time sitting and talking
while the kids roamed around.

It sure didn't feel like November to me!

I think that's Lantana above,
and Elephant Ear below. 

I should've gotten one of the kids in the photo...
it was huge!

We were missing Sarah and Benjamin,
but the rest of the kids enjoyed time together :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Had No Idea

I had no idea that Arkansas had two Japanese Internment Camps during WWII.
The camps - in Jerome and Rowher - have been dismantled,
but we visited the museum -
good for these homeschooling families, and interesting to me as well.

First things first - 
a picnic lunch on the museum grounds,
formerly the train depot in McGehee.

I took a lot of photos of photos in the museum,
but am just highlighting a couple of things here.

First, the exclusion area: about half of Washington, Oregon, and Arizona,
and ALL of California.
All Japanese, and most were citizens - naturalized or born here - were evacuated from these areas, and moved to the camps - marked by triangles on the map.

Each of the two camps in Arkansas held between 8-9000 Japanese.

As if the internment camps weren't bad enough, the poverty and racism prevalent in rural Arkansas created resentment from the local Arkansans toward the inhabitants of the camps.
While the camps were a huge step down in standard-of-living
for the Japanese inhabitants,
they were envied by their rural neighbors.

If you're interested in learning more you can watch a documentary,

We followed up by visiting the Rowher Relocation Center Memorial,
a cemetery that was just outside the fences of the camp.

The chimney about a mile-plus distant
is the only structure remaining from the camp.
(It doesn't have the ominous implications of chimneys in Nazi prison camps,
this chimney is from the camp hospital's incinerator.)
But realize that the camp FILLED the space between the cemetery and the chimney...

Heading back north, we were too late to see the Arkansas Post Museum,
the site of the first European settlement in the lower Mississippi,
but pulled off to see...

a bayou!

Specifically, the Moore Bayou Recreation Area.

I was glad to hear that the weather was too cold for crocodiles (or was it alligators?)
so we just enjoyed the beauty ;D

Since our day was turning into a longer adventure than we had planned on,
we stopped for a REAL cultural Arkansas experience -
dinner at The Bull Pen, in DeWitt.
If you have facebook, you can check out their menu.
(Hint: most things are deep fried.)

Katherine met a new friend ;D

The bbq/smoked meats were fabulous.
Good shrimp, too.
I loved the hush puppies.
I tried okra.
And do you recognize what's on top of my plate?

It's not chicken.

That's a frog leg.

Aaron and Joanna were having a good time!

We all were :D

Oh how I love these ladies!  That's Joanna in pink, and Ann in black :D

As if the day wasn't memorable enough,
as we were driving back toward Little Rock
the sky LIT UP...
we saw the meteor/fireball.
Too quick for a photo, but looooong for a meteor!